Exploring Mysterious Abandoned Mansions

abandoned mansions cambusnethan priory

Many of us would jump at the opportunity to live in a period property. The thought of reclaiming the character intrinsic within those old features and integrating it into a modern living space is irresistable, barring the price tag of course!  Here’s a selection of fine yet derelict mansions, which are currently more the subject or urban exploration than revival.  But if money were no object, how would you fancy taking on one of these abandoned buildings as a renovation project?

Cambusnethan Priory, Scotland (above)

Built in 1820 for the Lockhart family of Castlehill, Cambusnethan Priory is one of the few remaining examples of gothic revival architecture in Scotland.  The house was converted into a hotel in 1980, but this change of use was short-lived.  The hotel closed in 1984, leaving it to the mercy of a nasty cocktail comprising time, arson, vandalism and a liberal helping of inclement Scottish weather.  Awarded both Grade A listed status for its historic importance, and a well earned place on the Scottish Civic Trust Buildings at Risk Register, Cambusnethan Priory is in terrible condition today and urgently in need of some TLC.

Shandon House, Scotland

abandoned mansions shandon house

Remaining in bonnie Scotland, we stumble across this spooky – and very derelict – example of Scottish Baronial architecture.  The pointed towers are distinctive of 19th century Scottish revival, and you get the impression the Wicked Witch of the West may have rented this place had she ever decided to visit chilly Caledonia.  Shandon House was built for William Jamieson in 1849 and is set in 31 acres overlooking Gare Loch.  This once picturesque setting is now dominated by Faslane Naval Base, home of the UK’s Trident nuclear submarines.

Due to its location, the house (formerly used as St Andrew’s School) was purchased by the Ministry of Defense, but has been derelict for over a decade.  The views are now marred by the abandoned remains of a remand home, and now that the place has been allowed to rot for a sufficient length of time, renovation would be a time consuming and costly affair.  As a result, the Ministry of Defense is apparently looking to sell it.  Any takers?

Hafodunos Hall, Wales

abandoned mansions Hafodunos Hall

Across the British Isles, the abandoned Hafodunos Hall still stands well amid the North Wales countryside, just 10 miles from the coast (and currently for sale!).  The fantastic abandoned mansion remained in good condition until it was targeted by arsonists in 2004 and consequently gutted by fire.

Situated close to the village of Llangernyw, the hall was designed by Sir George Gilbert Scott (grandfather of Sir Giles Gilbert Scott who designed the famous Battersea and Bankside power stations) between 1861 and 1866 for Henry Robertson Sandbach.  Scott was considered among the most important advocates of Gothic Revival styling in domestic architecture, and Hafodunos is the only example of his Venetian-inspired country house style in Wales.

Abandoned Mansion, Ostrowo, Poland

abandoned mansions Ostrowo Adlig

abandoned mansions Ostrowo Adlig 2

abandoned mansions Ostrowo Adlig 3

Ostrowo is a village in Poland, and home to the grand house above which looks to be in reasonably good condition.  Though clearly once the home of an affluent family, perhaps this abandoned house is not quite ready to give up its secrets yet – except perhaps to urban explorers.  Despite the lack of information, check out these awesome pictures by the same photographer.

Arlington, Natchez, Mississippi

abandoned mansions Arlington

Arlington, built in 1816, is a Federal style mansion in Natchez, Mississippi.  The property was declared a national historic landmark in 1974 but is nevertheless sinking into total decay.  Recently, the longterm survival of Arlington had become an issue of grave concern, with the building’s future hanging in the balance.  With part of the house destroyed by fire, a missing roof and liberal amounts of spray paint covering the walls inside and out, it seems the chances of rescuing this historically important abandoned mansion are becoming increasingly slim.

Nam Koo Terrace, Hong Kong

abandoned mansions Nam Koo Terrace

Image by Al Lemos

Nam Koo Terrace is a classical Chinese mansion built 90 years ago, then later abandoned.  According to rumour, the house has a dark side to its history, which continues to rear its ghoulish head in modern times.  Reportedly, Nam Koo was once used by the Japanese army to house “comfort women”, for the soldiers’ pleasure.  Local legend has it that several years ago a young girl walked out the house, apparently possessed, and attacked police officers walking by.  Could this be why Nam Koo Terrace remains abandoned to this day?

Other Abandoned Mansions

abandoned mansions other

abandoned mansions other 2

abandoned mansions other 3

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  • Alex

    I love the “spooky” looking Scottish one at the top (the one with all the towers and spires and stuff). Looks like Hogwarts! Those inside shots are nice too. The house sort of looks like it’s ready to be moved into.

