The House on Towan Island, Newquay

Mar 27, 2014 1 comments

Just a few meters off the British coast near Newquay in Cornwell, lies the tiny Towan island. Perched at the top of this 80 feet high rocky island is a charming cottage that is accessible via a 100 feet long suspension bridge, the only privately owned suspension bridge in Great Britain. Originally a Victorian tea room, the building was converted into a three-bedroom Edwardian house in the 1930s. Since then it has been home to various lords and aristocratic couples including the son of physicist Sir Oliver Joseph Lodge, inventor of the spark plug. When the last owner Lord Viscount Long sold the property in 2012, it was converted into a holiday home that is being offered for rent. The property is since called "The House in The Sea".


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The island was first sold at an auction in 1838 to the Billing brothers, an enterprising family who acquired land at every opportunity. The Billing brothers were often seen working in their gardens on the Island. Before the 1900, the island had a potato patch and chickens were also kept on the island. Around that time, the island began to hold religious services for children who reached the top via the curving pathways cut in the rock face. The suspension bridge was constructed in 1902, and the house was built in 1910 by a wealthy Irish Canadian.

Lord and Lady Long bought the house as a holiday home in 2001 when it was on the market for 500,000 pounds and loved it so much they stayed. But the couple soon found themselves at odds with Newquay's famous party culture, which sees drunken revelers having late night parties, public sex and people taking drugs on the beach. Resident’s complaints seemed to fall on deaf ears until a letter sent by Lord and Lady Long threatening to sue the council hit the headlines. The story was picked up by the national media and led to a whirlwind of bad publicity for the town. Finally, the place was cleaned up and it was made illegal to start bonfires on the beach, sell alcohol or for excessive numbers to congregate there at night.

In 2012, Lord and Lady Long sold the property to Unique Home Stays for an estimated £1 million and it is now being offered as a holiday house for £5,575 a week.


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Sources: Western Morning News / CNTraveller / Telegraph / Newquay Voice / Daily Mail


  1. Finally, I've found the inspiration for the house in Iain Banks' 'The Wasp Factory'.


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