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Sprawling north London estate with Georgian manor house worth £6 million could be yours for the price of a cinema ticket

Evening Standard Homes & Property logoEvening Standard Homes & Property 10/08/2018 Amira Hashish, Jess Denham
a castle on top of a grass covered field© Provided by Independent Print Limited

A sprawling estate with a Grade II-listed Georgian mansion worth £6 million in Barnet north London could be yours for the price of a cinema ticket after its owners failed to find a buyer in nine months.

Dancers Hill House has been the cherished family home of Melanie and Nigel Walsh for three decades, but they are now moving on and giving others the opportunity to win it in a £13.50-a-ticket prize draw.

This refurbished six-bedroom pile, built in 1760 as a folly, comes with a cinema, gym, wine room, four acres of mature grounds carpeted in daffodils and a lake stocked with 2,000 fish.

The state-of-the-art kitchen features Miele appliances and a fabulous conservatory lets you enjoy the garden over breakfast. Overall there is 7,500 sq ft of living space.

There is also a separate three-bedroom cottage in a private walled garden ideal for letting out or use as a home office.

Dancers Hill House has previously been listed on Rightmove with a guide price of £6.25 million, so this could be a real win. The Walshes will also cover stamp duty, solicitors' fees and associated costs.

the inside of a building: GossGreatExpectationsdancers-hill-house-dancers-lane-bentley-heath-united-kingdom-en5-4rx-06.jpeg© Provided by Independent Print Limited GossGreatExpectationsdancers-hill-house-dancers-lane-bentley-heath-united-kingdom-en5-4rx-06.jpeg


Melanie Walsh said when the family bought the house in November 1992, it was in the "most derelict state" and required a lot of work before they moved in in July 1993.

The property has a colourful history stretching back centuries. It was requisitioned by the army for use as an Italian prisoner of war camp during World War II.

In the Nineties it was used as a TV set for the Chuckle Brothers’ hit children’s series ChuckleVision.

The 1999 film adaptation of Charles Dickens' Great Expectations, starring Ioan Gruffudd and Charlotte Rampling, was also filmed here. Melanie’s son was cast as an extra.

a river with a lush green field: GossGreatExpectations1-acre-lake-stocked-with-2-000-fish.jpg© Provided by Independent Print Limited GossGreatExpectations1-acre-lake-stocked-with-2-000-fish.jpg


The lucky winner of Dancers Hill House will be rubbing shoulders with the rich and famous.

Barnet is close to the leafy north London suburb of Hadley Wood, home to Premier League footballers and pop stars such as former Spice Girl Emma Bunton.

Central London is within easy reach and Heathrow, Stansted, City and Luton airports are all no more than 35 minutes away.

Interior designer Melanie describes her home as “an oasis of seclusion...completely glorious”.

“We have filled our time with miles of smiles, gatherings of family and friends and also a son’s wedding,” she said. “Now my offspring have sprung! It’s time to move on.”

Asked why her and Nigel had opted to find a buyer in this unconventional way, she said: “The property market is in the doldrums, with Brexit and stamp duty added to the pot, so we decided to take a creative approach.”

Related: 14 Reasons Your House Would Scare Off a Homebuyer (Provided by MoneyWise)

You’ve driven by the front of your house so many times that you barely take notice. And unfortunately, once you decide to sell, most of your focus will be on the interior, not the exterior. Huge mistake, according to Cindi Hagley, broker/division manager with The Hagley Group in Pleasanton, California. "I've had buyers in my car, when we drive up to a house, who don’t even want to go in because of how crappy it looks. It could be a dead yard, debris in the yard or a crappy door," she says. Solution: Improve your curb appeal. Mow like you mean it, buff up that door, and do something about that shabby roof! Putting your home on the market? See what it will take to pay off your current mortgage loan. To cast the broadest possible net for buyers, it's smart to strike wall displays, posters and other visuals that could offend. That might mean anything from a nude sculpture to a banner celebrating your favorite NFL team. A Hillary Clinton bobblehead is as much of a danger as a signed, showcased copy of Donald Trump's "The Art of the Deal." "Any décor that may be controversial or sensitive to others, such as political memorabilia, military or religious icons, tend to turn people off," says Julie Dana, The Home Stylist in East Aurora, New York. Hagley agrees: "If you have one culture that does not embrace another culture, it can be a deal killer." Solution: Keep it neutral and upbeat or delete.


The raffle is open to UK residents aged over 18. Tickets cost £13.50 including £1 booking fee and you can enter as many times as you like.

Should the Walshes not sell enough raffle tickets to cover their home’s value by the closing date of 16 December 2018, the winner will receive a cash prize equal to the funds raised.


The raffle has been overseen by solicitors to confirm its legality. Entrants must answer a question correctly to be entered into the draw and the winner will be drawn using a random number generator.

Gambling Commission rules say that anyone thinking of “raffling” a property must be sure their scheme counts as a competition rather than “a lottery”. Running an unauthorised lottery can lead to a year in jail and a £5,000 fine.

A lottery requires buying tickets and getting lucky. To comply with gambling rules, a property raffle must be a competition requiring some skill on the part of the entrant.

This is why all property raffles require entrants to answer a question as well as buy a ticket. The Gambling Commission may take a dim view of a question that is too easy.

Usually, there must also be an opportunity to enter for free, so most property raffles allow one free postal entry per person. If the question is deemed difficult enough, this is not necessary.


By no means. Raffling property has become increasingly popular in the UK over the past year, as homeowners struggle to achieve sale prices as high as they want or need for their homes.

Uri Geller is currently hosting the raffle of a Bracknell commuter flat, while a Maida Vale mansion, Brixton flatandriverfront Huf Haus are among the other properties up for grabs for a fraction of their sale price.


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