Luttrell's Tower

Eaglehurst, Southampton - Sleeps 4

About this Landmark

Built for Temple Luttrell, a Member of Parliament (and reputedly also a smuggler) and there is still a 'smugglers tunnel' that runs from the tower to the beach.

  • Dogs AllowedDogs Allowed
  • CotCot
  • Fire or StoveFire or Stove
  • Open SpaceOpen Space
  • Logs availableLogs available
  • Parking AvailableParking Available
  • BathBath
  • MicrowaveMicrowave
  • Table Tennis TableTable Tennis Table

Beds 1 Twin, 1 Double

  • Sleeps 4
  • 4 nights from £681
  • equivalent to £42.56 per person, per night

The last Thomas Sandby building 

Built in about 1780, Luttrell's Tower was built for Temple Simon Luttrell, who owned the Eaglehurst Estate at the time. Despite being wrongly thought of as the work of architect James Wyatt, it wasn't until 1990 when Roger White of the Georgian Group uncovered the truth. He recognised the tower and Thomas Sandby was revealed as its true designer. The significance of Luttrell's Tower is heightened by the fact it is possibly the only surviving work of Sandby, who was the first Professor of Architecture at the Royal Academy. Despite its exposed position and need for constant attention, the tower was in good condition when we took it over in 1968, and it only needed some practical adjustments to its layout and a few cosmetic changes.

A private tower on the shores of the Solent

Set just back from the shores of the Solent, this Landmark can sleep up to four people and is close to the New Forest. Whilst the coastline is perfect for walking and there are many places to settle down for a picnic, nearby Exbury Gardens are particularly lovely, especially when the daffodil meadows are in bloom. Those keen on the motor history or shipbuilding will find nearby Beaulieu Motor Museum and Buckler's Hard especially interesting. You can wave at passing ships from the Tower’s roof, just like Marconi’s wife and daughter did as the Titanic sailed past. There is direct access to the beach down a tunnel once said to have been used by smugglers.

Luttrell's Tower was the subject of a segment of BBC's Great British Railway Journeys.

Floor Plan

‘A beautiful and tranquil place. We have enjoyed every minute of it.’

From the logbook

Map & local info

Luttrell’s Tower stands on a private estate on the shore of the Solent looking towards Cowes. From the Tower and its beach there are magnificent views of the sea and of the ships entering and leaving Southampton by the deep water channel.

In the New Forest there is a wealth of places to visit. Beaulieu Motor Museum is home to a stunning collection of automobiles, set against the backdrop of the beautiful abbey, which you can also visit. 

Lymington is a Georgian market town by the sea, where you can find plenty of shops and restaurants, or just enjoy a walk by the sea. 

Nearby Buckler's Hard is a fascinating 18th century shipyard, where many of Nelson's fleet were constructed. There are plenty of opportunities for walking and picnicing along this lovely stretch of the Beaulieu River. 

The Pig Hotel and Restaurant is celebrated for it's 25 mile menu; what cannot be grown in their garden kitchen is sourced locally. The Pig serves simple Britsh garden food, in a beautiful Victorian greenhouse, and you can even book to go on a guided foraging trip. 

The Limewood Hotel and Spa is perfect for relaxation and pampering, but they also have a fantastic menu. Limewood's Raw&Cured menu is served from the Herb House Spa, or why not try their tempting afternoon tea. 

Exbury Gardens are stunning throughout the year, but be sure to pay a visit in the spring to see their amazing daffodil meadows. 

Please see our Pinterest Map for more great ideas for things to do during your stay at Luttrell's Tower. 

Please Note: The Landmark Trust does not take any responsibility and makes no warranties, representations or undertakings about the content of any website accessed by hypertext link. Links should not be taken as an endorsement of any kind. The Landmark Trust has no control over the availability of the linked pages.

Luttrell's Tower
Eaglehurst, Southampton - Sleeps 4
Clear directions

‘A beautiful and tranquil place. We have enjoyed every minute of it.’

From the logbook

Your questions answered

    What you need to know about this building

  • Does the property allow dogs?

  • How is the property accessed?

    Via an unmade track.
  • What is the nearest railway station and how far away is it?

    Totton – 13 miles.
  • Is there car parking specifically for Landmark guests?

    Yes – there are two parking spaces adjacent to the property.
  • What type of heating does the property have?

    There are Rointe heaters and an open fire.
  • How can I get fuel for the open fire or stove?

