“Tomb Raider” star Lara Croft has it all: Beauty, brains, big guns… and one really killer house. Her stately abode, known as Croft Manor, has always been one of my favorite things about the character since first tackling a training level there in 1996’s original “Tomb Raider”. It made her seem even more like a superhero, on the level of greats like Batman and Iron Man, who both have their own opulent pads (in Chicago, IL and Malibu, CA, respectively). Unlike theirs, though, this one had the distinction of being in Jolly Old England.
Given that we’ve been evaluating some of the most memorable homes in all of video gaming since the early days of the Movoto Real Estate Blog, I figured it was about time that Ms. Croft’s mansion finally made the cut. It might not technically be a castle in the strictest terms like those belonging to Princess Peach or Princess Zelda, but Lara is, nonetheless, bona-fide gaming royalty.
After some spelunking in the catacombs of fictional real estate evaluation, I managed to emerge with quite the find: If placed on the market today, Croft Manor would pull in a tidy $43.2 million—not including all of Lara’s fancy gadgets or the countless artifacts the adventuress has collected during her years of globetrotting.
If you’d like to go on an adventure of your own, join me as I dig up the details on how I arrived at a price tag for the famous fictional archaeologist’s abode.
How I Did It
Whether you’re evaluating the price of a fictional mansion, a suburban home, or a hut on another world, there will always be three constants that you need to figure out. In the case of Croft Manor, these were:
- How big Croft Manor is
- Where it would be located in the real world
- The cost of similar properties in that place
In researching the first of those, I ended up getting a bit of a lesson in British history, so let’s start there.
A House Fit for a Queen… of Adventure
Croft Manor is pretty unique in terms of video game buildings, in that it’s one of a handful that appear across multiple games. In a way, it’s like Hyrule Castle or Peach’s Castle, constantly being re-imagined for each new installment. Unlike those two locations, however, Lara’s house has also made the leap from TV sets to the silver screen in two Hollywood blockbusters. Then, at one point, the video game and real-life versions of the manor converged. This made picking one to base my evaluation on easier, but there’d still be some research to do.
As I learned, Croft Manor, in its most grandiose incarnation from the two “Tomb Raider” films, is actually a real-life manor known as Hatfield House. What’s more, for the seventh and eighth games in the series (there have been nine in all so far), the digital likeness of the manor was intentionally designed to resemble Hatfield House, even on the inside. That meant I could confidently look into the floor plans of the real location for the purposes of determining a total square footage.
Using diagrams of Hatfield House, I was able to calculate that Lara’s home comprises a staggering 75,000 square feet of space across its three levels. Based on what’s been seen of the home in the games, this space houses rooms including (but not limited to):
- Lara’s bedroom
- Training room
- Computer room
- Trophy room
- Indoor pool
- Main hall
That’s not counting what are sure to be numerous hidden chambers and underground passageways. In fact, in “Tomb Raider: Underworld”, an entire level takes place in the catacombs beneath Croft Manor. Unfortunately, the house also burns to the ground in that game and doesn’t make an appearance in this year’s “Tomb Raider” reboot.
Still, even the smoldering remains of Lara’s own personal mansion have to be located somewhere, right? The thing is, it’s not where Hatfield House happens to stand.
Exploring the World Like Lara Croft
In real life, Croft Manor’s stand-in, Hatfield House, is located in Hatfield, Hertfordshire, England. It turns out that this sprawling piece of property was actually the childhood home of Queen Elizabeth I and belonged to King Henry VIII. It sits just about 22 miles to the north of London.
Lara’s in-game home, on the other hand, has been in the Croft family for generations and is located 30 miles southwest of London in Surrey, England—and, as the games’ lore has it, is one of three estates bestowed upon her kin by King Edward VI. So, the physical and digital Croft Manors at least have their origins in royalty.
That said, my quest to find comparable properties and get a price per square foot would carry me to a place that famous folks the likes of H.G. Wells to Eric Clapton have called home.
The Price of Living in Surrey
For this third and final stop on my trek to dig up details on Lara Croft’s home, I needed to figure out how much it would cost to actually buy a property of its size in Surrey. To do this, I’d normally track down a property or the same size and stature of the one I’m evaluating, but unlike Lara uncovering a priceless relic, I wasn’t able to find anything that perfectly similar. So, I went with the largest houses I could. (I asked Siri how much property in Surrey costs, but she didn’t get the joke.)
After locating a few homes with 10 or more bedrooms, I got an average price per square foot of $577 for the area. Now I just needed to do some math—or, as I call it, deciphering hieroglyphics.
Solving the Puzzle
With all the pieces of my treasure map assembled, I could multiply the square footage of Lara’s manor (75,000) by the cost of land in Surrey ($577 per square foot) to end up with a sticker price of $43.2 million for the home.
Like I said earlier, this doesn’t include any of the priceless relics housed within, nor the electronics Lara uses to scour the world for them before setting out on adventures. It does, however, get you plenty of room to explore—and, I’d venture to guess, more than a few hidden passageways and secret levers you’ll need to pull to reach them.
If you could somehow afford this property, you’d probably want to spring for a personal trainer and a degree in archeology, too. At least then you could be a “room raider,” if not an honest-to-goodness tomb raider.
Who is Movoto Real Estate, you might ask? Movoto is an online real estate brokerage based in San Mateo, CA. Our blog has been recognized for its unique approach to city-based research by major news organizations around the world such as Forbes and CBS News.