Get a taste of the Downton Abbey lifestyle with a home in a grand old house

West Wing, Ingmanthorpe Hall, York Road, Wetherby – £1m with Rutley Clark, 01924 729292. PHOTO: McFade Photography.

Some people don’t like to see big old houses split up and ‘democratized’, but conversion to apartments is certainly a small price to pay to save such beautiful buildings.

After all, a great many of them – perhaps as many as 4,000 – have already been lost in the last century for various reasons, including high inheritance tax claims in the 20th century.

In 1955 a country house was being demolished every two and a half days, and far more of them have been lost in Yorkshire than in any other English county.

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Apt 1 Spofforth Hall, Nickols Lane, Spofforth – Offers over £279,950 from Maxwell Hodgson, 01937 589388.

Those that remained were put to a variety of uses, and multiple stays is just one of them. Some buyers simply want a beautifully constructed home with a tranquil view. Others believe in the romance: sweeping staircases, drinks on the terrace, getting lost in the east wing.

So, for readers addicted to tire crunching on gravel rides, the following three properties were all developed from large country houses and are all currently on the market.

That west wing is part of the conversion of Ingmanthorpe Hall near Wetherby. Built in 1833, the building was sold in the 1930s, became a boarding school in the 1960s and was divided into smaller buildings in recent years.

This part of the development overlooking rolling paddocks and woodland offers three bedrooms, three bathrooms, a large kitchen, cozy and – the piece de resistance – a huge living and dining area in the former ballroom, with ceilings almost 20 feet high. It’s so impressive it’s even been used as a filming location for TV comedies The darling buds of May. It’s not all Georgian chic though – there’s Cat5 cabling for super-fast broadband and an integrated Bose speaker system in the entertainment rooms.

Apt 3 Highfield House, Hemsworth Walk, Ripon – £295,000 with Myrings, 01423 566400.

Outside, the garden is sheltered and private and a wine cellar is accessed by steps in the courtyard.

The listed Highfield house was once a Victorian gentleman’s residence on the site of the former Ripon College but has been divided into 11 luxury apartments. On the ground floor, Apartment 3 is accessed via a side entrance with secure video entry and has two bedrooms, a shower room with underfloor heating and an open plan kitchen/living room.

The property has two acres of communal gardens and two allocated parking spaces. There is also a lockable common room in the basement.

Finally, in five acres of parkland between Harrogate and Wetherby, Spofforther Hall was once a Cheshire Home but has now been divided into apartments. Apartment 1 occupies part of the ground floor and has two bedrooms, a bathroom and an open plan dining kitchen and living room and two parking spaces.

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