The China Tower

Bicton, Devon - Sleeps 4

About the property

The China Tower, also known as the Bicton Belvedere, is located on the Rolle Estate above the Otter estuary near Sidmouth. This handsome, octagonal castellated Gothick tower was built in 1839 by Louisa, Lady Rolle, as a surprise birthday present for her husband. J C Loudon described it as ‘the best piece of architecture at Bicton’. The tower is said to have got its name because Lady Rolle used one of its rooms to display her rich collection of china.

Dog Beds 1 Twin, 1 Double

  • Sleeps4
  • 4 nights from from£277
  • equivalent to £17.31 per person per night

Facilities & features

This octagonal, fourstorey belvedere tower stands secretly on a knoll wooded with conifers, with a view of Bicton House and the sea beyond.

  • Fire or Stove
  • Open Space
  • Dishwasher
  • Remote
  • Shower
Find out more

‘Landmark fulfils a vital role, preserving buildings that form a small but important part of the fabric and heritage of Britain, and which would otherwise be lost’

Simon Martin - Life Patron

Facilities & features

The China Tower was built in 1839 by Lady Louisa Rolle for John, Lord Rolle, a charming surprise birthday gift from a young wife to her much older husband. The Rolles were an ancient Devon family who amassed vast acreages in the county through marriage and purchase. Their main seats were here at Bicton, and at Stevenstone, where we have another Landmark, The Library. Lord and Lady Rolle were passionate gardeners and together they created fine botanical gardens and a famous arboretum at Bicton.

  • 1 Twin, 1 Double
  • Dogs Allowed
  • Fire or Stove
  • Open Space
  • Dishwasher
  • Remote
  • Shower

Today, Bicton House has become a college and the Rolles’ beautiful botanical gardens nearby are open to the public. The China Tower had fallen empty and become a temptation for local youth, so the Clinton Devon Estates, on whose land it stands today, approached us for help with its future use. The Tower sits atop a pocket of deep countryside, surrounded by heathland and pretty villages just east of the Exe estuary, between Sidmouth and Budleigh Salterton. The handsome red cliffs that form part of World Heritage Site, The Jurassic Coast, are within close reach. Sir Walter Raleigh was born just a couple of miles away.

‘Landmark fulfils a vital role, preserving buildings that form a small but important part of the fabric and heritage of Britain, and which would otherwise be lost’

Simon Martin - Life Patron

Floor plans

Map & local info

The China Tower, also known as the Bicton Belvedere, is located on the Rolle Estate above the Otter estuary near Sidmouth, in sight of the sea.

The China Tower
Bicton, Devon - Sleeps 4
Clear directions

Places to visit nearby

A la Ronde

Powderham Castle

Sidmouth

Exeter Minster

‘Landmark fulfils a vital role, preserving buildings that form a small but important part of the fabric and heritage of Britain, and which would otherwise be lost’

Simon Martin - Life Patron

Your questions answered

    What you need to know about this building

  • Does the property allow dogs?

    Yes.
  • How is the property accessed?

    Via a gravel track from the main road.
  • What is the nearest railway station and how far away is it?

    Exmouth – 7 miles.
  • Is there car parking specifically for Landmark guests?

    There are two (possibly three) parking spaces alongside the priory wall approximately 20m from the Landmark.
  • What type of heating does the property have?

    There is an Air Source Heat Pump system and a solid fuel stove in the sitting room.
  • How can I get fuel for the open fire or stove?

    Unfortunately, there is currently no arrangement for the purchase and delivery of fuel, however details of local sources will be provided with your order confirmation.
  • What are the kitchen facilities?

    The kitchen is fully equipped with all plates, cutlery, fridge etc. There is also an electric cooker, microwave and a dishwasher.
  • What are the bathroom facilities?

    There is one bathroom with a shower.
  • Does this Landmark have steep, narrow or spiral stairs?

    The spiral staircase is particularly steep and narrow. 
  • Is there a garden or outside space?

    There is a grassed platform around the tower.

    Booking and Payment

  • Can I pay a deposit?

    If your stay starts more than three months from the date you make the booking, you are required to pay a deposit of one third of the cost of your stay (or £100 per booking, if greater) at the time of booking. Camping on Lundy must be paid for in full at the time of booking.
  • How can I pay?

    We accept Maestro (if issued in the UK), Visa, MasterCard, direct transfer and sterling cheques drawn on a UK bank. Cheques should be made payable to the Landmark Trust except for Lundy stays and boat/helicopter tickets which should be payable to The Lundy Company Ltd. All payments must be in sterling.
  • How do I pick up the key?

    There are various arrangements for picking up keys. To arrange to get into the Landmark, please contact the housekeeper at least two days before your stay
  • How can I cancel or change my booking?

    If you wish to cancel or change your booking, please contact our Booking Office on 01628 825925
  • What if I arrive late?

    Please let the housekeeper know if you are going to arrive late and s/he will leave a key for you in a suitable place.
  • Do you accept payment in other currencies?

    At the moment we only accept payment in sterling.
  • How far in advance do I need to book?

    It depends. Some of our most popular Landmarks are booked up a long time in advance, but many can be booked at short notice. We will always have Landmarks free for the coming weekend so it’s always worth checking our availability list.
  • Do you have to be a member to book a Landmark?

    No, Landmarks are available to be booked for anyone.
  • Do I need a Handbook to be able to book?

