Matt and Cassey Topham

We all have a list of all the things we'd love to buy if we won the lottery. From property to cars, holidays and luxuries, we could probably spend the lot before the ink had finished drying on the giant cheque.

But what do lottery winners really buy with their winnings, and what are the wisest purchases?


The National Lottery has created 3,000 millionaires in its time - dishing out over £8.5 billion. Camelot recently asked Oxford Economics to examine what these winners spent their money on.

1. A new home: Matt and Cassey Topham

The most popular purchase is property - with the winners spending a grand total of £2.72 billion on a new home. The average new property cost them £900,000, and the most popular features are hot tubs, walk-in wardrobes, electric gates and a games room.

Matt and Cassey Topham (pictured) are stunning examples of this. The couple, in their 20s, won £45 million, and in April they applied for planning permission to allow them to build a £5 million futuristic eco house - complete with a grotto-style swimming pool, and an underground garage that can be seen through waterfall.

2. Property investments: Roger Griffiths

Lottery winners were also likely to purchase more properties, to provide an income. This was the second most popular purchase after a new home, and means that the average lottery-winner owns 2.7 properties.

However, these investments have to be made wisely, as Roger Griffiths, a 42-year-old from Harrogate, who won £1.8 million, learned to his cost. He invested in a beauty salon and two houses in Harrogate - one for £157,000 and one for £195,000 - which he planned to refurbish and sell on.
Unfortunately the salon failed, and the property crash saw the value of the homes fall through the floor. They were eventually repossessed, leaving Roger with just £7 to his name.

3. Starting a business: Sandra Fosbroke

Some 15% of people start a new business with the money they win - while 9% go into business with a friend. Between them their businesses employ 3,195 people.

Sandra Fosbroke from Llanelli in Carmarthenshire decided to invest some of her £13 million winnings in a local pub, after it closed. She said at he time that she preferred working 12 hours a day to make a go of the business to a life of leisure. Her partner, meanwhile, went back to work as a Bingo caller.

4. Buying cars: Robert Johnson

Lottery winners have spent £460 million between them buying 17,190 cars. Apparently Audi is the most popular badge, followed by Range Rover, BMW, Mercedes and Land Rover. The average winner spends £46,116 on their new car.

Cars have proven an expensive option for Robert Johnson, a 65-year-old lottery winner from Hereford, who scooped £5 million in 2008. He immediately bought himself a £100,000 Bentley. However, earlier this year he made the ill-fated decision to try to drive down a flooded road - and wrote the car off. Within hours he had invested in a new Mercedes, to sit in his garage alongside a vintage Land Rover - which might have been a better bet for driving in floods.

5. Holidays: John Alford

Most lottery winners go on holiday after a big win, and the US is the most popular destination - favoured by 27% of people. Meanwhile, 9% go to the Caribbean, 6% choose Dubai, and 6% the Canary Islands. Some 68% of people treat themselves to a five star hotel - although a huge number also invest in a caravan - between them they have spent £7.4 million on caravans.

When great-grandfather John Alford won £1.4 million on the lottery at the age of 76, a trip to Florida was at the top of his shopping list - for himself and 20 members of his family. He said: "We're a very close family and I've always dreamed of taking everyone to Florida and going on the roller coasters."

Of course there's always the exception to the rule, like the couple who planned to take a trip to Scarborough, the Scottish man who splashed out on double-glazing, and the farmer who decided to invest in a new bailer.

But what would you spend the money on? Let us know in the comments.


More stories