A visitors guide to the seaside coastal resort of Thorpeness located
on the renowned Suffolk Heritage Coast. The village of Thorpeness was
created in the early 1900s, yes I did say created. The old fishing
hamlet of Thorpe was inherited along with the family estate by the
Scottish playwright and barrister Glencairn Stuart Ogilvie in the early
He decided to build a model seaside village of mock-Tudor buildings from
the old fishing hamlet, inspired and based upon the writings of J.M.
Barrie who wrote Peter Pan. So it was that the village of Thorpeness
emerged and the resort became very popular with the middle classes as a
At the centre of the village he placed an artificial
lake 'the Meare', made by flooding open fields in 1910. The Meare with
its islands and surrounds covers some sixty acres and has over forty
acres of water and is around 3ft (one metre) deep. On the Meare you can
hire canoes and dinghies and traverse the shallow waters or feed the
local ducks and swans. During the month of August there is a regatta
held on the Meare, after which a huge firework display is performed.
For Holiday Accommodation in Thorpeness - Self
Catering - Holiday Cottages - Hotels and Bed and Breakfast check
out our Thorpeness Holiday Accommodation Pages.
The village itself is made up of a number different
style houses, amongst them Jacobean and Tudor. Off the main village
street is a strange building known as the 'House in the Clouds'. The
tower was built because the village had no mains water supply, but
Ogilvie did not want an eye sore, so he disguised the water tank as a
house with the water tank on the top floor, a genuine house was
constructed underneath. Ogilvie had used the same idea to disguise
another water tower back at his main home in Sizewell Court, a mile up
the coast. He made that tank look like a dovecote.
It was Mrs Mason who first lived in this five storey house with its
30,000 gallon water tank on top, known as the Gazebo. Mrs Mason a
writer of children's poems started to refer to her home as the 'House in
the Clouds' and the name stuck. Nowadays the house is rented out as a
holiday accommodation and as you can imagine, it proves very popular. As
the village grew a second water tower was needed, this one was disguised
as a Norman tower over an arch with mock Tudor houses around it.
Eventually, over time, all the cottages in Thorpeness fell into private
There is also a nice post mill in the village, built in 1824, which was
originally the corn mill for the nearby village of Aldringham but was
moved to Thorpeness.
Thorpeness has an eighteen hole golf course laid out by James Braid in
1922. The Thorpeness Hotel situated at the edge of Thorpeness Meare, has
a bright and spacious restaurant overlooking the renowned Thorpeness
golf course with marvellous views over the 3rd tee. The Suffolk
locations of Snape and Aldeburgh
are both closeby.
Ogilvies family were well known for killing birds
and in Ipswich Museum there is a large collection of the families birds
Mason is said to have recited a poem to Ogilvie at a
dinner she and he attended "The House in the Clouds" -
"The fairies really own this house - or so the children say - In
fact, they all of them moved in upon the self same day". Ogilvie
loved the poem and immediately changed the name of the water tower house
from Gazebo to House in the Clouds.