A £12m price tag has the future for Herefordshire’s “fairy tale” castle at stake.

Hampton Court castle at Hope-under-Dinmore is bidding for a buyer that can take it to “the next level.”

The castle’s current owners candidly admit that they don’t have the expertise to make the most of near 1,000 acre estate.

That £12m asking price is expected to tempt interested parties into talks over the castle’s future as much as test the market.

Dating from the 15th century, Grade 1 listed Hampton Court has been home to some of the county’s most influential families over the years.

The castle’s more recent history dates from  1994 when it was bought by  the Van Kampen family from Florida. They subsequently spent more than £17m on restorations and lavish ornamental gardens open to the public.

Creating a “castle of dreams” at  was the pet project of former investment banker Robert Van Kampen who died, aged 60, in 1999 while awaiting a heart bypass operation.

His family carried on to complete the restoration before putting the castle up for sale at £10m in 2003 and waiting nearly four years for a buyer.

Graham Ferguson Lacey, a tycoon with a portfolio that included hotels and a golf course, took over in 2006 paying an undisclosed sum and pledging to build on the work of the Van Kampen’s  through the newly formed Hampton Court Property Holdings Ltd (HCPH).

This week, the HCPH board issued a statement  saying  that, having embraced the property, all it has to offer and its huge potential,  it did not believe it had the expertise to take many elements of the estate and business to “the next level”.

The statement confirmed that the estate had been placed with Knight Frank as a market in the hope that the future of the castle could be “explored with interested parties.”

That confirmation came with thanks to the estate’s “ loyal and wonderful staff” saluted as an integral part of its continuing successes.    

Knight Frank pitches Hampton Court is an entirely unique sale with fairytale castle features, magical gardens, and massive commercial potential.