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Fancy a private island you can commute from? Buckinghamshire estate with 4.5-acre island for sale for £4.95m

The estate, The Islands, is sold with one of the largest private islands on the Thames (Hamptons)
The estate, The Islands, is sold with one of the largest private islands on the Thames (Hamptons)

If you’ve ever imagined owning a private island, you might have pictured a Branson-esque Caribbean paradise with white sand beaches and turquoise waters, or, alternatively, the rugged green scenery of Scotland’s islands, à la Kirsty Young.

But a private island on the Thames —within commuting distance of London— might change that.

The Islands, listed for sale with Hamptons for £4.95 million, is a “delightful waterside haven” near Marlow, Buckinghamshire, comprising a 6,851 sq ft estate and a 4.5-acre private island.

The Thames contains around 180 islands altogether, according to Thames Festival Trust. This is one of the largest private islands on the river, accessed by a footbridge which leads back to the main house.

There is a heated swimming pool and pool house on the island (Hamptons)
There is a heated swimming pool and pool house on the island (Hamptons)

There are amenities to rival Branson’s on the island, including a croquet lawn, heated swimming pool and 383 sq ft pool house.

Its landscaped grounds are also home to vegetable and flower gardens, a greenhouse and a two-storey dry boathouse with a winch and slipway to access the river.

As well as the island, the estate comprises a sprawling Victorian country house, extending out over the river, and a two-bedroom, 1,654 sq ft cottage, which stands next to it.

“It is only when one takes the bespoke cantilevered footbridge across the river to the island that one can fully appreciate the true splendour and joy of this estate,” says the agent.

“Looking back at the house, the larch-clad façade, decorative ridge tiles and finials are quite striking. The island is beautifully landscaped and maintained to create a visual feast at every twist and turn.”

The view of the main house from the island (Hamptons)
The view of the main house from the island (Hamptons)

Dating back to 1890, the estate is more than 130 years old. It began as a boathouse with a room above on the mainland, before it was acquired by a member of the aristocratic Pitt family, who turned it into a private residence and pleasure grounds with boating and fishing facilities.

The fishery and fishing lodge, added by the Pitts, were at one stage used to harvest eels which were sold at Billingsgate Market.

Further adjustments to the house were made during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The main building was extended, with guest accommodation added. The cottage, garage and bridge to the island followed in more recent years.

Spread over three storeys, the 3,476 sq ft main house has another boat store, wet dock and boat terrace at water level. There are six bedrooms, all on the top floor, with a library, dining room, drawing room, reception hall, study, kitchen and breakfast room below.

The house has a dramatic entrance, approached from a driveway accessed by a pair of wrought iron gates. The front door —a set of heavy double doors— is set below a turret, leading into the oak-panelled entrance hall with an open fireplace, stained glass window and panelled ceiling.

The house's reception rooms look out over the river (Hamptons)
The house's reception rooms look out over the river (Hamptons)

The oldest parts of the house are the drawing and dining rooms, both interconnected by a pair of oak-faced double doors, with open fireplaces. The reception rooms on the first floor have large bay windows and doors leading out onto a terrace, which overlooks the water.

“The true joy of these two rooms lies in the magnificent large bays with leaded light windows,” say Hamptons. “The view from this spot is quite magical as the eye is drawn across the balcony and river.”

Certainly, the views of the river inspired Kenneth Grahame, who owned a boathouse in the same stretch of backwater and wrote The Wind in the Willows in nearby Cookham Dean.

“Seldom does such an unusual and unique property come to market,” say Hamptons. “The Islands represents a truly idyllic riverside retreat.”