Through the keyhole of the castle voted UK's best home

For many people seeking to get a foot on the first rung of the property ladder, owning a castle is the ultimate fantasy. For Terry George and Michael Rothwell, the dream has come true with a big dollop of glamour – their mock 18th-century castle has been judged Britain's best home.

Carr Hall Castle is a £3.7m turreted property near Halifax that they have turned into a contemporary folly with striking soft furnishings. Last night, it won a public vote ahead of seven other houses in the final of the Five programme I Own Britain's Best Home.

More than 60 per cent of voters preferred the grade II-listed property to a white-walled Victorian house in Tooting, south-west London, and a Sussex country mansion, Hall House, which were second and third respectively.

In pictures: the houses competing for the I Own Britain's Best Home title

Carr Hall Castle is set in a 10-acre deer park four minutes from the M62. A stream runs through the estate past a restored water mill. Inside, the house bears the stamp of a couple who have indulged their tastes to the maximum, with a heated pool surrounded by black and white images of topless men and a dining room table ringed by brown leather chairs. The living room has a giant television beneath a wood beamed ceiling. They share the property with dogs Roxy, Ruby and Oscar, as well as ponies and geese.

Mr George said: "It is like a dream come true because Michael and I come from very humble backgrounds. I grew up on a council estate in Leeds and Michael grew up on a council estate in Salford. We have gone from that to living in a house that's been voted Britain's best. People who drive up to it always say 'wow'."

With a business empire including gay dating websites and nightclubs, the couple have invited the public into their lives before. After 20 years together, they were the first in Britain to have a civil partnership, attended by Sir Elton John. Mr George gave away thousands of pounds when he appeared on Channel 4's The Secret Millionaire. They count Sir Ian McKellen, Dale Winton, Chris Moyles and Boy George among their celebrity friends.

Their flamboyant yet "cosy" home won through from a longlist of 300 properties and a shortlist of 24, each visited by one of the show's three presenters. "It is basically 'property porn' because you get to look at some of these houses and they are all very expensive," said a Five publicist.

The programme's presenter Melissa Porter, who stayed in the castle, said she believed it triumphed partly because of the winning personalities of its owners. "These two guys are self-made. [Terry] is a philanthropist and gives money to charity. And they absolutely love their property. It was all about a dream come true, about being able to drive up a long drive to a castle. They want people to share what they have got. They are very sociable. They have people around all the time."

In a nation where property provokes strong views, not everyone agrees the house is Britain's finest. "I think it's charming but I don't think they've done much to it," said Patrick Lynch, a London architect. "But there is enough bling and vulgarity, like the purple curtains, which are on the edge of Footballer's Wives. They have a horrible pseudo off-the-shelf kitchen."

The couple have pledged to donate their £50,000 prize to charity. "I love to get criticism," Mr George said yesterday. "We didn't design it for anybody else. We designed it for our own tastes. If people don't like it then they don't have to live with it.

"I'm sure that it won't be to everyone's tastes."

View the couple's castle at carrhallcastle.co.uk

News
Netherlands' goalkeeper Tim Krul fails to make a save from Costa Rica's midfielder Celso Borges during a penalty shoot-out in the quarter-final between Netherlands and Costa Rica during the 2014 FIFA World Cup
newsGoalkeepers suffer from 'gambler’s fallacy' during shoot-outs
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'
filmReview: A week late, Secret Cinema arrives as interactive screening goes Back to the Future
Travel
travel
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Arts and Entertainment
Sydney and Melbourne are locked in a row over giant milk crates
artCultural relations between Sydney and Melbourne soured by row over milk crate art instillation
Arts and Entertainment
Adèle Exarchopoulos and Léa Seydoux play teeneage lovers in the French erotic drama 'Blue Is The Warmest Colour' - The survey found four times as many women admitting to same-sex experiences than 20 years ago
filmBlue Is The Warmest Colour, Bojack Horseman and Hobbit on the way
Arts and Entertainment
Preparations begin for Edinburgh Festival 2014
Edinburgh festivalAll the best shows to see at Edinburgh this year
News
Two giraffes pictured on Garsfontein Road, Centurion, South Africa.
i100
Environment
View from the Llanberis Track to the mountain lake Llyn
Du’r Arddu
environmentA large chunk of Mount Snowdon, in north Wales, is up for sale
News
Kenny Ireland, pictured in 2010.
peopleBenidorm, actor was just 68
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
News
Morrissey pictured in 2013
people
News
people
News
A scene from the video shows students mock rioting
newsEnd-of-year leaver's YouTube film features playground gun massacre
News
i100
Life and Style
The director of Wall-E Andrew Stanton with Angus MacLane's Lego model
gadgetsDesign made in Pixar animator’s spare time could get retail release
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Consultant - Bristol - Computer Futures - £18-25k

£18000 - £25000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Computer Futures are currently...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Real Staffing - Leeds - £18k+

£18000 - £27000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Sales - Trainee Recruitment Co...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Manchester - Progressive Rec.

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Progressive Recruitment are cu...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Birmingham - Huxley Associates

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Huxley Associates are currentl...

Day In a Page

Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup
Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices