The seaside village of Thorpeness, a short distance to the north of Aldeburgh, has followed an unusual path to get to where it is now. It started off predictably enough as a fishing village, with the inevitable attendant smuggling activity. However, the village changed forever when the Scottish barrister and railway designer Glencairn Stuart Ogilvie bought a large stretch of coast to the north and south of Thorpeness and set about turning the village into a private holiday retreat for the use of friends’ and colleagues’ families. As well as the holiday homes which were built to accommodate these lucky people, in a range of Jacobean and Tudor styles, the village acquired a golf course and a country club with tennis courts. However, there was a blot on the landscape in the form of a water tower, built in 1923 to receive water pumped from Thorpeness Windmill, but never one to be daunted by such an inconvenience, Ogilvie set about disguising it as a house which, due to its height of 70 feet, can be seen from miles around and has come to be known as the House In The Clouds. The property is now available as a unique holiday rental.
Behind the village, further holiday fun can be had at the Meare, a boating lake with lovely views of the windmill and House In The Clouds. The children’s writer and creator of Peter Pan, J. M. Barrie, was a friend of the Ogilvies, and there is a Peter Pan theme running through the Meare, including on the little islands which feature scenes from the novel where children can play. A regatta and firework display is held on the Meare every August, this year’s event being on 19 August.
Map of the area.