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Select from our Offices

Waterside House
72a High Street
Isle of Wight
PO31 7RE

01983 200880

Charles Spence
Charles Spence
Spence Willard team
Emma Bradley
Tanya Hill
Tanya Hill
Zadie Margham
Philip Weeks
Gaynor Owen

Sherbourne Street
Isle of Wight
PO35 5SB

01983 873000

Spence Willard team
Sam Branston
Hannah Cook
Hannah Cook
Lauren Taylor
Charlotte Branston
Charlotte Branston

The Square
Isle of Wight
PO41 0NP

01983 761005

Spence Willard Yarmouth
Spence Willard team
Duncan Willard
Lesley Samson
Lesley Samson

The Old Bank
Tennyson Road
Isle of Wight
PO40 9AB

01983 756575

Jason Siviter
Jason Siviter
David Langford
David Langford
Cynthia Robertson
James Phillips

The Square
Isle of Wight
PO41 0NP

01983 761005 opt 2

Spence Willard office
Laura Homes
Alice MacNab
Alice MacNab
Henrietta MacLean
Henrietta MacLean
James Phillips

40 St James' Place

020 7839 0888

Spence Willard London office
Bob Bickersteth
Bob Bickersteth


A coastal residence featuring 154 meters of unobstructed panoramic views across The Solent with a West and North facing position, peering directly into spectacular summer sunsets across the water, is extremely rare. It is even more unique to find a coastal residence on the Isle of Wight with both breath-taking panoramic views to Hampshire and Dorset as well as sumptuous and beautifully designed interiors to a very high standard within a substantial period home and grounds – Holmes House features both.
Holmes House overlooks one of the most vibrant and interesting stretches of sea in the country. Holmes House peers out over to English Heritage’s Hurst Castle and its active lighthouse, across the bay to Fort Albert. Hurst Castle and its lighthouse are just ¾ of a mile away at the narrowest point across the Solent, and the New Forest Coastline is approximately three miles to the north. The house is set, proudly, overlooking the often turquoise sandy and partly rocky, clear waters of the spectacular and picturesque Colwell Bay, an area of outstanding natural beauty (AONB), with direct access to the beach. Holmes House on Colwell Bay, and indeed the West Wight, is a dream come true for sailing, windsurfing/kite surfing, water skiing, paddleboarding, kayaking, fishing, equestrian, cycling, walking and dog-walking enthusiasts.
Holmes House is a very private and secluded compound, made for the highlife and experiential living. Holmes House is just as appealing on beautiful summer days as it is on dark, rainy weather days with exquisite sea colours changing with the weather and every room having a warm and cozy vantage point to observe and/or be snug by a roaring fire.

Holmes House
Upon entering the large and imposing front gates to Holmes House, you will enter another world and find this deceptively substantial (575 sqm / 6190 sq ft) Victorian home exclusively perched on gently sloping cliffs above Colwell Bay with level grounds featuring majestic Holmes Oak trees, well-manicured lawns and landscaped gardens.

Holmes House was fully refurbished in 2022 to a very high standard, and is a spectacular, luxuriously appointed home, and can be enjoyed in full – immediately upon completion – by the new owners as a ‘turnkey’ residential property.
Holmes House is an extremely quiet and peaceful compound, exuding delightful charm and good karma in equal measure.

Holmes House has huge character, with every room extremely different from the other, and many unique features including a wide number of quiet, private reading spaces, studies, and snugs.

All of the rooms are very bright and airy with spectacular light. The few without a view of the sea have a view of the beautiful pool, patio and side lawn, or of the back kitchen garden.

Holmes House is the perfect property for entertaining guests in good weather and bad, with its 5 large public entertainment rooms.

