Stay the night: Belle Tout Lighthouse, Beachy Head, East Sussex

This former lighthouse, with its £1.4m overhaul, left Fiona Sturges feeling on top of the world

On a clear day, the Belle Tout Lighthouse on Beachy Head, one of the most distinctive if not exactly beautiful buildings on the Sussex coastline, can offer a view that you won't find anywhere else – a glorious 360-degree panorama of the English channel, the eastern stretch of the South Downs and the white Seven Sisters cliffs.

On a cloudy day, however, as I can attest, it's much like sitting in a snowdrift, admittedly a warm one with soft leather seating, an endless supply of wine and the faint tinkle of Schubert in the background.

Happily, the new owners of Belle Tout have worked hard to ensure that your experience of their newly-opened B&B doesn't depend entirely on the weather. A little sunshine can, of course, go a long way, but so can a £1.4m overhaul.

The spectacular restoration of this once-imperilled cylinder of limestone and concrete (the lighthouse was raised on to runners 10 years ago and moved 50ft inland to prevent it from falling into the sea) has resulted not only in a proud local landmark but a luxurious space for guests to unwind without squandering the features that make it so unique. Thus there's the newly upholstered lamp room, lit blue at night and with a telescope through which you can spy on passing ships, and the cluster of windows in the second-floor living area that neatly frame small sections of the landscape like postcards pinned to a wall.

There's also the tiny keeper's room, now used for spa treatments, which retains the circular ceiling funnels through which the lighthouse keeper once checked that the lamps were still lit without rising from his bed.

The rooms

Don't expect to be able to swing a cat in them – this is a lighthouse after all. But the combination of white walls, carefully selected furniture and small, stone-clad shower-rooms (only one of the rooms has a bath) ensures that all are bright and airy and never feel cramped. Each room has a theme: the Shiraz room has rich red furnishings; the Beach Hut comes with grey-blue hues; while Old England is decorated with warm woods, fringed lamps and a cast-iron bedstead.

All rooms come with a television, tea- and coffee-making facilities, and Damana toiletries in the bathrooms.

The food and drink

This being a B&B, dinner is not available, though there's no shortage of local restaurants a short drive or taxi ride away, including The Tiger Inn (beachyhead.org.uk/the_tiger_inn _info.html) in East Dean, the upmarket Moonrakers (moonrakers.co.uk) in Alfriston, and The Hungry Monk (hungrymonk.co.uk) in Jevington, where I enjoyed an excellent three-course dinner.

Breakfast at Belle Tout is in the dining room, offering yet more spectacular views of land and the sea, and includes a choice of cereals, bread and croissants or a full-blown fry-up.

The extras

The manager, Paul, has 10 years' experience in holistic therapies, and offers treatments in reflexology, holistic massage and reiki healing. Prices start at £20 per treatment.

The access

Its steep stairwells means Belle Tout is not suitable for those with disabilities and, due to the nearby cliff edge, it does not accept children under 15.

The bill

Rooms start at £155 mid-week and £170 at weekends, though prices rise to £180 mid-week and £190 at weekends in peak season. Minimum stay two nights, though one-night stays may be available at short notice.

The address

Belle Tout Lighthouse, Beachy Head, Eastbourne, East Sussex BN20 OAE (01323 423185; belletoute.co.uk).

Sport
Seth Rollins cashes in his Money in the Bank contract to win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship
WWERollins win the WWE World Heavyweight title in one of the greatest WrestleMania's ever seen
Arts and Entertainment
Louis Theroux: By Reason of Insanity takes him behind the bars again
tvBy Reason of Insanity, TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Cassetteboy's latest video is called Emperor's New Clothes rap
videoThe political parody genius duo strike again with new video
Arts and Entertainment
tvPoldark, TV review
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    SFL Group: Video Project Manager

    £24,000 pa, plus benefits: SFL Group: Looking for a hard-working and self-moti...

    Recruitment Genius: Hotel Reservations Assistant - French Speaking

    £16000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This rapidly expanding travel c...

    Recruitment Genius: Duty Manager - World-Famous London Museum

    £24000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Do you have a strong record of ...

    Recruitment Genius: Personal Assistant

    £24000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: You will have demonstrable unde...

    Day In a Page

    No postcode? No vote

    Floating voters

    How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
    Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

    By Reason of Insanity

    Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
    Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

    Power dressing is back

    But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
    Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

    Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

    Caves were re-opened to the public
    'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

    Vince Cable interview

    'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
    Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

    Promises, promises

    But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
    The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

    The death of a Gaza fisherman

    He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
    Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

    Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

    Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
    Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

    The only direction Zayn could go

    We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
    Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

    Spells like teen spirit

    A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
    Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

    If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

    British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
    Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

    Licence to offend in the land of the free

    Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
    From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

    From farm to fork in Cornwall

    One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
    Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

    Robert Parker interview

    The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
    Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

    Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

    We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor