Belmont, Dorset

Lyme Regis, Dorset


A remarkable and elegant 18th century seaside villa, Belmont opened to guests in 2015 after eight years of detailed research and two resolute years on site.

Free public Open Days: Saturday 14 - Sunday 15 September 2024

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Beds 2D 2T

4 nights from
£1016 equivalent to £31.75 per person, per night

A fine example of an 18th-century maritime villa

Belmont is Listed Grade II*. It once belonged to the remarkable businesswoman, Mrs Eleanor Coade. Owner from 1769 of an artificial stone manufactory in Lambeth, Mrs Coade devised a formula to mass produce architectural embellishments and statuary of the highest quality.

More recently Belmont was home to world-famous author, John Fowles, author of The Magus and The French Lieutenant's Woman.

We have restored Belmont to its appearance in Mrs Coade’s day. Here you can sit – and indeed write – in John Fowles’s former writing room with its wide views of sea and sky. In the garden there is a Victorian observatory tower, with hatch and revolving roof. Most of the long garden is left wild (Fowles was a keen naturalist) and it tumbles down to the esplanade, with a pebble beach and the Cobb beyond.

We are so grateful to everyone who supported Belmont, helping us to raise a total of £1.8m.

Public access to the Stables Information Room.

Floor Plan


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Map & local info

Featured in the Domesday Book, Lyme Regis is home to a number of historical landmarks and educational attractions and boasts breathtaking scenery and plenty to do in all seasons. John Fowles was the curator of the museum. The famous Cobb and harbour are set against moody blue cliffs yielding fossilised evidence of life on earth millions of years ago.

The Jurassic Coast was England's first natural World Heritage Site and in easy driving distance from Belmont. Enjoy spectacular walks and secluded beach coves along this outstanding coastline. 

Forde Abbey welcomes visitors all year round. There is plenty here to keep children entertained, with fun trails and walks around the gardens of this lovely estate. 

The pretty market town Bridport is a 10-mile drive from Belmont, where you can find the Bridport Museum. 

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Clear directions
Essential info
What you need to know about this building
  • No.
  • Directly from the main road.
  • Main services from Waterloo to Exeter stop at Axminster for Lyme Regis, with bus links from Axminster station.
  • Yes there are four to five car parking spaces adjacent to the property.
  • There is central heating.
  • To check up-to-date mobile network coverage in the area, visit* Due to the location and structure of many of our buildings, signal strength may differ to those indicated.
  • The kitchen is fully equipped with all plates, cutlery, fridge etc.
    There is also an electric cooker and microwave.
  • There is one bathroom with a shower over the bath, one shower room and two downstairs cloakrooms.
  • No.
  • There is an enclosed garden.
  • 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. Except at Llwyn Celyn Bunk House where a password is available in the property when you arrive.
Booking and Payment
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The key arrangements will be included in the Further Infomation document which will be sent to you prior to your stay.
  • If your stay starts more than two 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 and The Bunk House at Llwyn Celyn must be paid for in full at the time of booking.
  • If you wish to cancel or change your booking, please contact our Booking Office on 01628 825925
  • At the moment we only accept payment in sterling.
  • Our housekeeper will leave the key in a suitable place, the details of which will be sent to you prior to your stay.
  • 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.
  • No, Landmarks are available to be booked for anyone.
  • 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!
Staying at a Landmark
  • 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.  Further information on access when visiting Lundy can also be found here.
  • Yes, Landmarks are only available as self-catering accommodation. We do not offer bed and breakfast.
  • 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
  • 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. A charge of £20 per stay is made for each dog. Please contact booking enquiries if a registered assistance dog is supporting one of the guests, for which there is no charge.
  • Apart from two dogs (see above) no other pets are permitted.
  • Arrival is from 4pm and departure is by 10am.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Unfortunately, most of our Landmarks are not licensed for weddings. However, you may get married on Lundy.
  • 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.
  • We deliberately do not provide televisions and find that most people appreciate this.
  • 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.
  • 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). If you are visiting one of our European properties we have standard European electricity sockets. If you are visiting from the UK, you will need to bring your own adapter plug (s).
  • Landmark’s electrical systems have not been designed to provide continuous power from one socket over several hours.  If an ordinary socket is used to charge an electric vehicle, there is significant risk of an electrical fire and consequent danger to life.  Therefore, we are unable to allow electric vehicle charging from most of our Landmarks at present.

    We are working to provide Type 2 Electric Vehicle charge points at our properties where there is private parking.  Where this is available, please request this facility when booking the property to ensure the outlet is enabled on your arrival.  There is a small charge to cover the cost of electricity provided.  Please book this facility in advance.
  • No, we do not allow smoking in any Landmark.
  • 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.
  • Yes, Landmarks are fully equipped with sheets and towels. All the beds are fully made up for your arrival. Except for the Llwyn Celyn Bunkhouse.
  • 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.
  • Logs are provided at many of our Landmarks for an additional cost.
  • 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.
  • 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.
    Except at Llwyn Celyn Bunk House where a password is available in the property when you arrive.
  • A welcome tray with tea and sugar awaits your arrival and you will find a pint of milk in the fridge. We also provide toilet rolls and a bar of soap per basin, but no other toiletries. Hairdryers are provided.

An 18th-century maritime villa

Belmont is a fine, early example of a maritime villa, a new building type that sprang up in the second half of the 18th century with the rising popularity of sea bathing and holidays by the seaside. Our research has shown that the house was built before 1784 by Samuel Coade. This is the date he transferred the house to his niece, Mistress Eleanor Coade (1733-1821), one of the most intriguing figures in 18th-century architecture.