Upon entering the FOYER of Holmes House, one passes through into the three principal entertainment rooms facing The Solent, all of which offer large proportions with high ceilings and are replete with original wood herringbone parquet floors and large windows, to take full advantage of the panoramic view of the sea and South Coast and the unique setting to the west, north, and east. The FOYER leads to the DRAWING ROOM which is the middle one of THREE FRONT ROOMS for entertaining, facing The Solent. The DRAWING ROOM has an open fireplace and one end of the room features the large main ‘CONVERSATION STAIRCASE’ which is extra wide accommodating large ball gowns from the Victorian period. The Drawing Room leads through to an enormous and imposing, elegant FORMAL LIVING ROOM/DINING ROOM (formerly a small ballroom for the naval officer who built Holmes House), also with an open fireplace (comfortably seating 36 guests for dinner parties or 50 for dinner/dances) and panoramic views directly overlooking the Solent’s sunsets. On the other side of the Drawing Room there is the BAR ROOM encompassing truly spectacular sea views, perfect from which to watch the boating activity, such as the Round the Island Race sailing directly past the front of Holmes House, and world class sunsets. The BAR ROOM takes the form of a casual and cozy family room with a full BAR at one end and at the other end, opens into an enclosed veranda – which was a later addition to the original construction on the seaward elevation of the house – with large built-in window seats for reading and relaxing beside a wood-burning fireplace overlooking The Solent.

The LIBRARY – the only darker room in the house – is an extraordinarily cosy formal room for more intimate gatherings and for relaxing with a book and a whisky in front of an electric fire.
The eat-in KITCHEN is a large, informal country farmhouse-style room and is fitted with a refurbished 4-oven Aga and travertine country stone tile flooring. The kitchen has an adjoining large PANTRY with abundant storage, additional catering ovens and hobs for large scale entertaining (accommodating for professional chef caterers and the space required for their prep) and an ample walk-in LARDER, and a large rear UTILITY/BOOT ROOM. The Kitchen continues into Conservatory.

The CONSERVATORY/MORNING ROOM, the fifth of the public entertaining rooms, is very large at 53sqm and beautifully appointed with a marble breakfast bar. It has floor-to-ceiling windows and stunning cut crystal chandeliers and up-lighting, bringing the outside garden into the house. It has been the setting for numerous formal breakfasts, luncheons and private concerts for as many as 50 guests. The Conservatory, also featuring travertine stone floors with underfloor heating, is South-East-facing and leads out into a sun-drenched POTTED KITCHEN GARDEN with various fruit trees, vegetables and flowering shrubs, and is virtually fully-enclosed. A bright and cheerful room, perfect for winter warmth and indoor living when the English weather is not co-operating.

The Ground Floor has a rear MEDIA/PLAYROOM, which is also suitable as a king-size disabled bedroom with adjoining WC.

There are TWO MARBLE CLOAKROOMS with UNDERFLOOR HEATING on the Ground Floor permitting guests to be self-contained on the Ground Floor at all times, maintaining privacy and security throughout the rest of Holmes House when entertaining.

The extra wide MAIN STAIRCASE is a character feature from the bygone days of naval wives’ ballgowns, leading to the FIRST FLOOR. The main staircase has played host to several brides in bridal gown with train, making a grand entrance to their weddings held at Holmes House. There is a spacious LANDING at the top of the main staircase on the FIRST FLOOR with its own reading area, which leads off to the main bedrooms.

The FIRST FLOOR is comprised of 6 BEDROOMS (ALL ENSUITE), two with working OPEN FIREPLACES and one with an electric fire. There is also a NURSERY across from the Master Bedroom. The principal bedrooms deliver some of the very finest unobstructed sea views the Island has to offer. Each main bedroom has ample room for King- or Emperor-size beds and some rooms are large enough for further seating areas within and have BUILT IN WARDROBES. The ENSUITES have large, new, modern fixtures and feature MARBLE-tiled walls and floors, with UNDERFLOOR HEATING There is one ensuite with a more traditional bathtub and original wood floor. The NURSERY overlooks the Conservatory and features a hand wash basin as well as having its own MARBLE Wet Room adjacent with underfloor heating.

