Info-Graphs

UK’s 50 Biggest Landowners

Who owns the UK? This question once upon a time was an easy answer – royals and nobility. But in more recent times property investments has opened up to many, with charity and foreign businesses taking a piece of the pie.

[REITs]

Q2 hedge fund letters, conference, scoops etc

Royals Lose Land Crown British Entrepreneurs

It’s not hard to see why – in 2018 there were over 750,000 property millionaires in Britain. So, then who owns this island? New research by ABC Finance Ltd. sets out to answer this puzzling question.

Royals Lose Land Crown British Entrepreneurs

Royals Lose Land Crown British Entrepreneurs

Their research shows that surprisingly, charitable organisations and environmental interests own more land than the royal family. In fact, they own double the amount of land than the Royals. The British Royalty and Nobility control just 3% of the UK, with the crown estate placing third in the UK land ownership leaderboard.

Royals Lose Land Crown British Entrepreneurs

Royals Lose Land Crown British Entrepreneurs

So how much does Queen Elizabeth II personally own? From a list of the Top 50 Landowners in the UK, the Queen only places 35th, with 20,000 acres of land in her possession. Still, this land could fit Buckingham Palace into it over 1,000 times. Whilst the leader of the top 50 UK land owners with 2,200,000 acres is the Forestry Commission, closely followed by the Ministry of Defence with 1,101,851 acres.

Royals Lose Land Crown British Entrepreneurs

Royals Lose Land Crown British Entrepreneurs

Foreign Interests

Is the UK owned by UK residents? Apparently not. Astonishingly, foreign companies, royalty or business moguls make up a significant proportion of the top 50. Substantial enough to build 23m average sized UK homes.

Royals Lose Land Crown British Entrepreneurs

Royals Lose Land Crown British Entrepreneurs

The top of the foreign landowner is believed to be retail tycoon, Anders Holch Povlsen. The fashion retail mogul owns Vero Moda, Jack & Jones and a whopping 218,364 acres of the UK. That’s 10 times the size of his native capital Copenhagen. Povlsen owns 36% more acres than the 7th Duke of Westminster and 38% more than Duchy of Cornwall.

Royals Lose Land Crown British Entrepreneurs

Royals Lose Land Crown British Entrepreneurs

Other foreign companies and individuals, such as Cheung Kong Infrastructure Holdings (17th place) and Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al-Maktoum (19th place) reside high on the list, together owning 132,294 acres. Both of these foreign property moguls own more than the 12th Duke of Beaufort, Henry Somerset and Hugh Lowther, 8th Earl of Lonsdale. Even owning more than some British entrepreneurs and large business owners.

Royals Lose Land Crown British Entrepreneurs

Royals Lose Land Crown British Entrepreneurs

British Entrepreneurs

Leading the UK land ownership amongst the British entrepreneurs is the British inventor and founder of the Dyson company. Amazingly, Sir James Dyson owns enough land to fit Wembley Stadium 3000 times over and 13,000 more acres of land than the Queen. However, Michael Cannon, the pub magnate owns 20% less than Queen Elizabeth II but remarkably his land is enough to accommodate 320 side by side versions of the St James’s Gate Guinness Brewery.

UK Land Ownership Leaderboard

# Land Owner Acres
1 FORESTRY COMMISSION 2,200,000
2 MINISTRY OF DEFENCE 1,101,851
3 CROWN ESTATE 678,420
4 NATIONAL TRUST & NATIONAL TRUST FOR SCOTLAND 589,748
5 RSPB 332,000
6 RICHARD SCOTT, DUKE OF BUCCLEUCH & QUEENSBERRY 280,000
7 ANDERS HOLCH POVLSEN 218,364
8 THE DUKE OF ATHOLL’S TRUSTS 145,000
9 UNITED UTILITIES 140,124
10 HUGH GROSVENOR, 7TH DUKE OF WESTMINSTER 140,000
11 DUCHY OF CORNWALL 135,000
12 DEFRA 116,309
13 CHURCH OF ENGLAND 105,000
14 DWR CYMRU CYFYNGEDIG (WELSH WATER) 77,975
15 JOHN WHITTAKER (PEEL GROUP) 70,000
16 SALTAIRE WATER 70,000
17 CHEUNG KONG INFRASTRUCTURE HOLDINGS 69,294
18 MRH MINERALS 67,935
19 SHEIKH MOHAMMED BIN RASHID AL-MAKTOUM 63,000
20 HENRY SOMERSET, 12TH DUKE OF BEAUFORT 52,000
21 SEVERN TRENT 51,668
22 LAFARGEHOLCIM 48,557
23 ROBERT WARREN MILLER 36,000
24 HUGH LOWTHER, 8TH EARL OF LONSDALE 35,269
25 SIR JAMES DYSON 33,000
26 ROGER TEMPEST 25,516
27 ZAMBRANO FAMILY 25,340
28 COUNT LUCA RINALDO CONTARDO PADULLI DI VIGHIGNOLO 25,000
29 ANDREW RUSSELL, 15TH DUKE OF BEDFORD 21,474
30 STEFAN PERSSON 21,373
31 HARWORTH GROUP 21,000
32 EDWARD GUINNESS, 4TH EARL OF IVEAGH 20,664
33 HEIDELBERGCEMENT 20,534
34 CORLAND MINERALS 20,371
35 QUEEN ELIZABETH II 20,000
36 JOHN SAVILE, 8TH EARL OF MEXBOROUGH 20,000
37 HOMES ENGLAND 19,349
38 JOHN CLARK 18,119
39 MICHAEL STONE 18,000
40 SIR LYONEL HUMPHREY JOHN TOLLEMACHE, 7TH BARONET 17,908
41 RATHBONE BROTHERS 17,854
42 OSPREY CONSORTIUM 17,607
43 VALERO ENERGY 17,216
44 MICHAEL CANNON 16,001
45 RICHARD KELVIN-HUGHES 16,000
46 KEMBLE WATER HOLDINGS 15,987
47 PENNON GROUP 15,816
48 MERTON COLLEGE, OXFORD UNIVERSITY 14,707
49 TAYLOR WIMPEY 14,684
50 HONOURABLE ARTILLERY COMPANY 14,209

*Data sourced from Love Money, Who Owns England and additional public records research

Discover more about the UK’s top 50 landowners.