The Coades hailed from the south west and were a significant family in Lyme Regis. Mrs Coade became a well-known London business woman, owner from 1769 of an artificial stone manufactory in Lambeth. She devised a formula to mass produce architectural embellishments and statuary of the highest quality. Through inclusion of a high percentage of pre-fired material in the mixture, Coade stone wares emerged from the kiln with closely predictable shrinkage and therefore accuracy. The light, buff coloured results can easily be mistaken for stone and are highly durable. Many examples survive today in the buildings and landscapes of all the finest 18th-century architects – yet today Mrs Coade is scarcely known beyond architectural historians.

After her death in 1821, the business continued under distant relations but had ceased by 1843. All traces of the Lambeth premises were lost during the construction of the South Bank complex in the 1950s. Apart from her artefacts and some loose leaf ‘catalogues’ advertising her wares, Belmont is now Mrs Coade’s only memorial.

After Mrs Coade’s death in 1821, Belmont was lived in by a series of tenants, until it was bought in 1883 by a GP, Dr Richard Bangay. He transformed the villa into a large family home, adding two large side wings, conservatories and an observatory tower. By the time John and Elizabeth Fowles bought the house in 1968, the conservatories had gone and the wings had been haphazardly reduced.

John Fowles’s hopes for Belmont

John Fowles, the author of seminal works such as The Magus and The French Lieutenant's Woman, lived at Belmont from 1968-2005. Towards the end of his life, he approached Landmark to help realise his wish that after his death, Belmont could be enjoyed by other writers and as many people as possible, through use as a Landmark. Above all, he wanted to prevent Belmont being turned insensitively into a hotel or boarding house. His writing room on the first floor overlooking the Cobb will play a pivotal role within the restored house and will become the main drawing room for visitors. It includes a writing desk and a large number of John Fowles books in the library, alongside other works illuminating the history of this fine house. In the attached stable block a permanent exhibition has been created, celebrating the lives of Belmont’s previous residents.

The Peculiar Mrs Coade

Celebrating Mrs Eleanor Coade and the restoration of her seaside villa, Belmont in Lyme Regis

Landmark's Historian, Caroline Stanford, gave a talk about Eleanor Coade to the Friends in February 2022.

Watch the talk on YouTube

Mrs Coade’s holiday villa

Belmont is a fine example of an 18th-century maritime villa in Lyme Regis but it was in need of urgent repair. Our project rescued Belmont from decay and restored it to its late-Georgian glory, creating a Landmark for up to 8 people. As it was once Mrs Coade’s holiday villa, so it is used for holidays again, with its original features repaired and reinstated.

After detailed research, Landmark recovered the eighteenth-century form of the house to make a Landmark for up to eight people. The late nineteenth-century observatory tower, built by a remarkable Victoria GP called Dr Richard Bangay, was also restored as rare survival.

Landmark’s in-house team, working with teams of local craftsmen, removed later extensions, allowing the large window on the stairs to be returned to its original elegant dimensions.

Inside, Mrs Coade’s snug parlour with its sea views has been recreated and the eighteenth-century floor plan reinstated. The light and airy first floor sitting room, where author John Fowles once sat and worked, has had its modern lining replaced with traditional lath and plaster. Relathing and cleaning the Coade mouldings were laborious but very worthwhile tasks, and we were very grateful to the team of enthusiastic volunteers who helped. The wrought iron Regency verandah, accessed Georgian-fashion through a sash window, is now back in place, with glorious views over the sea.

A Coade-embellished fireplace was carefully restored and is now reinstated in the sitting room from downstairs, where we identified it had been relocated. Detail from the house has also been used to produce other fire surrounds.

Tree works have opened up the views across and from the site and gentle landscaping has corrected ground levels after the removal of the later extensions from the house. The observatory tower, its render painted a different colour from the house to distinguish the site’s phasing, is operational again: local volunteers have returned its rotating roof mechanism to working order and we are doing our best to source a telescope to watch the stars through the roof hatch.

This Landmark for up to eight people, complete with ground floor accessible bedroom and bathroom, is set to become an instant favourite. It has been a long haul since John Fowles first expressed his wish to us that the house might somehow be available to other writers, and Belmont’s opening in September 2015 will be a highlight for us in our 50th anniversary year.

Supporters of Belmont

We are hugely grateful to those who supported the restoration of Belmont, including:

Mr R Broyd, Mr R Eaton, Mr F Heels, Mr G Ruthen and Mrs S Andrew, Mrs A Sandall

Mr and Mrs N Baring, Mr B Foord, Mr D Holberton, Mr K Holmes, Mr C Hutt, Mr and Mrs S Jordan, Mr and Mrs R Lockyer, Mr G MacGregor, Mr S Martin, Mr M Power, Mr and Mrs J Scott, Mr B Sealey CBE, Mrs J Worsfold

Other generous supporters:
Mr F Appelbe, Mr L Benedetto, Mr C Broad, Mr and Mrs J Fitzgerald, Miss D Fowler, Dr R Gurd, Dr K Holowka, Mr T Jardine, Mr A Turner

Mrs J Hanson, Mrs S Preston, Mrs A Stevens

Gifts in memory of:
Mr K Emerson, Mrs E Jurd, Mr A Officer

Charitable Trusts and Statutory Grants:
The H B Allen Charitable Trust, Barfil Charitable Trust, The Cookson Charitable Trust, Stephen Clark 1957 Charitable Trust, A J H du Boulay Trust, Alan Evans Memorial Trust, J Paul Getty Jnr Charitable Trust, The Mercers' Company Charitable Trust, The Monument Trust, The Tanner Trust, Sylvia Waddilove Foundation, Garfield Weston Foundation

We are also grateful to the generous supporters who have chosen to remain anonymous, and numerous other donors who supported the appeal.