Coleton Fishacre – The House

Coleton Fishacre - The House


The National Trust owns several properties in South Devon and they all have something to commend them, but I think my favourite has to be Coleton Fishacre.

It’s a bit out of the way, but that’s one of the attractions of this estate that includes a magnificent garden that sweeps down to the sea and a house that evokes the bygone jazz age of the 1920s.

The man behind the creation of Coleton Fishacre was Rupert D’Oyly Carte, whose father, Richard, was the producer of Gilbert & Sullivan’s comic operas.
Rupert, who incidentally was also the inspiration for P.G Wodehouses’s Rupert Psmith, inherited the family business including the Savoy Hotel and Claridge’s in London.

It was on a sailing trip between Brixham and Dartmouth with his wife Dorothy, that he saw the potential of the valley above Pudcombe Cove for building a home on the coast.
It’s not difficult to see why they chose this spot, and in 1923 he set about building Coleton Fishacre which took three years to finish.

The Library
The Saloon

After completion, Dorothy lived here permanently, while her husband came down every weekend after spending the week in London running the business.
He had already started to change the design of his London theatre and hotels to a more Art Deco style, and he introduced the same style at Coleton.

Although most of the original furnishings were sold years ago, a visit to the house still has that 1920s feel to it. The Saloon and Library are my particular favourite rooms.

In 1936 the couple separated, and the house was passed on to their daughter, Bridget, although she never lived here.
She sold it in 1949 to Roland Smith, the owner of the Palace Hotel in Torquay, and in 1982 it was offered to the National Trust who opened it to the public in 1999.

One thing that I really like about the house at Coleton Fishacre is that it feels like a home – and surrounded as it is by a fantastic garden, it just has that nostalgic feel to it that you just don’t get everywhere. I love it.

HMV Record of Trial By Jury in the Saloon
HMV Record of Trial By Jury in the Saloon
The House from the Upper Pond
The House from the Upper Pond
Please follow and like us:

2 thoughts on “Coleton Fishacre – The House

  1. Jean Stabb

    I volunteer as a room guide at this property.

    The house passed to Bridget when her father died in 1948. She sold it to Roland Smith and his wife in 1949. When they died the National Trust bought it. It was not given to them. At first they just opened the garden and leased out the house. For one summer tenants ran it as a bed and breakfast.

    1. Easymalc Post author

      Thank you for your comment. I’m always pleased to get feedback to my blogs, and I’m more than happy for somebody to correct me if I’ve been factually incorrect. The way I’ve read your comment is that I said that the National Trust was given the property, but I knew that it wasn’t, which is why I said it was offered to them, meaning that they had the option to buy it.

      Even though I’m only an ordinary amateur blogger I do try to get my facts right, which is why I cross-reference my sources a great deal. In fact If I remember correctly, much of the information I got was from the National Trust guidebook. It was also a deliberately short blog so that people could get a taste of what the property has to offer. If it encourages them to come along then I think I’ve done my bit, and then good people like yourself can give visitors all the in-depth details that they want.


Please feel free to leave a comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.