Visit Belmont for free

by Marilyn Donohue, South West Regional Property Manager

Belmont has been one of Landmark’s most popular buildings for bookings, especially since its restoration was featured in a six-part series on Channel 4, Restoring Britain’s Landmarks in 2015. Belmont has availability for holidays at the end of 2018, and we shall be releasing 2019 availability in autumn 2017.

We welcome visitors to Belmont on free public open days. The next ones are taking place over the weekend of 9-10 September 2017, when the building will be open from 10am until 4pm. Over 2000 people joined us at our Open Days in 2015, and again in 2016, which makes it a busy day, but it’s a wonderful opportunity for local residents in particular to see a Landmark property from building restoration to finished project. We also have visitors from many other areas of the country who are keen to see this wonderful building and hear about the work that we do. Dr Bangay’s three-storey Victorian Observatory Tower with its original winding mechanism will also be open over the weekend. There is a large public car park two minutes' walk from Belmont.

Visitors can see a permanent exhibition containing information boards which focus on three former residents – Mrs Eleanor Coade , Dr Richard Bangay and John Fowles.

I will be at the Open Days, along with Stuart Leavy, who was the site manager during the project. You can read about Stuart’s take on the project here, who describes it as ‘the best professional experience I have ever had’. Carole Paton, who managed the Belmont project will also be on hand to answer questions, as will Ed Donohue, the manager of Landmark’s Victorian Crownhill Fort in Plymouth. Sarah Locke-Lavell and Dawn Blandamer will also be around; they care for the building and its guests in their role of Housekeepers. Some of our brilliant volunteers will also be on hand.

Please come and say hello – here are just a few of the sorts of comments we typically receive during the Open Days.

  • ‘Having lived in the area and watched this beautiful house fall into decline, it was wonderful to watch its restoration with meticulous attention to detail. Thanks to the Landmark Trust we now once again have this splendid building in Lyme Regis’.
  • ‘The French Lieutenant’s Woman is my favourite film and I am a big fan of the author John Fowles. I wandered about this property imagining him writing in the beautifully restored writing room.’
  • ‘A stay at Belmont is now on my ‘must do’ list. I have already bought the Landmark Handbook to see what other properties that I can visit. The craftsmanship and splendid furnishing that has brought this property back to life, is quite remarkable.’
  • ‘The main attraction for me was the observatory tower. My wife enjoyed the garden. It is an inspirational building and it’s wonderful to see the house restored to its original Regency form. TI was good to see such an extensive collection of books in the library.’

At the Belmont Open Days last year, we planted a rare Steep Holm Peony (Paeonia mascula). Steep Holm is a tiny island in the Bristol Channel, and the only place in the UK where this peony grow wild. Author John Fowles, a keen naturalist, helped perpetuate the plant by creating a colony in his garden, which we were never able to find. Thanks to a Landmarker who provided a root and some seeds from his own garden, we are nurturing a healthy plant that flowered this year. Hopefully a new colony will now take root.

If you can’t make it to Belmont, we have other free Open Days in the south-west region, and we have 30 other ones lined up during the year across the county.

Landmarks you can visit for free in the south-west

Beckford's Tower
Saturday 8 July and Sunday 9 July 2017 - 10am to 4pm
Lansdown Road, Bath

Cawsey House
Saturday 6 May to Sunday 7 May 2017 - 10am-4pm
Great Torrington, Devon

 Clavell Tower:
Saturday 9 and Sunday 10 September 2017 - 10am to 4pm
Kimmeridge, near Wareham, Dorset

Crownhill Fort:
The Landmark Trust apartment at Crownhill Fort will be open on Saturday 6 and Sunday 7 May 2017 - 10am to 4pm
The grounds and museums will be open to explore but please note that there will be no tours or cannon firings.
Plymouth, Devon

Woodspring Priory:
Saturday 2 and Sunday 3 December 2017 - 10am to 4pm
Near Weston-super-Mare, Somerset