An exceptional, contemporary coastal house in immaculately restored historic grounds


Few properties enjoy such a spectacular, yet discreet, location as Haddon Lake House.

Set in seclusion amongst two acres of immaculately restored and designed gardens, Haddon Lake House is an exceptional, contemporary dwelling found in the benign Undercliff microclimate of the Isle of Wight. This striking coastal home marries design-focussed modernity, with its sanctuary landscape of lake, woods and walled garden — once memorably described in print as a “miniature Lost Garden of Heligan in a magical seaside setting”. Impressive cliffs form a sheltered, secret landscape, orientated towards the south, to create sea influenced warmth where ‘subtropical’ planting thrives.

The house, combining a contemporary lifestyle with privacy, offers ample leisure spaces within the gardens for entertaining, and access nearby to a secluded and inspirational natural coastline. Designed to deck out over the impressive lake, the house itself spectacularly unites architecture with the landscape by appearing to float on the water. Both garden and house have been widely featured in national and international media, winning awards both for architecture and landscape.


Haddon Lake House, stylistically a contemporary ‘boathouse’ with Japanese influences, has been acknowledged for its impressive build quality aligned with environmentally conscious credentials. The interior, filled with light and the reflections of the water, employs a cohesive palette of natural materials and glass surfaces. English limestone, wood cladding and decking, slate, soft organic paint colours, and limed oak flooring, are the keynote materials, all producing a uniform aesthetic with mellow textural themes. These natural materials tie the whole structure to its environment, producing a cool, contemporary building that blends seamlessly with its landscape.

Planning and design

The architects, Michael Rainey & Simon Clark, put much effort into giving the house its keynote ‘green’ credentials and environmentally friendly agenda. Together they produced an award-winning building that on the one hand is flooded with light, visually mellow, wedded to its landscape, while at the same time, green, comfortable, and economic to run.

History of the site

Haddon Lake House sits within 2-acre gardens, formerly part of the historic pleasure grounds of Old Park, a significant Victorian marine residence dating from the 1820’s. Early last century a portion of this important ‘Picturesque’ landscape, was separated from its mansion house, eventually overgrown, but still retaining the beguiling grandeur of its rich history.

The restoration of the lake site, together with the building of Haddon Lake House, was undertaken by the current owners in 2004/5. The resulting landscape, rich in variety and the nuances of history, allows the house itself to be shown off to perfection

The Boathouse

The Boathouse is a recently and stylishly converted, detached single-storey barn, adjoining the walled kitchen garden. The Boathouse enjoys a superb elevated location on the site, with views over the landscape from its deck. The accommodation features : • Spacious open-plan living/dining room/kitchen with limed oak floor. The kitchen is fully equipped with all built-in appliances and double sink. • Bedroom 1, with skylight and feature limestone floor, built-in wardrobe, en-suite bathroom with shower attachment. • Bedroom 2, skylight and limestone floor, built-in wardrobe, en-suite shower room


The garden today

The restored garden is one of many atmospheres, design themes and rich contrasts, facilitated by carefully managed transitions, offering a diverse range of experiences that belie the site’s scale. The centrepiece is the early Victorian walled kitchen garden, reconstructed from scratch, complete with period greenhouse, potting shed and quadripartite access paths arranged in a decorative potager design.

Fruits, vegetables and flowers all combine in the restored organic walled garden. This vibrant, abundant planting, embraced within a structure of paths, harks back to the philosophy of ancient gardens in sustaining the body as well as the soul.

Adjoining the walled garden is a quietly contemporary courtyard, an outdoor relaxation and entertaining extension of the house, that acts as a contrast to the robust planting in the potager, and to the profusion of the adjacent, low maintenance ‘subtropical’ borders. These lush borders encompass a diverse array of plants, including tree ferns, gingers, cannas, olives, and agaves that echo the early exotic Victorian garden.

To the west of the house, the gloriously tranquil one-third acre lake is enhanced with a gravity fed Victorian fountain, and unfailingly watered by incoming springs passing through an enchanting species-rich woodland.

Quotation in print by Andrew Wilson, garden author and Chair of Assessors for RHS Chelsea show gardens: ‘Some places are simply special, revealing their unique character as one arrives, drawing the visitor in with a distinctive personality and presence. Haddon Lake House is such a place; one dip into its isolated beauty and you will be forever hooked. It is a magical place in situation and structure that is much more than the sum of its parts.’


Haddon Lake House sits within the Undercliff, a designated AONB, some 650m from the beach at Binnel Bay. The exceptional peace and tranquillity of the setting makes the house both the perfect family home and weekend coastal retreat. The house is situated on a private road that is approached in a westerly direction from the village of St. Lawrence, 4 km to the southwest of Ventnor.

The Island

The Island’s rich landscape is said to be geologically the most varied county in the UK — a microcosm of the South of England. Extensive forests and panoramic downlands, are set against a patchwork of farms and villages — all bounded by 100km of glorious coastline, from the soft sands of the south, to the secret wooded estuaries of the north-east.

Leisure and Sailing

The Island provides unrivalled opportunities for leisure activities, both on land and sea. Known for its path network giving easy access for walking, riding and cycling in idyllic countryside, and for a wide range of aquatic sports in the bays of its coastal waters. The historic town of Cowes, home of the Royal Yacht Squadron, and host of ‘Cowes Week’, is arguably one of the most renowned sailing venues in the world.


Transport links to the Island are good, with car & passenger ferries from the Portsmouth terminal going to Ryde & Fishbourne. London is easily accessed via the A3, and fast trains run from London Waterloo directly to Portsmouth Harbour station, a journey of approx 1 hr 10 mins. Alternative crossings depart from Southampton and Lymington. Local airfields cater for the landing of helicopters - London flight duration approx. 30 mins.

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Ref: WNR200128

Old Park Road, St. Lawrence Ventnor Isle of Wight PO38

Guide Price

Ref: WNR200128

Old Park Road, St. Lawrence Ventnor Isle of Wight PO38

Guide Price