Friday, October 20, 2006

Beacon House

A dear friend has asked me to pass on information relating to the completely gorgeous Beacon House in Whitstable which she says is available to hire at the moment. I have stayed here several times and always found it to be a special place of calm beauty, whether for company away-days, shoots, retreats, or holiday breaks. In fact, it was here that I stayed for a week to heal up in 2002, and I have still-sweet memories of stretching my bruised body in the morning sun, wandering barefoot on the warm decking, drinking in the art on the walls, the jewel colours of a local craftsman's mosaics discovered under my feet, the flowers and birdsong everywhere; the wood behind, the sound of the sea twenty feet before me. Walking outside Beacon House, (which looks like it has been transplanted from New England, with its huge wooden veranda, arts and crafts tongue in groove work and decking) you will find the faded pastels of the lines of beach huts on the shingled shore, and you can tramp down the coast road listening to wheeling sea gulls circling in the huge wildness of the sky. On your return to Beacon House, you can devour tea and scones by an open fire , or on a fine day, feast in the garden on the local oysters barbequed til their shells pop open. Cooking oysters this way is special: the taste of the sea, smoked. The balance of fire and water. Elemental pleasures. I remember salt on my lips from hot chips eaten on the beach by starlight, a shivering morning dip in the sea, sunsets that Turner could have captured. I read this poem out loud to myself once, on the verandah, as the moon rose, saying it under my breath as the sea boomed and shushed, as the night fell, as the last walkers returned home to their fires.

The sea is calm to-night.The tide is full, the moon lies fair
Upon the straits; -on the French coast the light
Gleams and is gone; the cliffs of England stand,
Glimmering and vast, out in the tranquil bay.
Come to the window, sweet is the night air!
Only, from the long line of spray
Where the sea meets the moon-blanch'd land,

Listen! you hear the grating roar
Of pebbles which the waves draw back, and fling,
At their return, up the high strand,
Begin, and cease, and then again begin,
With tremulous cadence slow, and bring
The eternal note of sadness in...

If you can, go. Or if you know someone who you think would like it, please pass it on.

And if you are a painter, or photographer, or you want to shoot a fashion story, I recommend it, especially during the winter: the light is something else.


Blogger Gamba said...

My husband proposed to me at Whitstable. It is a magical place.

October 20, 2006 1:22 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had the amazing experience of being married in this magical house. The sun was high in the sky as my guests enjoyed a barbeque whilst flying kites on the beach. My new husband and I sat in the bench overlooking the sea and drinking champagne, watching our friends and family have the most wonderful time.
It was absolutely perfect and I would not want to change a thing.

July 11, 2008 2:59 pm  
Blogger Gemma Mortlock said...

My Fiance took me here in February to stay in the Hotel Continental next door. We spent the evening sitting just in front of Beacon House with a bottle of Champagne and then to my complete surprise that evening after the sun had set and we were in our beautiful hotel room, he proposed! I love Whitstable, i could move there tomorrow xx

June 23, 2009 3:18 pm  
Blogger Rachel said...

What a lovely story Gemma - congratulations!

June 23, 2009 3:56 pm  
Blogger Rachel said...

And congratulations everyone else who had romantic moments at beacon House!

June 23, 2009 3:56 pm  
Blogger Shelley Weeks said...

Hi Rachel,

You have made me fall in love with this place even more!! Recently got engaged and am planning the big day already - but realised I don't want a big day - just a beautiful day and Beacon House looks just the place. Not sure if the budget will stretch though!! May have to settle with my own back garden!


September 12, 2009 5:59 pm  

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