Landmark Gems

Our 500 members of staff each help to nurture 200 special buildings. Here colleagues from across the organisation share glimpses of the Landmarks they most love. 

Annie Leyland, Bridget Edwards and Robert Osbourne


Between the three of us, we have a total of 12 years’ experience working at Astley Castle. I am very much the newbie, having only started in May 2022, but the knowledge and care that I have picked up from both Bridget and Rob is invaluable.

No day is ever the same and when we convene by the old stables at 10am on a Monday and Friday morning I often wonder what we are going to find when we walk up the track, over the moat, through the iron gates, into the garden and through the front door. Some days are more challenging than others, but there is a great sense of satsfaction when we have completed the changeover and know that we have done the very best we can for this wonderful building. Sometimes we meet the guests when they are about to depart. I think most of them find it very difficult to leave, as they have had the most amazing time and are always very happy to share their stories with us.

On a recent Open Day, we heard stories from people that had partied here in the 1970s when it was a bar and restaurant. It sounded very much like party central and most of them remembered where the bar was funnily enough! We heard from someone who had waitressed, another who had her son’s christening party here in 1961 and another who celebrated her 21st birthday party. It is truly an incredible building, and we all feel very privileged to be its custodians. I hope it feels the same way about us too!

Viv Holloway


The moment I open the gate I enter another world. The calmness, the bird song, the hedge shielding me, the big sky, the clean air, the peace. I take my time walking down the short lane, enjoying each step as I immerse myself in the beauty of nature.

The cottage comes into view and I stand for a moment soaking in the view of the black and white timber framed building which has stood on  this very spot since 1485. At the moment it is surrounded by glorious crocus and snowdrops, your mind wanders to who planted them and the enjoyment they got out of seeing there cheerful heads emerge.

I stand in the frame of the door, it is still. It is quiet. It is peaceful.

Each and every task restores this loved cottage back to readiness for the next lucky people who get to escape. My day ends with a huge sense of wellbeing, a sense of satisfaction at a job well done. My last thought as I take a last look standing in the door frame is that the guests will see what I am seeing, they will feel what I am feeling. They will love St Winifred’s Well as I do, and she will offer them that little piece of sanctuary.

Hannah Thompson

Project Engagement Officer (Calverley Old Hall)

I have the privilege to work on site at Calverley Old Hall and see it change week by week as it is sensitively restored. It's a fascinating building will forever hold a special place in my heart.

With a varied and unique history dating back over 700 years, the building creaks in all the right places and has plenty to share with any guest who wishes to enter the door. I’m greeted every day by a wonderful portrait of a dapper smiling gent drinking his glass of port, fondly nicknamed ‘Port Pete’, one of the last remnants which reminds me that for around 40 years, this small part of the building was the sole Landmark property.

As many will know, Calverley is currently undergoing a huge National Lottery Heritage Fund restoration project. The Old Hall will be transformed from its previously derelict state into a 10 person Landmark, with a community space and long-term residential let. This will be a wonderful addition to the Landmark portfolio which will allow people to experience both the unique nature of this wonderful building and the warm community of the surrounding village.

Having spoken to many from the local area over my time here, many remember Calverley fondly; not as the Medieval 14th century manor house it once was, but subdivided into a series of small cottages, home to well-known villagers like the milkman who lived in one of the cottages near the solar. From small leather shoes hidden away in the roof, to beautiful Tudor paintings revealed behind plaster boarded walls, Calverley is a building of mystery. With another year left on the restoration project it still has lots of secrets to give up yet, and while I’m not quite sure we will ever know everything that’s quite alright with me, it’s all part of the charm!

Helen Clewlow


My daughter and I were lucky enough to stay at No. 1 Hawkers Cottage recently. It was pouring with rain on our journey there, but, when we arrived, we were inspired by the loveliness of the cottage and its surroundings. On entering, we were met with a warm, cosy glow from a small lamp and the tea tray on the kitchen table had a jug of freshly cut flowers from the garden which completed our homely first impression.  

After a good night’s sleep in comfortable beds, we decided to walk to Duckpool with the dogs for a leisurely walk along a picturesque beach. Kilkhampton was a surprisingly short drive away and we spent the afternoon exploring the village and getting supplies for our stay. 

Sunday was spent walking the dogs, relaxing, and reading in the lounge with a roaring log fire. We left feeling thoroughly rested with our batteries recharged, and we can’t wait to return.  

Amy Taylor

Communications Manager

In the summer of 1910 Virginia Woolf visited Lower Porthmeor. She was 28 years old and recovering from recent illness, spending three weeks lodging with the Berryman family to recuperate in the tonic of this isolated farm hamlet. That we too can seek the same granite-farmhouse shelter never fails to take my breath away. 

