Back in July we looked at 4 of Britain’s most interesting houses. We sailed far and wide across the internet to chart some of the most unusual buildings that people have made their homes. During that voyage a few themes emerged – not least our national obsession with coastal and maritime properties. So here – me hearties – are three of the best and most unusual coastal properties that you’ll find on British shores (or in British waters). And the good news is that you could actually visit them…
1. Spitbank Fort
Coastal properties don’t come much more intriguing than Spitbank Fort. Completed in 1878 it is one of four Sea Forts built to defend strategically important Portsmouth from sea-borne invasion. As such it isn’t so much a coastal retreat as a marine one – because it’s actually located in the Solent – a 10-15 minute boat ride from the nearest ferry jetty.
Looking like a cross between the Stromberg’s lair in The Spy Who Loved Me and Port Royal in Pirates of the Caribbean, Spitbank was was owned by the Ministry of Defence until 1982 when they sold it into private ownership. It has since changed hands a few times, the last being in 2012 when it was purchased by AmaZing venues.
If all this talk of getting your head down offshore has whetted your appetite (or you just want to play at being Bond, James Bond) there’s good news: AmaZing now run the fort as a luxury Spa Hotel – and if the interior shots are anything to go by luxury is a bit of an understatement.
2. The House in the Sea – Newquay
Compared to Spitbank Fort, the name’s a bit of a fraud. You see The House in the Sea, near Newquay, is perched on a rocky outcrop that’s only accessible by a small suspension bridge. So it’s more above the sea than in it. It is stunning though and is furnished to a very high standard in what its holiday letting firm describe as ‘New York vibe with sophisticated coastal luxury’.
With Newquay more accessible than ever (you can fly from London City Airport to Newquay Cornwall Airfield) it’s an easy hop from London and just a 16 minute taxi ride at the other end. However at around £6000 for a week you’ll probably need to be working down Canary Wharf way to be able to afford it.
3. Clavell Tower, Kimmeridge
If you’re less Newquay’s brand of sand, surfing and partying hard and prefer fossil hunting, cliff walks and a quiet country pub than – then Clavell Tower in Kimmeridge, Dorset might be more your Pint of Ale.
The four storey circular property is 11m tall and was built in 1830 – it is thought as an observatory or folly – by John Clavell-Richards who had inherited the Smedmore Estate in which the Tower sits.
Now owned by the Landmark Trust the tower was restored between 2006 and 2008 into a dwelling available for holiday let. That restoration saw the tower dismantled stone by stone and re-erected 25metres further back from the crumbling cliff edge.
If a weekend break at Clavell Tower floats your holiday boat you can find out more on the Landmark Trust website. Just don’t book expecting to be able to sit in the corner to read your book.