Who Owns The UK

4.9 Out of 5

Becoming a homeowner or simply owning a property portfolio is the dream of many people in the United Kingdom. It is easy to navigate, as there are plenty of opportunities and ways to make a profit with the right investment at the right time. According to the study, there were approximately over 750,000 property millionaires in Britain as of the start of the year 2018. As per the report, UK property millionaires by region are;

  • London – 430,720
  • South East – 180,397
  • East England – 69,840
  • South West – 33,717
  • North West – 12,552
  • West Midlands – 12,219
  • Scotland – 11,101
  • East Midlands – 6,845
  • North East – 4,835
  • York and Humber – 4,103
  • Wales – 2,223

But they are just the tip of the iceberg. The UK is made up of approximately 60,000,000 acres which certainly seems like enough room for everybody to turn their property dream into a reality. However, the highest 50 landowners currently control 7,331,243 acres which equate to over 12% of Britain’s landmass. So who are these people who own so much of the UK property? Read below to find out.

Listing Down the UK’s Top 50 Landowners

Aside from their notable property portfolios, one of the most interesting things about the top 50 UK landowners are the trends that come forward when you look a bit closer at who makes the list…

  • Charitable organisation and environmental interest – 3,238,057 acres
  • Nobility and royalty – 1,591,251 acres
  • Military – 1,116,060 acres
  • Foreign companies, royalty, or business moguls – 562,285 acres
  • Utility companies – 459,876 acres
  • British business owners – 188,974 acres
  • Others – 119,707 acres

Putting it into the spectrum, the top 50 UK landowners control approximately the equivalent of Yorkshire, East Midlands, and the North East combined with acreage to spare. Overall their land counts for over 12% of the UK. If this area is used for housing, the total area of their belonging would be able to accommodate 330m on average UK homes roughly.

Royal and Nobility

Find out below how much land is owned by members of the royalty and nobility. The top landowners include the sovereign, the Crown Estate, and Hugh Grosvenor 7th Duke of Westminster.

  • The crown estate owns more acres in the UK than makes up the entire nation of Luxembourg.
  • Royalty and nobility in the top 50 control 3% of the entire UK.

Land owned by foreign companies, royalty, and business moguls could acquire Greater London, The Isle of Wight and Bristol combined with acreage to spare. In numbers, the land owned by them can be used to build 23m average-sized UK homes.

Utility Businesses

Utility providers in the top 50 landowners encompass almost 500,000 acres across the UK. Those in the list mainly deal in water and mineral mining. The largest companies featured include United Utilities, MEH Minerals, and Severn Trent. The total amount owned by utility businesses covers Leeds, Manchester, and Birmingham twice.  For example; the acreage controlled by MRH Minerals is over 15x that of Ben Nevis.

British Business Owners

A selection of British entrepreneurs and large business owners has made the list including James Dyson (technology), Michael Cannon (public houses), and the Rathbone Brothers (investment broker). Here is what their land holdings equate to.

The total land owned by the British business owners roughly equals the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands combined.

Charitable and Environmental Interests Organisations

Charitable Organisations & Environmental Interests control more land than any other group in the top 50 list. These include the Forestry Commission, the RSPB, and the government’s environmental protection and rural affairs department DEFRA. They all together own 5.4% of the UK’s land area.

  • The National Trust owns enough land to comfortably cover the entire land of Tenerife.
  • The total land owned by the forestry commission is 4x the size of the Lake District.

Property Developers and Investors

With talk of a housing crisis never far from the UK press, perhaps it’s not so unexpected that although several housing developers appear on the top 50 list, they are dead last in terms of total acreage. Those that have made the list include Taylor Wimpey, Homes England, and the Peel Group.

  • Property developers and investors in the top 50 have enough land for more than 15 Heathrow airports.
  • Homes England owns land equivalent to 35x the size of London’s Hyde Park.


The UK Military owns an extensive amount of land, set aside for the ‘defence of the realm’. While the vast majority is controlled by the Ministry of Defence itself, the Honourable Artillery Company also makes the top 50 list.

In stats, military land owners equate to 2% of the entire UK.


In the top 50 list, we are left with the Church of England and Oxford University’s Merton College, which both own enough land in their own right and make it to the list of top landowners in the UK.

  • The Church of England’s land cover houses over 13000 separate Westminster Abbeys.
  • Oxford University’s Merton College owns enough land to fit the entire city of Oxford.

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