This Aberdeen Granite lighthouse, halfway between Beachy Head and the Seven Sisters, has it all. Being only a few feet from the edge of Britain, no one is going to take away its views - though the position of its replacement, Beachy Head Lighthouse at the foot of the cliffs, is a warning about its perilous long term outlook. So visit now just in case!
With the name BELLE TOUT you expect and get beauty with a french twist - quirky, sophisticated and romantic in an à la mode sort of way. There are windows of all shapes and sizes, placed so that wherever you are in the building, one of the lighthouse's vertiginous views is waiting to wow you - sea and sky to the south, rolling downland to the north. Staying at Belle Tout gives you a chance to live life on the edge, literally, with a vertical drop of 300ft to the foaming seas below.
A dozen years ago BELLE TOUT was so close to the brink that the previous owners faced an expensive choice - allow the lighthouse to join its 1902 replacement at the foot of the chalk cliffs or spend a small fortune having the building winched 50ft and 50 years back in space and time. Fortunately for today's visitors, funding was found and an ingenious engineering solution even allowed an extra storey to be slipped in underneath. The stone tower's brick and flint cellars now reveal themselves above ground in a rather saucy french fashion! The result is a delightfully eccentric looking building, with the three added on floors behind the tower representing the evolution of building techniques since the building was thoroughly shelled by the Canadians whilst getting their eye in for D Day. The Ministry of Defence returned the ruin to the owner at the end of the war with a gallic shrug rather than an apology, but that's government for you!
Various owners have poured money into the building since then, including the BBC who used her as the centre piece in their adaptation of Fay Wheldon's "Life and Loves of a She Devil". The latest refurbishment has brought BELLE TOUT lighthouse fully into the 21st Century with six great bedrooms - the most original being the "Keeper's Loft" in the granite tower with its cosy double bunk bed accessible by the original keeper's ladder. At the top of the spiral staircase are the panoramic views from the LANTERN ROOM which is available for all guests to use and is the perfect place to enjoy a truly spectacular sundowner.
With Beachy Head only a mile away, a stay at Belle Tout could give you the final tick in your list of things to do before you die - but only if you have a macabre sense of humour!
|Private parking without charge||Yes||Credit cards accepted||Yes||Specialise in Vegetarian Food||No|
|Dinner by arrangement||No||Open Christmas and New Year||No||Entirely non-smoking house||Yes|
|Pets accepted||No||Restaurant||No||Within 1/2 mile of public transport or will collect||No|