The Fascinating Story of Thorpeness

Published: Friday 10th Jul 2015

Thorpeness was created by the Scottish playwright Glencairn Stuart Ogilvie during the Edwardian period. Ogilvie decided to create Thorpeness as a private place to stay for his friends and family to holiday during the summer. Works on creating Thorpeness began in 1910 and the beautiful Tudor and Jacobean style homes we see today began to take form alongside the golf course and country club. Thorpeness remained largely in the ownership of the Ogilvie family until 1972 when most of it was sold.

Thorpeness is approximately a mile north of Aldeburgh. As well as its unique features it is also a great place for walking, cycling and birdwatching with the location being surrounded by heathland, marshland and the shingle beach. 

The main attractions for visitors include the magical Meare. The Meare is a large shallow boating lake which is inspired by Peter Pan, whose author J.M Barrie was an Ogilvie family friend. The Meare was officially opened in 1913 and pictures of the opening feature boats which are still used today. Every summer just over one hundred rowing boats can be hired for exploring the surrounding area. Thorpeness also hosts its annual ‘Regatta’ where visitors can celebrate with live music, an all-day barbecue, fireworks and lit boats floating on the Meare.

There is also another famous landmark in Thorpeness – “The House in The Clouds” which is a wooden house on a high, five storey plinth, formerly a water tower built with the intention of providing adequate storage capacity for a basic water supply for the village. Years later it was converted into a house for Mrs Malcolm Mason, an author of children’s books and a close friend of Ogilvie's.

Today Thorpeness is very popular with holidaymakers as well as local people with many homes being in the same families for generations. The Dolphin Inn in Thorpeness offers great food and local ales and there is also a tearoom on the Meare. The village store stocks plenty of local produce such as Olga’s homemade jams and there is also a thriving deli counter with fresh croissants and pastries baked each morning.

We have a fantastic selection of Thorpeness holiday cottages that can be booked at any time of the year. Located on many of the most desirable streets such as The Haven, The Whinlands, Admiral’s Walk and The Sanctuary, our Thorpeness cottages offer plenty of diversity for all types of holidays whether it’s for a family gathering or just a break away from everyday life. To view our Thorpeness cottages please click here. 

Thorpeness is a unique village with a fascinating history that has been charming visitors for generations and we’re confident this will continue for many years to come.