The Mount - Living the dream east of Ipswich at lovely Southwold

The Mount, Southwold

The Mount, Southwold - Credit: Archant

Property writer David Vincent takes a trip to the seaside - but not by Eastern Counties Bus

The Mount, Southwold

The Mount, Southwold - Credit: Archant

Is there anywhere better to live by the sea, than Southwold?

It is a special place, and addictive, drawing people to return again and again for holidays.

Some people also get the chance to live here.

When my nanna brought me up here on the Eastern Counties bus 50 years ago, the journey took so long it seemed like we had gone to the edge of the world.

I remember the beach, and having sprats on a Sunday morning for breakfast.

Even today Southwold is almost an island - once you turn off the A12 you are heading for somewhere unique.

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Andy and Marilyn Macdonald found their dream home at The Mount, a landmark building facing the sea and with views towards the pier in the north and the lighthouse to the south.

The former guest house and B & B famously featured in Michael Palin’s film - East of Ipswich - about his boyhood holidays in Southwold.

Marilyn said: “This is where he stayed when he came here on holday.”

Marilyn is a Scot but her husband Andy, like Michael Palin, fondly remembered his boyhood holidays here.

“She said: He always came here on holiday, and he bought this house 18 years ago.

“The first time he bought me to the house, it was a Tuesday in February, it needed a lot of work and there were no street lights then. I thought it was the end of the world.

“At first we came up at weekends - but you fall in love with Southwold - it is just magic.”

The couple embarked on a major refurbishment of the property, restoring and replacing features, adding modern bathrooms and a sauna.

It has been to the highest standard. “It is our home,” she explained, “and it is a beautiful house.

Where original features had been lost they found ways to replace them, such as feature wood panelling, radiators and fireplaces.

The rooms are flooded with light from big windows, with character but also a contemporary feel and bright white floorboards in places.

Only one room doesn’t have a sea view in the whole house.

She said: “In our bed room we have raised our bed out to look out at the sea,

“I absolutely love looking out at the sea, even from our office.”

The couple were pioneers of home working, having worked in London, when they set up here. Marilyn is an investment banker, with international clients, and Andy has his own consultancy business.

Marilyn said: “There a little group of us here. The first generation to move and work from home-offices. it was a risk but it has been hugely successful for us.

“Clients abroad don’t know if I am in London or here and I can answer emails from Brazil or New York any time of the day or night.

“It has been a dream lifestyle.”

Daughters Freddie, now working in London, and Lily, at school in Norwich, had enjoyed idyllic childhoods here, she added.

“Lily is a real water baby and in the City of Norwich club swimming team now. She learned to walk on the beach and swim in the sea here.

“Some summers, I haven’t left Southwold for the whole six weeks of the school holiday.”

The family gathered on the beach, when Lily was Christened in the sea, by local vicar Simon Pitcher wearing his dog collar and Union Jack shorts - and carrying her out into the waves.

“It was the Jubilee. It was the first time for years it had been done in the sea,” she added.

There is a body board standing in the original vine-draped conservatory - and it is not just for decoration.

They both run, and swim in the sea and use the body board.

“And we can return home for a shower and a sauna afterwards,” she added.

“We have had a wonderful time here. It is a great house for parties and we have had barbecues on the beach.

“We have had this house for nearly 20 years and it is now time to move on. But we have had wonderfull time here. We have had that experience.

Outside Andrew had managed to grow roses and hydrangeas, despite the difficult easterly wind.

The Mount is ona corner position on North Parade with a south-facing walled garden and just a few steps from the beach.

Inside the impressive restoration includes marble, stone, slate and herringbone oak flooring, decorative plasterwork, a handmade kitchen with an Aga and Fired Earth tiling, fireplaces and there is wiring for a Sonos entertainment system.

There is a ground floor reception hall with original staircase, two reception rooms, the kitchen/breakfast room, utility, larder and conservatory on the ground floor.

The vine produces grapes every year.

There are two more reception rooms, on the first floor, currently used as offices, and an en suite bedroom on the first floor.

On the second floor there are three more bedrooms, a dressing room, the sauna and a bathroom.

The Mount, Southwold

£2 million

Flick & Son 01502 722253