Repurposed History: 5 Converted Follies in the UK

Converted follies of the UK (Image: John Fielding; stay at one of the UK’s converted follies)

We’ve explored a number of Britain’s most eccentric follies before on Urban Ghosts. From the grand to the outright bizarre, these monuments to times past, historic events, and sometimes just good old fashioned ego, often had no real purpose other than as purely decorative features on great estates. But thanks to the Landmark Trust, a charity that breathes new life into historic buildings at risk in a series of brilliant adaptive reuse projects, some of Britain’s most unusual buildings have not only been saved, but also made available as holiday accommodation. With that in mind, here are five cosy rentals that prove just how wonderfully useful follies can be.

Converted Follies: Freston Tower, Suffolk

Stay at Freston Tower, a converted 16th century Tudor folly in Suffolk (Image: tomline43)

Nestled over the banks of the River Orwell is Freston Tower, an impressive six-storey Tudor folly built around 1578. Each floor boasts one beautifully appointed room and the top of the 16th century tower commands stunning views over the surrounding Suffolk countryside. (Read more.)

Clavell Tower, Dorset

The renovated Clavell Tower in Dorset (Image: Phil Champion)

Overlooking Kimmeridge Bay in the beautiful county of Dorset, Clavell Tower captured the imaginations of writers like Thomas Hardy and PD James before eventually falling into disrepair (see here). Not only was the 1830 folly restored by the Landmark Trust, it was also saved from ever encroaching coastal erosion. Dismantled and re-erected on sounder footings, it’s now a one of Dorset’s most unusual holiday rentals. (Read more.)

Whiteford Temple, Cornwall

Whiteford Temple in Cornwall, repurposed and restored as a holiday home (Image: Des Blenkinsopp)

Built in 1799 in the grounds of a long-demolished Cornish mansion, Whiteford Temple had in more recent times become a shelter for cattle before the Landmark Trust saved the building. Now a luxury retreat looking out toward the Tamar estuary, the once abandoned folly is now in use once again – this time as a luxury retreat for people rather than our bovine friends. (Read more.)

Culloden Tower, North Yorkshire

Culloden Tower, a converted folly at Richmond, North Yorkshire (Image: Paul Brooker)

Built around 1746 to commemorate “Butcher” Cumberland’s victory over Bonnie Prince Charlie at the Battle of Culloden, Culloden Tower arguably has more room than many converted follies, but it’s original purpose was still primarily ornamental. Designed by architect Daniel Garrett and originally called the Cumberland Temple, the former folly had fallen into disrepair by the 1980s. Now faithfully restored by the Landmark Trust, it’s the perfect holiday retreat near Richmond on the edge of the beautiful Yorkshire Dales. (Read more.)

Dunmore Pineapple, Stirlingshire

(Image: giannandrea)

Jack Stevenson labelled the eccentric folly come summerhouse known as the Dunmore Pineapple as “the most bizarre building in Scotland”. The grand 18th century structure in Stirlingshire enjoys more floor space than some of the other converted follies in this article. The pineapple shaped holiday home also offers a private garden at the back for guests. (Read more.)

Read Next: Browse more adaptive reuse projects on Urban Ghosts.


About the author: Tom





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