Landmark Gems

Our 500 members of staff each help to nurture 200 special buildings. Here colleagues from across the organisation share glimpses of the Landmarks they most love. 

Helen Clewlow

Housekeeper

My daughter and I were lucky enough to stay at No. 1 Hawkers Cottage recently. It was pouring with rain on our journey there, but, when we arrived, we were inspired by the loveliness of the cottage and its surroundings. On entering, we were met with a warm, cosy glow from a small lamp and the tea tray on the kitchen table had a jug of freshly cut flowers from the garden which completed our homely first impression.  

After a good night’s sleep in comfortable beds, we decided to walk to Duckpool with the dogs for a leisurely walk along a picturesque beach. Kilkhampton was a surprisingly short drive away and we spent the afternoon exploring the village and getting supplies for our stay. 

Sunday was spent walking the dogs, relaxing, and reading in the lounge with a roaring log fire. We left feeling thoroughly rested with our batteries recharged, and we can’t wait to return.  

Amy Taylor

Communications Manager

In the summer of 1910 Virginia Woolf visited Lower Porthmeor. She was 28 years old and recovering from recent illness, spending three weeks lodging with the Berryman family to recuperate in the tonic of this isolated farm hamlet. That we too can seek the same granite-farmhouse shelter never fails to take my breath away. 

Woolf spent her time striding out across the moors. I’ve visited in every season, taking sanctuary from storms and sunburn but always walking stretches of the south-west coastline, which here retreats into a cove of both molten granite and dark slate. There are tiny patchwork fields, the drystone wall enclosures marking divisions dating back to the Iron Age. Stretches of gorse are interrupted only by wind-bent trees.

Remote as it feels, Lower Porthmeor is less than two miles from Zennor, which in turn is just five miles from St Ives. The artistic legacy of this land is rich: across the 20th century generations of creatives sought solace from West Penwith, forging new ideas in response – at least in part - to the extraordinary landscape. It’s a real privilege to follow in such footsteps.

Amy Taylor visitor Lower Porthmeor at sunset

Bridget Mellor

Housekeeper

The first Landmark property I stayed in was Cloth Fair about 16 years ago with our teenage daughter. After an eerily quiet walk through The City of London, deserted on a Friday evening, we arrived at the former home of John Betjeman. It was just like stepping into a museum after the glass, steel and high-rise buildings we’d encountered on the way. It was hard to imagine that this street was once the site of a bustling market, where merchants traded their best cloth centuries earlier, and amazing to think that some of these houses survived The Great Fire of London. 

We unpacked and set off to explore the city, we visited a beautiful ancient church which had a candle lit service and then returned to make a light dinner. After a lovely breakfast the next morning, we popped into St Bartholomew the Great, a wonderful Norman church, followed by a trip to Frederick Leighton’s house and The Barbican Centre to enjoy a film in the evening. 

On Monday morning, we woke to the sound of Smithfield Market coming to life with huge lorries offloading the finest Scottish beef, and Welsh lamb. We bought some lovely goodies from the market and set off for the train back north. 

The first of many happy stays!  

Ant Martin

Housekeeper

Having worked for the Landmark Trust as a gardener and housekeeper for over 11 years, I feel very attached to Alton Station and I’m lucky being part of a great team. Jo (regional manager) and Fiona (regional assistant) have given me the right balance of trust and support which has been a pleasure. It’s fun working on the open days! One year whilst at Knowle Hill I was in charge of the garden tour, and full of facts, but I had one visitor who clearly knew more than I did! After learning a lot from John the visitor, I suggested he might apply for a job at Landmark, which he did and as a consequence has been working happily at Knowle Hill for a number of years now. The building is just fantastic, the history is fascinating and is well documented for the guests. I love how John Evetts and the furnishings team furnish the buildings and I always make a bee line towards the pictures on the walls at any of the Landmarks. Alton particularly has some nice historical pictures. The stories are also intriguing as the station master’s daughter mentioned snakes in the garden which puzzled me for a number of years until I recently found a few slow worms!

Brian Millar

Trustee

Let’s settle the most important Landmark question of all: which one would make the best evil wizard’s lair? The answer, of course, is Culloden Tower. I once stood on top of its roof and conjured a thunderstorm that rolled across the hills, lightning playing across Richmond Castle, black curtains of rain engulfing the town. Obviously, I retreated to the safety of the living room long before the storm actually hit the tower; even wizards must observe health and safety rules. The tower really has everything: a top floor bedroom for captive princesses, a spiral staircase for battling attacking knights, good sight lines for repelling armies of the undead, and piping hot towel rails; all musts for the weekend necromancer. I’m excited to see the completion of Fairburn Tower which promises to rival Culloden’s sorcery. Until then, expect more thunderstorms in Richmond.

Fiona Keyte

Engagement Officer

Shute Gatehouse in Devon was the very first Landmark I had the privilege of staying in, and this beautiful old building will be forever etched in my memory.

The feel of the enormous weighty key in my palm, waving at passers-by from the battlements as if we were royalty, laying down on the floor next to the log-burner staring up at the Jacobean plasterwork that adorns the sitting room ceiling, and watching for deer in the park opposite whilst doing the washing up in the tiny kitchen are memories that I’ll carry with me into old age.

Pat Lloyd and Haidee Butler-Rubbino

Housekeepers at 13 Princelet Street

Pat: 'I’ve lived round the corner from Princelet Street for 38 years. Thanks to an excellent history teacher at school, I have a great interest in the past. The house was built in 1719 and in my 17 years as housekeeper I’ve often wondered what tales it would tell if walls could talk ...'

Haidee: 'It has been an ambition of mine to work at Landmark. The experience when you arrive, turn the key in the lock, open the door and discover an incredible building - and then get to actually live in it for a few days - is really special. I get such a thrill from that, I hope our guests do too.'

Housekeepers Pat loyd and Haidee Butler-Rubbino reminiscing on their time looking after Princelet Street in the sitting room

Ed Donohue

Manager of Crownhill Fort

When I arrive at work I go through the entrance tunnel and it feels like I am transported into a different world, one of peace and tranquillity in the heart of the city. Crownhill Fort is so easy to get to yet so far removed; standing on the Parade Ground it is hard to imagine that there is a city of 300,000 people just beyond the walls.

There is always something happening here... as well as a regular flow of Landmarkers arriving for their holidays, there are 15 small businesses based within the former military buildings. Add school visits and public open days to this and there is never an opportunity to become bored.

My favourite room is the North Caponier. It is one of six structures built around the outside of the Fort to keep the defensive ditch clear of enemy troops. It has been restored to its 1890s layout, complete with atmospheric lighting, cast iron stoves, wooden shutters and a working cannon.

Crownhill Fort Manager Ed Donohue sat at the dining table

Kasia Howard

Engagement Manager

Queen Anne’s Summerhouse was my first project for Landmark back in 2008 and it still holds a special place in my imagination.

During the conservation and restoration work we invited local school children to the site. We began each visit with a nature walk through the historic woodland that surrounds the building, then met the craftspeople who were busy working on the project.

It is always a privilege to experience one of our buildings through the eyes of others, and children have a sense of wonder and humour, that cannot fail to enthuse you. They adored exploring this magical place, deep in ferns and foxgloves, surrounded by pine, birch and oak trees.

Kasia Howard demonstrating the brick manufacture at Queen Anne's Summerhouse