Millionaire Holiday Home Swap
A new show from Paramount + about the THIRDHOME lifestyle.
Millionaire Holiday Home Swap Spotlight: Turin Castle & Yvonne CorbettOctober 5, 2022 • By Carissa Hebert
From left to right: Turin Castle in Forfar Scotland; THIRDHOME member and owner of Turin Castle, Yvonne Corbett
From expat to 17th-century Scottish castle owner and now a featured star in the Paramount+ original series Millionaire Holiday Home Swap, Yvonne Corbett has quite the story to tell! We were fortunate enough to sit down with Yvonne as she recounts the filming of Millionaire Holiday Home Swap and learn the fascinating inside scoop behind Turin Castle, including what exciting surprises guests can come to expect.
Read our interview with Yvonne below to learn more about Turin Castle and her life as a THIRDHOME member:
What made you choose Scotland for your second home?
I was an expat and lived abroad with my husband for 23 years. He wanted to come back to Scotland, so we bought Turin Castle 8 years ago. I was either going to go for the whisky trail or the golf trail—I knew that I needed to be in the middle of one of them, and Turin came up. I did try for a couple of other castles, but everything happens for a reason. In Scotland, you bid to get one, and I wasn’t successful twice. But it always means that the right thing is waiting for you, and Turin has been the right thing. It’s been really hard work but a lot of lovely surprises. I really believe in fate; I’m not that kind of person, but there were many that I wanted and didn’t get, and now I know better. I didn’t get them for a reason.
When you bought Turin Castle, did you have to renovate a lot, or was it in pretty good shape?
It was neglected badly for 2 years; it was definitely unloved, so we rolled our sleeves up. It’s a bit of a funny story—my husband had never seen the property. I flew up for one day to look at Turin from Cape Town, which is a 12-hour flight, and turned around and went back, and I said to my husband, “I think that’s interesting. You should go look at it.” But he was so busy that he didn’t have time. That was on a Thursday. We’ve got this system in Scotland where you note your intent to offer—so I did that on Friday, and about an hour later, they said, “It’s closing; you have to bid on Monday at noon.” And because we were in South Africa, my husband had no time to get up and look at it. But as you can see, lucky, lucky me, we bought it, and my husband liked it.
How did you become involved with THIRDHOME?
I heard about THIRDHOME from another member and thought it was really interesting because I’m a traveler myself. We were expats; We lived in Asia, Dubai, and South Africa. And so we’ve got friends all over the world, and THIRDHOME is just the perfect answer for people like me that travel constantly and have friends located everywhere. It was a win-win. We were always invited to weddings abroad and just to go see people, but now, not having to stay with them because you’ve got your own property, it’s just a dream.
You’re a featured member in Millionaire Holiday Home Swap; Do you have any funny stories? What was your favorite part of the experience?
It just seemed to go past really quickly. Well, I think actually the funny part was that we had gin for breakfast. Neither of us meant to, but Giles and I were filming at the bar, and I didn’t expect to drink it, but I had to because I would’ve looked really bizarre on film if I hadn’t tasted it too. But it’s Scotland; we’re supporting the local economy by drinking alcohol.
Do you have a room inside Turin Castle that you love the most or are most excited for people to see?
I love the conservatory; it’s just pure glass and surrounded by greenery in the garden. Sometimes deer walk past on warm nights. We have hedgehogs, we have red squirrels, we have hawks that come down—it’s beautiful. But also, the library is kind of special. It’s very peaceful. We’ve had a couple of people who’ve just said, “We don’t want to do any excursions with our friends. We’re just going to sit in the library,” because it’s full of historical books.
So the excursion is kind of the castle itself?
Yeah. In fact, that’s what people forget. We say, “Scotland in 20 minutes is what we are” because we’re beside the highlands, we’re beside the beach, we’re beside the golf, and now we’ve got two whisky distilleries close to us. So everything you want from Scotland is close to Turin—We call it “The Turin Twenty.” So if you want to be up in the highlands hunting or just hiking, which a lot of people do, the scenery is stunning. Yet, twenty minutes in the other direction, they’re on a beach that’s seven kilometers long, and there are caves on one end that you can wander through, and on the other end, there’s a fort from the 13th century.
It’s kind of crazy, and people always underestimate how much there is to do. The biggest complaint we get from people is—and I mean it—“I wish we’d stayed longer.” Our last guest said, “Next time, I’m just gonna stay at Turin, and I’m gonna travel from there. I want to be here and know that I’m coming home every night.” Because it feels like home to everyone because it is home, it is a home; it’s not a hotel; it’s not meant to feel like it’s commercial.
From left to right: Bagpiper outside Turin Castle; Formal dinner setting at Turin Castle
People can tell that there are extra touches and quirky bits—there’s always something changing. We’re constantly looking for things to surprise people with. Just today, I found a company that’s a charity that works with adults with special needs, and they make chocolate bars and soap bars, and we just ordered them for pillow gifts because, you know, it’s just a nice story, and everyone can put chocolate on a pillow, but this one’s got a story. And we’ll do that maybe for a month or so, and then we’ll find something else so that when people come back, it’s always a surprise.
We love to surprise people. They don’t know what we’ve got, so we like to not show it all on the first night. So we say, “Oh, here’s the castle, and on the second night, the dinner could possibly be in the event space, and we’ve dressed it up with a theme, and a bagpiper will come in, etc.” It’s not about upselling; you’ve paid all this money to come, you’ve paid for the castle; now we’ll make it even better, without a cost.
So it sounds like you have a lot of repeat visitors that come back?
Yes, in fact, we’ve got some from Nashville that come, they’ve been 4 times, and they’re fabulous. We’re really close to championship golf, so we’re busy with golfing groups. We had a group from California that stayed with us for 28 days. You arrive as strangers and definitely depart as friends.
Can guests stay in the entire castle?
It’s everything—They’ve got their own wine cellar, they’ve got their own whisky cellar, we’ve got a games room. There is a swimming pool, but we covered it this summer so people can dance. We’ve got lots of cèilidh dancing because it’s Scotland, and we have whisky to make you dance. We had a fabulous group celebrating an anniversary, and they wanted Scottish country dancing, so we made everyone wear kilts.
Was Giles in a kilt while filming Millionaire Holiday Home Swap?
Okay, so that’s the funny part. He had on the wrong socks. We were laughing so hard because it wasn’t a full outfit. I think Giles actually secretly loved his kilt because he wore it a lot longer than he needed to.
Was this the same day that you had gin for breakfast?
Yes, yes. So that could have had something to do with it.
Are there any other fun facts we should know about Turin Castle?
I forgot to tell Giles that Turin Castle was the #1 gift in this year’s Oscar bag. We gifted a three-night stay for two guests.
Be on the lookout for Turin Castle in Millionaire Holiday Home Swap, now streaming exclusively on Paramount+ in the UK and Ireland.
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