    Logs may be purchased and delivered under a private arrangement. Further details will be provided with your booking confirmation.
  • What are the kitchen facilities?

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

    There is one bathroom with a bath. There is an additional wc.
  • Does this Landmark have steep, narrow or spiral stairs?

    The stairs are steep, narrow and spiral.
  • Can I access the roof?

    Yes,  but we would ask that care is taken in inclement weather and that children and dogs are supervised when on the roof.
  • Is there a garden or outside space?

    There is a garden (not enclosed) and a roof terrace. There is also direct access to the beach via the smugglers tunnel!

    Booking and Payment

  • 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 create an account?

    If you have not used the Landmark online booking facility before and you wish to register in advance, you can set up an on-line account by following the instructions below:

    Go to the Landmark home page and click on Gift shop (located at the top of the home page in red).

    Select a gift (e.g. Landmark Handbook or Anniversary Mug) and complete the ‘Amount required’ box. There is no need to complete the purchase but this step is necessary in order to bring up the registration page.

    Click ‘Next Step’ at the bottom of the page.

    This will bring you to the ‘Your details’ page.

    Please complete all the fields (name, address, contact details and create an account). Click on the green ‘Create Account’ button once you have finished.

    At the top of the page headed ‘Your details’ there will be a grey box saying ‘Signed in’ and underneath this it will say ‘you are currently signed in as ….

    Here you will also have the option to ‘Sign out’. Please do so and that is your registration completed.

    Please return to the Landmark home page.

    To check your registration or update your account details at any time please ‘Sign in’ using the icon in the top right-hand corner of the home page.

    If you experience any problems in registering or setting up your on-line account please contact [email protected]
  • 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
  • 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 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 be able to tell you whether the Landmark is accessible. If the housekeeper can safely get to the building to prepare it then we consider that it is open and available for guests. However if we cannot undertake a changeover then we will do our utmost to transfer your stay to another Landmark, depending on what we have available. It may not be of a similar size or in the same part of the country as your original booking. If the building is accessible but the customer cannot travel due to poor weather in his/her local area then please be aware that Landmark will not provide a refund. However the customer may be able to claim on his/her own travel insurance. We recommend that all guests take out travel insurance when they first secure a booking.

    Staying at a Landmark

  • 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 on 01628 825925 if you would like to find out the suitability of a particular Landmark for anyone with a specific disability.
  • 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.
  • Am I 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.
  • 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.
  • Are there 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).

More substantial than most follies

Luttrell’s Tower was built in around 1780 for Temple Simon Luttrell, owner of the Eaglehurst Estate at that time. For a long time, on stylistic grounds, the Tower’s architect was thought to be James Wyatt. However, in 1990 Roger White of the Georgian Group recognised the tower in a drawing, by architect Thomas Sandby, at Vassar Art Gallery in New York State. Thomas, whose brother was the better known Paul Sandby, designed few buildings.

Comparison of the drawing with Luttrell’s Tower proved the tower to be by Thomas Sandby, the only one of his buildings known to survive. It is built in the so-called Gothick style, made fashionable by Robert Walpole’s house at Strawberry Hill in Twickenham, a whimsical harking back to the forms of the Middle Ages.

In the 18th century, the Tower was known both as Eaglehurst, after the estate on which it stood, and Luttrell’s Folly, for it belongs to that class of buildings that are built more for fun than serious intent. This tower, however, was more substantial than most follies, since it contained bedrooms and kitchens as well as a fine top floor with views across the Solent to the Isle of Wight. It seems even then it was used as a retreat for the family. An account written in 1790 tells us that ‘Several subterraneous passages lead from the area to a number of marquees, to which the family retires when the turbulence of the weather renders a residence in the house disagreeable. In these tents there are several beds, and also a kitchen. The house being small, these retreats are both cool and agreeable. At their backs stands a yew hedge, which protects them form the severity of the north and north-west winds. From hence another passage leads to a bathing house on the beach. All these retreats are well bricked and floored: but so very wet at times that they are impassable.' J. Hassall, Tour of the Isle of Wight (1790)