    No, all the information you need can be found on our website, although we’d like you to buy one anyway as it will be a pleasure to own!
  • What happens if I can’t get to the Landmark due to bad weather?

    If the weather is bad, please contact our booking office who will advise you as to whether the Landmark is accessible. If the housekeeper can safely get to the building to carry out the changeover then we consider that it is open and available. However if we cannot undertake a changeover then we will do our utmost to transfer your stay to another Landmark, which may not be of a similar size or in the same part of the country as your original booking.

    Staying at a Landmark

  • Are Landmarks only available as self-catering accommodation?

    Yes, Landmarks are only available as self-catering accommodation. We do not offer bed and breakfast.
  • Do you provide catering?

    Landmark does not provide catering, but we can recommend Greycoat Lumleys who can arrange for expert and well-trained staff to cater for one evening or for your entire holiday. Their cooks and chefs are able to work with you to meet your specific requirements
  • Do you allow dogs?

    You may bring up to two dogs to properties where dogs are allowed (please see specific property details for exemptions however dogs are not permitted on Lundy except assistance dogs). They must be kept off the furniture and under proper control.
  • Can I bring a pet?

    Apart from two dogs (see above) no other pets are permitted.
  • Insured if I break something?

    We do not carry insurance for breakages. However we appreciate that accidents do sometimes happen. If you have a breakage during your stay, please let the housekeeper know and if appropriate we reserve the right to invoice you accordingly.
  • Are Landmarks suitable for children?

    Yes, most of our Landmarks are perfect for children, with gardens to play in and secret places to discover. Our furniture is surprisingly robust and we positively encourage families to stay. However, some of our buildings may not be suitable for small children; for example, some of them have steep or uneven spiral staircases. We recommend that you call the Booking Enquiries team if you would like to find out the suitability of any of our Landmarks for young children.
  • Are Landmarks accessible for people with disabilities or limited mobility?

    Some of our Landmarks are suitable for people with disabilities or limited mobility. However, many Landmarks have steep or narrow staircases, uneven floors and thresholds, changes of level, low ceilings or beams, as well as indistinct colours on steps and in corridors. We recommend that you call Booking Enquiries if you would like to find out the suitability of a particular Landmark for anyone with a specific disability.
  • Can I get married in a Landmark?

    Unfortunately, most of our Landmarks are not licensed for weddings. However, you may get married on Lundy.
  • Can I hold a big party in a Landmark?

    All our larger Landmarks are perfect for gatherings of family or friends. You may invite an additional two guests to visit you during your stay, however they must not stay overnight. This is very important because our fire regulations specifically note the maximum number of people in any one building. In addition our properties are prepared, furnished and equipped for the number of people specified and greater numbers cause damage and excessive wear and tear to vulnerable buildings. Should this condition be ignored we shall make a retrospective charge per person per day (whether or not they stay overnight) for each guest over the permitted limit, the charge being pro-rated on the total cost of your booking.
  • Is it true there are no televisions in the buildings?

    We deliberately do not provide televisions and find that most people appreciate this.
  • Why are your access tracks sometimes difficult?

    One of the challenges of restoring unloved buildings is gaining access to them. We frequently have to negotiate rights with our neighbours and share tracks with them. In many cases tracks do not belong to us and we have no right to maintain them. Wherever possible we work with our neighbours to provide you with a good quality surface, but where this is a problem then you will be warned at the time of booking.
  • Will there be sockets for my electrical appliances?

    Yes, we have standard electricity sockets for UK appliances. If you are coming from outside the UK, you will need to bring your own adaptor plug(s).

    Facilities

  • Are the kitchens and bathrooms restored to a modern standard?

    Sometimes our kitchens and bathrooms have to be imaginatively fitted into the available space in buildings where before there were none, but they are all planned and equipped to a high and modern standard.
  • Is linen provided?

    Yes, Landmarks are fully equipped with sheets and towels. All the beds are fully made up for your arrival.
  • Are the kitchens fully equipped?

    Yes, our kitchens are well equipped with cookers and fridges. There are freezers and dishwashers (in larger buildings) and, where space allows, microwaves as well as a wide and standard range of utensils. A full equipment list is available at time of booking.
  • Do you provide logs for the open fire/stove?

    Logs are provided at many of our Landmarks for an additional cost.
  • Will there be a mobile signal in the Landmark I book?

    Mobile coverage varies. Some Landmarks have an excellent signal, but others have none at all. If you are concerned, you can check with the housekeeper before your arrival.
  • Is there Wi-Fi in your buildings?

    No. At the moment, we have decided not to implement Wi-Fi in our buildings following a consultation with our customers. Many said that they would find it useful, but many also felt that it would somehow damage the experience of staying in a Landmark. As the responses were so split, and as we have so many other initiatives requiring funding, we have decided to put this on hold for the time being.
  • What should I bring with me? Are there lavatory rolls, soap, shampoo, milk, teabags, coffee, hairdryer?

    A welcome tray with tea and sugar awaits your arrival and you will find a pint of milk in the fridge. We also provide lavatory rolls and a bar of soap, per basin but no other toiletries. We do not provide hairdryers.

Select a changeover day to start your booking...

QuestionWhat's a changeover day? and Why can't I select other dates?

A changeover day is a particular day of the week when holidays start and end at our properties. These tend to be on a Friday or a Monday but can sometimes vary. All stays run from one changeover day until another changeover day.