There is an historic ‘servants’ PRIVATE REAR ENTRANCE AND STAIRCASE, which is accessed externally, adjacent to the KITCHEN, leading to a REAR HALLWAY on the First Floor and onward up to the SECOND FLOOR. There is a LIVING ROOM with views across to Tennyson Down away in the distance, and a FURTHER TWO BEDROOMS, each with hand wash basins, situated on each side of the Living Room. Both of the Second Floor Bedrooms are very large, featuring King- or Emperor-size beds, one with a built-in wardrobe. There is a large MARBLE WET ROOM with SKYLIGHTS, which is ENSUITE to one of the bedrooms, with dual-access for the Living Room and second bedroom. The top floor has been used for live-in staff quarters or additional guest rooms and is an independent apartment-style unit of its own. Additionally, there is extensive STORAGE in the large ATTIC and under the myriad of EAVES.

Holmes House accommodates, with ease and comfort, multiple guests and their families at the same time, making this the ultimate private entertainment home for the complete blend of country life and coastal life.

Holmes House History
Constructed in 1898, Holmes House is steeped in history, having been built for a notable Naval Officer, and offers extensive accommodation over three floors. The house was built by W H Paul of Totland for the Heytesbury Estate in the West Wight. It was a private home, then a hotel, and in between, was commandeered to become an officer’s barracks in World War II, strategically overlooking the anti-U-boat chains across the Solent’s narrowest point between Hurst Castle and Fort Albert.
In the late 1990s, Holmes House was converted back from a hotel to a private residence, and has hosted numerous society weddings, films/adverts, private lawn parties and concerts.

The Grounds
Holmes House offers an unusual combination of a substantial beachside residence cum voluptuous entertaining facilities, with high quality facilities for the equine or small holding enthusiast. A previous owner (a classic car enthusiast) stored their cars in the garages and outbuildings, and stored sailing dinghies and windsurfing/kitesurfing boards in the longer outbuildings, and they stored their larger boats, horsebox and horse trailer in the back paddock to the rear of the property on the hard-core standing.

A feature of the main FRONT LAWN is a cleverly engineered CANTILEVERED ENTERTAINMENT DECK that extends 50% over the cliff and trees below which has to be the ultimate place for sunset supping, garnering 180 degree views across Colwell Bay (an AONB), Hurst Castle & Lighthouse, Fort Albert and along the South Coast from Lymington to Bournemouth. The exceptionally wide (154m) clifftop frontage has entirely unobstructed views across Colwell Bay and the Solent, and faces directly at the setting sun in the summertime. The boundary of the property includes much of the cliff/mature woodlands that leads down towards the water’s edge, up to the seawall at the beach side.

All the well-manicured lawns feature up-lighting and picket fencing. The SIDE LAWN, was once a grass tennis court on the western side of the house, and is the perfect setting for informal croquet and boules, and it has been the site of many a lawn party, with spectacular views of the sea.

In a secluded, sun-trapped back corner of the side lawn, there is a Roman-end HEATED SWIMMING POOL with steps at one end and diving board at the other, with a large cabana and a spacious patio and landscaped garden surrounding it, with a stunning sea view – perfect pool-side drinks parties and BBQs. It is highly unusual for a swimming pool to have commanding views across The Solent.

Extensive outbuildings include a small, well-equipped GYM with sea views, a POOL CABANA, a TWO-CAR GARAGE, a TWO-TRACTOR SHED which has at times been used as a TIMBER WORKSHOP, a TOOL SHED, a BICYCLE SHED, a POTTING SHED, and a WOOD SHED.
Power and water are supplied to most of the outbuildings and paddocks.

Equine Facilities
There are PADDOCKS on the south and eastern side of the house, with post and rail fencing. There is BOX STABLING for 6 horses, TACK ROOM, washer, dryer, and canteen facilities for the grooms, and associated STORAGE ROOMS. An all-weather, self-draining, 40m x 20m MENAGE, suitable for dressage training with built-in dressage mirrors, sits between the paddocks, where there are facilities for show-jumping and cross country/eventing practice in the paddock to the rear of the property. Suitable post and rail fencing divides the paddocks, and they are all largely self-draining. The paddocks are laid to permanent pasture and offer a wonderful setting with fine views. It is an equine facility’s dream to be able to ride the horses down to the beach and exercise them in the sea, and the all-weather path to the beach is positioned near to the front gate to Holmes House. There is an elaborate web of nearby bridal paths leading to Golden Hill, Afton and the River Yar, Tennyson Trail, Freshwater Bay and the Downs toward the Needles in one direction and toward Compton Bay in the other.