Temple Simon Luttrell belonged to a colourful and well-connected Irish family. His father, Simon Temple Luttrell, was created Earl of Carhampton in 1785. Temple Simon Luttrell had two notorious sisters, Anne and Elizabeth. Anne married George IV’s younger brother, the foolish Duke of Cumberland, who employed Thomas Standby as his deputy for his own role as Ranger of Windsor Park, which may have been how the commission at Eaglehurst came about. Elizabeth ‘played high and cheated much,' which was no doubt what led her to be imprisoned in a debtors prison and convicted as a pickpocket in Bavaria. Temple Simon Luttrell had quite an eventful life himself, including being arrested by revolutionaries in Boulogne in 1793, who exhibited him as the captured brother of the King of England. We do not know for sure why he built the folly. Local tradition claims he built it for smuggling, with its underground tunnel to the beach. Graffiti in the tunnel suggests it may predate the Tower, so perhaps there was earlier smuggling activity here. Certainly, smuggling was rife along this part of the coast in the 18th century, but there is no firm evidence that our Luttrell was a smuggler.

After Luttrell’s death in 1803, the Tower came into the ownership of the 7th Earl of Cavan, a distinguished soldier in the Napoleonic Wars and commander of the British army in Egypt. It was he who brought back the enormous pair of feet that reside at the top of the steps down to the beach, thought to be the base of a statue of Ramses II of the XIXth dynasty, perhaps brought back as ballast in a supply ship. It was Cavan who built the house at Eaglehurst, one of the first houses in England of any size to be built as a bungalow. The future Queen Victoria, visiting when she was 14 years old, in 1833, was very taken by it. ‘They live entirely on the ground floor like tents' she wrote in her Journal. She was also impressed by Lord Cavan’s mummy, a piece of whose linen wrapping she was given to keep. Later, as queen, Victoria seriously considered buying the house at Eaglehurst as her seaside residence before finally deciding on Osborne House on the Isle of Wight. In 1844, the 8th Earl sold the estate and the Tower to a local, Dr Drummond, who bought it to prevent its development as part of the seaside boom. For the next hundred years, the house and Tower formed the venues for smart parties thrown by a succession of tenants.

The most famous of these tenants was Guglielmo Marconi, pioneer of radio, who rented the Tower from 1911 to 1916 because it was conveniently close to another station near the Needles. He used the top room of the Tower as a radio laboratory and would disappear there for hours. His daughter recalled that the family dog once bit him as a stranger. She also recalled climbing to the very top of the Tower with her mother, to wave a red scarf to the Titanic as she sailed from Southampton, on her doomed first and only voyage.

The next tenants, Sir Guy and Lady Granet, commissioned architect Clough Williams-Ellis (who built Portmeirion in North Wales) to design the steps from the Tower down to the beach. As Williams-Ellis also recalled in a letter in 1975, he ‘had the fun of restoring & embellishing the Gothick tower folly & surroundings & contriving a "perspective" garden etc.’ During the Second World War, the RAF requisitioned the Tower as a lookout, removing its white flag pole as too conspicuous to the enemy. After the war, the Tower was bought by Colonel Gates (of Cow & Gate) who repaired it and made some minor alterations. In 1965, he made the Tower habitable year round by installing a modern bathroom and kitchen, laying wooden floors and replacing all the chimney pieces except that on the ground floor. The cellar was plastered and painted, the wine bins built, the sea tunnel re-opened and the iron gates re-hung. The top room, which Marconi had used, was restored: the plasterwork was re-done and the shell frieze put back with new shells and the room became Colonel Gates’s bedroom.

Close and regular attention

After all this work, relatively little needed to be done by the Landmark Trust when we acquired the Tower in 1968 (the main house and gardens are privately owned). Under architect Philip Jebb’s direction, the Tower’s bathroom was made to exit onto the stairs rather than through the first floor bedroom and a new lavatory was constructed off the stairs. A new kitchen was put in on the top floor, where there had been an ensuite bathroom to the Colonel's bedroom and the sitting room was moved from the ground floor to this top floor.

The front door was moved back to the bottom of the stair turret, having been replaced earlier by French windows into the garden from the ground floor room.

Luttrell’s Tower’s exposed position by the sea makes it a difficult and expensive building to maintain and it requires close and regular attention. A major repair and refurbishment campaign was carried out in 2003/4, giving greater emphasis to the Tower’s Georgian origins in its decoration. Luttrell’s Tower continues to be one of the most popular of Landmark buildings and has brought great enjoyment to countless visitors over the decades it has been in Landmark’s care.

Select a changeover day to start your booking...

What's a changeover day? and Why can't I select other dates?
Explain MoreQuestion

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.