A grand Victorian mansion and though split into four, the listed house – with stone entrance tunnel built for Queen Victoria’s visit – feels lofty and spacious. The big kitchen with its warming Aga is perfect for sociable cooking and eating, the south-facing stone terrace just right for lounging with a book and the garden large enough for playing or escaping. Keep on through a secret gate and in five minutes you’re swimming in Monks Bay.
You’re in a very hidden village, Bonchurch, where you’ll find a romantic hillside pond, a 12th-century church and the Bonchurch Inn which specialises in home-cooked Italian food and fish. The next cove up from Monks Bay is the Victorian seaside town of Ventnor, a 15-minute walk along the beach, for fresh fish from the Ventnor Haven Fishery, lots of shops and another great beach for a day out.
Join the coast path for interesting walks: steep paths, lush vegetation and huge views. Discover Devil’s Chimney, St Catherine’s Lighthouse and Steephill Cove – a wonderful beach only reached on foot. Return to much comfort and a fire in the sitting room or a barbecue in the garden.