The extensive grounds give rise to the opportunity for a mooring, tennis court, seafront beach hut, boathouse, and greenhouses – subject to planning permission.


By car: Holmes House is accessible via a private road, Sea View Road, which ends at the front gates to Holmes House, with no public access beyond onto the property (Google Maps is incorrect on this point). The road is sufficiently large to accommodate a minimum of 7.5 tonne lorries and horse boxes

By helicopter: There is further access via helicopter directly into the side paddock or the back field grazing pasture.

By dinghy/launch/rib: There is a slipway at Colwell Bay, with access to Holmes House’s property at the foot of the cliff, to leave dinghies/launches/ribs on the property. Several brides have arrived or departed from Holmes House, strolling down the beach path to their yacht, after their private wedding, and literally sailed away into the sunset at Colwell Bay.

By foot: There is an all-weather public path from Sea View Road, outside the front gates of Holmes House, down to Colwell Bay, the Colwell Bay promenade and the Colwell Bay sandy beaches and restaurants.

It is a 5 minute walk down the all-weather beach path outside Holmes House front gates to The Hut beachside restaurant & bar and just metres from the stunning COLWELL BAY that is situated directly below the property with ice cream shop, pub, and breakfast restaurant.

It is a further 10 minute walk along the scenic, wide, Colwell Bay promenade to TOTLAND BAY and its restaurants and pier.
YARMOUTH is a 5 minute drive from Holmes House. WightLink operates the Yarmouth to Lymington Pier car and foot passenger ferry service with easy regular daily access to the mainland, with directly connecting rail service from Lymington Pier to London Waterloo and Southampton International Airport.

Yarmouth is an ancient village, with the first written records dating back to 991AD, but there is evidence of both Roman and earlier activity in the area. Yarmouth appeared in the Domesday Book a century later. Yarmouth Castle (1547, an English Heritage site) was one of the last of Henry VIII’s thirty defensive fortresses co-ordinating England’s national defences, and in the day, featured a moat surrounding the Castle, within the village walls.

Steeped in history, Yarmouth has become a very affluent sea-side destination frequented by yachtsmen, walkers, and outdoor sports enthusiasts, and plays host to a variety of restaurants, pubs, independent shops, a sailing club, a yacht club, a 5-star luxury hotel.

Yarmouth is in a Conservation Area with highly restricted development, surrounded on 3 sides by water, wetlands and various National Trust and English Heritage sites.

Yarmouth Pier is the only completely wooden pier in England.

YARMOUTH HARBOUR has extensive marina facilities and has doubled both the number of available berths and its parking facilities, in the past 5 years.

Mains water and sewage, drainage, gas, and electricity serve the property.
Tenure: Freehold
Council Tax Band: F
EPC Rating: D
Postcode: PO40 9SB

Fixtures, Fittings & Contents
All of the fixtures, fittings and contents of Holmes House, including fitted carpets/rugs, curtains, catering equipment, and chandeliers/light fittings, are specifically excluded from the freehold sale but all or some may be available by separate negotiation, ensuring the Freehold is “turnkey” to allow immediate full use of Holmes House for the summer season.

Strictly by appointment with the selling agents: Spence Willard

Important Notice 1. Particulars: These particulars are not an offer or contract, nor part of one. You should not rely on statements by Spence Willard in the particulars or by word of mouth or in writing (“information”) as being factually accurate about the property, its condition or its value. Neither Spence Willard nor any joint agent has any authority to make any representations about the property, and accordingly any information given is entirely without responsibility on the part of the agents, seller(s) or lessor(s). 2. Photos etc: The photographs show only certain parts of the property as they appeared at the time they were taken. Areas, measurements and distances given are approximate only. 3. Regulations etc: Any reference to alterations to, or use of, any part of the property does not mean that any necessary planning, building regulations or other consent has been obtained. A buyer or lessee must find out by inspection or in other ways that these matters have been properly dealt with and that all information is correct. 4. VAT: The VAT position relating to the property may change without notice.