While rural holdings form the majority of the Duchy’s holdings in terms of area, the commercial assets make a larger contribution to the income of the Duchy.
The commercial portfolio comprises an urban estate on the site of the old Savoy Palace, near the Strand, London, together with individual and groups of properties throughout England.
The main urban holding of the Duchy of Lancaster is the Savoy Estate. This is the single most valuable block of property in the Duchy of Lancaster. It has formed part of the Lancaster inheritance since 1284. Bounded by the Strand and the Embankment (but not including the Savoy Hotel), the buildings are let mainly as shops and offices. The Duchy of Lancaster Office is located on the Savoy lands, as it has been for many centuries.
North of London, a few cottages and a number of ground rents at Cockfosters and Hadley Wood remain from the Duchy’s earlier ownership of Enfield Chase.
The Duchy also owns land and property in Harrogate, managed separately from the Rural Surveys. The Harrogate estate includes business properties and 103 hectares of open space known as the Stray, which is managed by Harrogate Borough Council.
There are additional holdings in Birmingham, Manchester, Stoke-on-Trent and a sizeable industrial estate in South London
The urban portfolio is predominantly managed by the Duchy Office under the direction of the Urban Surveyor of Lands. Some assets are managed by local external agents, mainly in the North West of England.
In addition to managing income-producing investments, the Urban Surveyors of Lands are responsible for investigating and promoting significant new development opportunities on rural and urban land held by the Duchy. These are developed directly by the Duchy or in partnership with external developers, or sold on to the open market to release funds for reinvestment.
The Duchy has adopted a holistic approach to the property portfolio with an integrated urban and rural strategy.