A National Trust property overlooking Studland Bay, which was used as a location for the BBC drama adaptation of Howards End, has been put up for sale for the first time in its history – for a cool £5 million.
Harry Warren House, set in four acres of land with views over to Old Harry, was gifted in 1982 to the National Trust – along with Corfe Castle, much of Studland and other historic Dorset gems as part of the largest ever bequest to the charity.
Harry Warren House sits in four acres of private land above Studland Bay
Hunting lodge hosted King George VI
The former hunting lodge has been leased to the Anderson family since 1926, and has hosted King George VI, Winston Churchill, Field Marshall Montgomery and General Dwight Eisenhower, who used it as a base while watching preparations for the D-Day landings in 1944.
Now the four bedroom home, set in four acres of land with direct access to Studland’s South Beach is on the market with estate agents Fine and Country. It’s being sold as a leasehold property with 63 years on the lease, and is causing huge interest among would-be buyers.
The picturesque property has been used to host wedding receptions in recent years and new tenants may have the option of resuming the business to help offset any mortgage or borrowings if they get their own approval from the National Trust for commercial use on site.
The approach to Harry Warren House down a private road off Watery Lane
First time ever to market for stunning home
Josh Hamilton-Fletcher, of Fine and Country Sandbanks and Isle of Purbeck said:
“The National Trust was gifted Harry Warren House by the Bankes family and the only occupant since that happened is the Anderson family. It is the first time ever to market and is an absolutely stunning house.
“I launched it at the start of May and probably about half the calls I have had into my office since then, have been about Harry Warren House.
“It was built as a hunting lodge in 1886 for the landowner at the time, Walter Bankes and is a beautiful example of Victorian architecture as well as being a truly unique and wonderful home.
“A Queen of Bands style design, inspired by bandstands of the day, uses local Purbeck stone to its best effect, with a stone turret feature creating an enchanting first impression to the remarkably private property.
“Then there are the outstanding panoramic sea views taking in Old Harry rocks, the Needles on the Isle of Wight and the Bournemouth coastline – which are absolutely stunning!”
The property was used as Aunt Juley’s house in the BBC version of Howards End
Stars Matthew MacFadyen and Margaret Schlegel also filmed on Swanage Pier
BBC filmed Howards End on site in 2017
The property was used for scenes of Aunt Juley’s house in the 2017 adaptation of EM Forster’s novel, Howards End for BBC television, starring Hayley Atwell as Margaret Schlegel and Matthew MacFadyen as Henry Wilcox.
The series also filmed some of the most iconic scenes featuring Margaret and Henry on the ornate Victorian Swanage Pier, which tourists still flock to see for themselves.
Harry Warren House has retained several charming original features, including stained glass windows, exposed beams and wooden floors.
An entrance lobby leads to a central hallway and an open-plan living space that includes kitchen, dining and lounge areas with high ceilings and large sash windows with views over the grounds to the sea.
The open lounge has a fireplace, sash windows and views over the private gardens
Four acres of gardens and woods lead down to the beach
Steps leading down to a sandy beach
Upstairs, the main house has a principal bedroom with an ensuite bathroom, with three more double bedrooms and a family bathroom.
A studio annexe with a separate front door, kitchenette and en-suite shower room is connected to the downstairs hall and is currently used as a holiday let.
Outside there are extensive landscaped grounds including large lawns, a conifer garden with many rare species, a small amphitheatre, woodland with a walking trail and steps leading down to a sandy beach.
The property was used to host wedding events for several years until 2022 and, although no bookings were taken for 2023 because of the planned move, a framework is in place to start hosting events again should the new tenants so decide, dependant on National Trust permission.
The main bedroom has an ensuite bathroom and outstanding views
The ensuite bathroom still has its original windows in place
One of England’s most powerful families
Josh Hamilton-Fletcher added:
“Steeped in history and ready for its next chapter, this exceptional property represents a once in a lifetime opportunity. Set in a truly idyllic location and also offering income potential, it’s ideal for anyone looking to enjoy a peaceful coastal lifestyle.”
Much of Studland itself – the village, surrounding countryside and beach – is owned by the National Trust and designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, with three miles of sand and safe bathing leading to Old Harry rocks and the start of the World Heritage Jurassic coast.
The Bankes family lived in Dorset from the 17th century and were considered one of the most powerful families in England, owning the estates of Corfe Castle, Studland and Kingston Lacy.
They came to prominence through Sir John Bankes who was a lawyer and politician, serving as Attorney General and Chief Justice to Charles I during the English Civil War.
The well equipped kitchen has plenty of storage space built in
It would be hard to rival views from the guest bedroom windows
Victorian lodge used for entertaining
The family seat of Corfe Castle was destroyed after a long siege in which his wife Mary Hawtrey – left behind to defend the castle while Sir John went north with the King – became known as Brave Dame Mary.
Despite its eventual seizure and partial destruction by Cromwell’s army, the family fortune was still allowed to pass to their son Ralph, who became a courtier to King Charles II when the monarchy was restored.
Harry Warren House was built in 1886 by Walter Ralph Bankes (1853 to 1904) and the tale is that he used it in his bachelor days for entertaining but that he never returned after his marriage.
The house has been leased by the Anderson family since 1926 when World War I hero General Stuart Anderson rented it from Ralph Bankes.
Wedding receptions were held regularly on the lawns with sea views
Some original stained glass windows bearing the monogram of Walter Banks are still in place
“All hell broke loose as operation got under way”
An official website for the house states:
“First hand accounts tell of King George VI, Montgomery, Eisenhower and Churchill watching the preparations for the D-Day landings from here.
“First a destroyer made a smoke screen along the Bournemouth coast to maintain secrecy and then all hell broke loose as the operation, with planes, landing craft and live ammunition got under way, with the blast blowing out many of the windows of the house.”
The South West Coast Path from Old Harry to Studland forms one boundary to the house
The hunting lodge was built of Purbeck stone in the Queen of Bands style
- Full property details can be found on the website of Fine & Country