Belle Tout Lighthouse is located on Beachy Head, Eastbourne, East Sussex.
T was built in 1832 and has several claims to fame.
First, it was featured in the BBC drama the Life and Loves of a She-Devil. The BBC bought the lighthouse specifically for the production and then sold it again a few years later.
Teetering closer and closer to the edge of Beachy Head Cliffs, in 1999, its owners had it moved 56 feet back from the cliff edge to where it sits today.
The current owners purchased it in 2008 and spent a fortune on its transformation into a quality B&B and the builders agreed to feature in a Belle Tout Builders Boys calendar for charity. Nice!
The transformation was also featured on the Build a New Life in the Country programme on TV.
Our visit was for my 60th birthday celebration as I love lighthouses. We arrived just after the earliest check in time and were able to view all the guest rooms which are left open for viewing when unoccupied. The accommodation is arranged on 3 floors. The two bedrooms on the ground floor are the largest and have lovely views across the South Downs. There are 3 bedrooms on the first floor. One has a beautiful view of the Seven Sisters Cliffs and Birling Gap and also the South Downs. This was our bedroom (Shiraz). The room was small but beautifully furnished with lots of attention to detail and a lovely double aspect. Nice size shower room with a small window with a view. The other two rooms on that floor both have a view towards Beachy Head Lighthouse and one of them also has the double aspect view towards the South Downs.
All the windows are like pictures and the views are something you can never tire of.
On the 3rd floor is the only bedroom in the tower itself. This is very quirky and only for the agile as the bed is reached by a straight up ladder!
On this floor also is the Breakfast Room with a huge window looking out at Beachy Head Lighthouse and other windows looking at the South Downs. There is also a very comfortable sitting room with a view towards the Seven Sisters.
Then finally you can climb the steps to the Lantern Room right at the top of the old Lighthouse. The Light is no longer there but there is seating all around and it is very cosy sitting up there whether during the day or at night. And what can I say about the view! You can even go out and walk around the outside at the top!
Our host, Ian, was wonderful and really made us feel at home. He is very friendly without being obtrusive. The casual question about why we were visiting resulted in a lovely Belle Tout birthday card at breakfast on the relevant morning. A very nice touch. He also had a Happy Hour each afternoon when he poured us a huge glass of wine each with some nibbles and this gave the guests the opportunity to mingle and chat.
Ian is also an Executive Chef and cooks the breakfasts himself. There is a large help yourself buffet with croissants, rolls, cereals, yoghurt and delicious fresh fruit salad. Then there is the choice of Belle Tout Full English Breakfast (hope you're hungry!) or a Special of the Day which for us were Tout Florentine on one day and Woodland Muffin on the other. Both were excellent and I believe that Ian only uses quality ingredients locally sourced.
We loved this place and definitely want to visit again. Now what can we celebrate next year?