101 Ways to Spend Money: #1 Build a $7 Million Tree House

Tree houses are something of a norm for people who have a virtually endless stream of revenue. Wasn’t it only recently that doting parents Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes gave their five year old daughter a $100,000 tree house? And here you have this Lord Northumberland guy in Scotland who doesn’t bat an eyelid before commissioning what was to become the biggest tree house in the world, burning a hole (a very tiny one at that) in his private treasury to the tune of $7 million.

At first glance, the castle looks like something that left the pages of a fairytale or tore through the screen of a Disney production and decided to become a part of the real, breathing world. It definitely has a very magical, “other-wordly” feel about it. Measuring over 6,000 square feet, this leviathan among tree houses is suspended 56ft above the ground. Its not-so-humble abode are the grounds of Alnwick Gardens, located an hour’s drive from Scotland, not very far from Newcastle.

Nestled between more than a dozen lime trees, Lord Northumberland’s piece-de-resistance took about five years to be made – from conception to completion. In an effort to build a sustainable structure, the tree house has been constructed using English and Scots pine, Canadian Cedar and Scandinavian Redwood. Suspended walkways measuring 4,000-square-feet connect wobble bridges, turrets, classrooms, and a 120-seat restaurant.

The entire structure is wheelchair friendly and accessible by buggy. The Roost is one of the more favorite places in the tree house. Located on the deck, this educational room organizes films and activities at certain times of the year.

The restaurant, located in the heart of the tree house, is truly one of the more unique dining places in the world. A cheerful log fire crackles in the center of the room which is decorated with handcrafted furniture and screens designed from fallen branches. It opens up at 10.00 am and serves morning coffee and tea until 11.30 am after which it offers lunch. From 3.00 pm onwards afternoon tea and snacks are served.

At the top of The Treehouse is the room aptly named “Nest” – a snug place that is reserved exclusively for small parties and private dining. On the deck is The Treehouse bar that serves drinks late into the evening. I sincerely hope they have some sort of protection to keep people from falling off after they’ve had one too many drinks for their own good.

The Treehouse menu offers a delicious array of foods, most of which is sourced locally, in an attempt to support and encourage local farmers and producers. Although no reservations are required for the tree house, you need to obtain permission to enter Alnwick Gardens.

This place definitely goes down on my list of “things to see before I die”. I might have to sell of my house, two cars, and family heirlooms before I can make it, but I am guessing it would be one hell of an adventure!


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