‘Enid Blyton for grown ups,’ best summarised my recent stay at Luttrell’s Tower, owned by The Landmark Trust. Except we were Four Go To Luttrell’s Tower (Alex, Tom and Alexandra), plus my Parents, who joined for lunch on Monday. All Rapunzel ambitions were fulfilled on arrival at the late 18th century Gothic style folly, set on the shores of the Solent in Calshot, Southhampton.
Those last days of Summer were spent with salty dips in the sea, racing up the pebbles to happily doze off listening to the lapping waves on blankets and deckchairs. Picnics of scotch eggs and wedges of lemon curd Victoria Sponge were worked off with energetic rounds of badminton and bat and ball. Whilst I caught up on my favourite past time, leafing through the 1970s LT Log books. Occasionally, looking up to watch cruise ships and the Isle of Wight ferry sail past, the most relaxing sport of all. Bathed and dressed for dinner, we drank a magnum of champagne, watching the sun go down from the turret. It was all a reverie, the kind of dream weekend, you never wanted to end.
The architect Thomas Sandby clearly had fun designing this maritime themed Folly. Shell, crab and seaweed motifs dance across cornicing, stone work and bed frames, in celebration of the coastal backdrop. And I too, wanted to record my stay by hand painting Luttrell’s inspired envelopes, my version of a holiday postcard. Not forgetting the mandatory sketched Log Book entry, where competition level amongst artistic Landmarkers is fierce.
Luttrell’s Tower is an extraordinary building with its own unique story to tell. From smuggling rumours originating in the tunnel leading to the beach. To the moment radio inventor Marconi and his family waved the Titanic off as it sailed past his Laboratory, now the sitting room. Above all, Landmarks inspire those who stay in them, to day dream and pen their own stories (some more vividly than others) Something, as adults, we don’t get to indulge in too often. Luttrell’s would have made a splendid Blyton plot.