Woolf spent her time striding out across the moors. I’ve visited in every season, taking sanctuary from storms and sunburn but always walking stretches of the south-west coastline, which here retreats into a cove of both molten granite and dark slate. There are tiny patchwork fields, the drystone wall enclosures marking divisions dating back to the Iron Age. Stretches of gorse are interrupted only by wind-bent trees.

Remote as it feels, Lower Porthmeor is less than two miles from Zennor, which in turn is just five miles from St Ives. The artistic legacy of this land is rich: across the 20th century generations of creatives sought solace from West Penwith, forging new ideas in response – at least in part - to the extraordinary landscape. It’s a real privilege to follow in such footsteps.

Amy Taylor visitor Lower Porthmeor at sunset

Bridget Mellor


The first Landmark property I stayed in was Cloth Fair about 16 years ago with our teenage daughter. After an eerily quiet walk through The City of London, deserted on a Friday evening, we arrived at the former home of John Betjeman. It was just like stepping into a museum after the glass, steel and high-rise buildings we’d encountered on the way. It was hard to imagine that this street was once the site of a bustling market, where merchants traded their best cloth centuries earlier, and amazing to think that some of these houses survived The Great Fire of London. 

We unpacked and set off to explore the city, we visited a beautiful ancient church which had a candle lit service and then returned to make a light dinner. After a lovely breakfast the next morning, we popped into St Bartholomew the Great, a wonderful Norman church, followed by a trip to Frederick Leighton’s house and The Barbican Centre to enjoy a film in the evening. 

On Monday morning, we woke to the sound of Smithfield Market coming to life with huge lorries offloading the finest Scottish beef, and Welsh lamb. We bought some lovely goodies from the market and set off for the train back north. 

The first of many happy stays!  

Ant Martin


Having worked for the Landmark Trust as a gardener and housekeeper for over 11 years, I feel very attached to Alton Station and I’m lucky being part of a great team. Jo (regional manager) and Fiona (regional assistant) have given me the right balance of trust and support which has been a pleasure. It’s fun working on the open days! One year whilst at Knowle Hill I was in charge of the garden tour, and full of facts, but I had one visitor who clearly knew more than I did! After learning a lot from John the visitor, I suggested he might apply for a job at Landmark, which he did and as a consequence has been working happily at Knowle Hill for a number of years now. The building is just fantastic, the history is fascinating and is well documented for the guests. I love how John Evetts and the furnishings team furnish the buildings and I always make a bee line towards the pictures on the walls at any of the Landmarks. Alton particularly has some nice historical pictures. The stories are also intriguing as the station master’s daughter mentioned snakes in the garden which puzzled me for a number of years until I recently found a few slow worms!

Brian Millar


Let’s settle the most important Landmark question of all: which one would make the best evil wizard’s lair? The answer, of course, is Culloden Tower. I once stood on top of its roof and conjured a thunderstorm that rolled across the hills, lightning playing across Richmond Castle, black curtains of rain engulfing the town. Obviously, I retreated to the safety of the living room long before the storm actually hit the tower; even wizards must observe health and safety rules. The tower really has everything: a top floor bedroom for captive princesses, a spiral staircase for battling attacking knights, good sight lines for repelling armies of the undead, and piping hot towel rails; all musts for the weekend necromancer. I’m excited to see the completion of Fairburn Tower which promises to rival Culloden’s sorcery. Until then, expect more thunderstorms in Richmond.

Pat Lloyd and Haidee Butler-Rubbino

Housekeepers at 13 Princelet Street

Pat: 'I’ve lived round the corner from Princelet Street for 38 years. Thanks to an excellent history teacher at school, I have a great interest in the past. The house was built in 1719 and in my 17 years as housekeeper I’ve often wondered what tales it would tell if walls could talk ...'

Haidee: 'It has been an ambition of mine to work at Landmark. The experience when you arrive, turn the key in the lock, open the door and discover an incredible building - and then get to actually live in it for a few days - is really special. I get such a thrill from that, I hope our guests do too.'

Housekeepers Pat loyd and Haidee Butler-Rubbino reminiscing on their time looking after Princelet Street in the sitting room

Ed Donohue

Manager of Crownhill Fort

When I arrive at work I go through the entrance tunnel and it feels like I am transported into a different world, one of peace and tranquillity in the heart of the city. Crownhill Fort is so easy to get to yet so far removed; standing on the Parade Ground it is hard to imagine that there is a city of 300,000 people just beyond the walls.

There is always something happening here... as well as a regular flow of Landmarkers arriving for their holidays, there are 15 small businesses based within the former military buildings. Add school visits and public open days to this and there is never an opportunity to become bored.

My favourite room is the North Caponier. It is one of six structures built around the outside of the Fort to keep the defensive ditch clear of enemy troops. It has been restored to its 1890s layout, complete with atmospheric lighting, cast iron stoves, wooden shutters and a working cannon.

Crownhill Fort Manager Ed Donohue sat at the dining table