  • Claire

    Hey Alex! I thought that the Scottish one looked like something out of a Disney cartoon 🙂

  • hi alex its great to see those great mansions you have shown i used to live in one of those manions the one called shandon house it had incredible interior it was not spooky it was very homely there was a great feeling within the house yeah from out side it looks like disney land

  • Thanks for sharing the beautiful photos. It’s so sad to see these buildings decay. Arlington, in Natchez, was such a lovely old mansion. I have drawings of it for sale on the Plantation Home Plans page of my Historic Home Plans website. I keep hoping someone will see it there and be inspired to save the original.

  • Thanks for sharing the beautiful photos.

  • Georgerestrick

    i lived in shandon house when i was 14 lots of good memores it looks over faslane base i loved looking out the window at night and i would see the subs come up great views a wonderfull place .

  • As the author of some of the photos above I would like to invite you to my new website at http://www.closeddoor.eu with presently 183 abandoned manors or castles in the catalogue of objects.

  • Tom

    Hey George, thanks a lot for your comment! I bet it was fantastic back in those days with a great view over the base. I’ve never been to Faslane but have heard it’s an impressive place. Must look into it more!

  • Tom

    That’s awesome, thanks very much for the invite and I’m glad you saw this article! I will definitely add a link to your website here and look forward to checking it out!

  • Georgerestrick

    i have been looking into about shandon house , if you go into concern over shandon house it explains the history of the building and who all lived there over the years and who it was built for and theres a great photo of the house i reckon from the 50s 60s somewere about in black and white is how i remember the house when i lived there i wish some one out there would take an interest in this house its got the full potential of a great busness venture weddings even a place for couples relaxing for the weekend some kind of luxury hotel if i had my way i would own shandon house in an instant ,ive got great concern that the house may face demo or even end up like one of those old castles from years ago , eny idea put in your comment what you think the concern over the future of shandon house , thank you george restrick.

  • modernfurniture

    I had my way I would clean house in Shandon for a moment, Ive got a heightened concern that the house can cope with the demo or even end up like one of those old castles years ago

    Contemporary Furniture

  • There have been several suggestions for restoration since the eighties, however Cambusnethan now sits a forlorn wreck at the mercy of vandals and has suffered arson assaults.

  • Pcantiques1952

    I have seen interior photos of  Tzar Nicholas’ childrens playhouse, but can not locate them.  Do you have any?  Thank you.  P.

  • Peppy223

    Urban Adventure in Bucharest  http://peppyprinbucuresti.blogspot.com/

  • I would love to explore some of those places in person, not just through pictures.

  • Guest

    Nice post.All the pics are good.Its really looking a great place.Some of these are required renovation.Thanks for sharing this post.Keep it up.

  • I think we should have top take care of these homes.Really enjoyed reading that, you made some really good points.

  • C H

    It’s a shame I don’t have money like Paris Hilton or Tori Spelling.  I would love to take one of these houses and renovate it lovingly, restore and live in it away from  the big city.  Cambusnethan Priory, ScotlandShandon House, Scotland are my two favorites.  Wow, just beautiful beautiful architecture compared to today’s boxy cement and glass industrial looking buildings with no character.  We have a 1960’s raised ranch, nice, I’m grateful but it’s a ticky tacky house like 50 million others, no individuality.  Boy, wish I had some serious money.  Thank you for sharing.  Sad these pieces of history are left to rot.

  • J_convertino

    It is heart breaking to see this kind of artful architecture go to waste.

  • J_convertino

    It is heart breaking to see this kind of artful architecture go to waste.

  • BeatFreak808

    Ikr? I would love to visit one of these mansions 

  • BeatFreak808

    Ikr? I would love to visit one of these mansions 

  • BeatFreak808

    Ikr? I would love to visit one of these mansions 

  • judyqtique

    Instead of giving billions to Israe-lie, take the money and put people to work renovating these mansions.

  • Lily-Marceline Day

    If anyone is doing their family history research, this house was lived in by their ancestor. I would love to find remaining homes of my ancestors. These homes should be restored. Until then, vandals and arsonists should be punished for their crimes. These homes are not things on the way to being destroyed, these are part of history and should be treated as such.

  • robert

    the municipalities should create programs to give-away (for free) these beautiful old gems; the only rule to gain full title is that the new owner gets 18-months to get the outside under control; 36-months on the restoration. If municipalities would do that, these old gems would get saved

  • Wow, beautiful but scary…

  • Beautiful structures.

  • Barbara Bowyer Valencia

    An area named/called Thousand Islands is in the St. Lawrence River between New York State and Ontario. Many gone-to-ruin mansions/structures-of-this-ilk, but many well preserved and currently inhabited. One must find A website to really enjoy all the pictures which are offered for your viewing pleasure….the fall pictures are fabulous! And don’t forget these homes are ON islands AND they are smack-dab in the middle of the shipping lanes of the St Lawrence ‘Seaway’. Would LOVE to go in person to see the area…….on my bucket list 😀

  • Dunhill An



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