The Belle Tout Lighthouse, a beacon of beautiful ‘bijou’

Belle Tout Lighthouse

Who can image a more romantic or charming destination than a restored period light house acting as a bed and break-fast that overlooks the sea and sits as a headpiece on the cliffs of Beachy Head in East Sussex.

Built in 1832 as a fully functioning lighthouse, the Belle Tout has had a varied history and varying functions in each of its incarnations. In 1902 it was decommissioned as a light house, laying down a keystone in the building’s future in hospitality. That is because at that time, the lighthouse became a tea house open to the public, only before exchanging hands numerous times as a private home. The lighthouse endured numerous trials such as bomb damage in the Second World War and time-worn erosion. These ailments have not stopped the building however, merely halting its inevitable restoration that took place in 2009.

It is since then the lighthouse is both a literal beacon, and a figurative beacon, only a beacon that heralds back to time gone by, as a building with all the magnificence of its former glory.

Belle Tout room

It may fitting to call the rooms provided in Lighthouse quaint, in fact there are rooms that are only accessible by ladder. But do not be mistaken in believing the rooms would be shabby, the suites at the Belle Tout may be cosy but are tastefully decorated and shrewdly exploit the space a cylindrical building can offer. This bijou mode of living does not detract from a comfortable stay in the Belle Tout. On the contrary, it only serves to make the lighthouse all the more endearing. What really serves as a unique selling point for the Belle Tout is not its rich history, nor its cosy intimacy, rather it’s absolutely sublime panoramic views. The views of the moody English Channel or the idyllic Seven Sisters can be seen from your room but are best experienced in the lounge or understandably, at the top of the lighthouse. The rooms at Belle Tout are themed, but rather than being gimmicky, only compliment the charm of the building; that is, rooms such as ‘the Captain’s cabin’ and ‘Old England’ indeed supplement the establishment’s endearing atmosphere and sense patriotism, heritage and inherent ‘Englishness’. If for some reason the sound of an experience blessed by breath-taking views and the novelty of staying in a lovingly restored period light house does not appeal to you, you may be seduced by the sheer fact that the Belle Tout performs exceptionally well as a bed and breakfast. The Belle Tout, as mentioned is outstanding in the bedrooms it has on offer but too in the quality of food served in its ‘titular’ meal; breakfast. Here, you’ll find served outstanding versions of both the traditional English breakfast and the more continental warm breakfast options, such as a luscious eggs Florentine and a perfectly executed eggs Benedict. In short, I’m hard pressed to think what the Belle Tout Lighthouse doesn’t do well at all.

Belle Tout night