In a bid to save historic buildings from becoming museums "to be peeked at over rope", John and Christian Smith founded their charity, The Landmark Trust, in 1965. The couple sought the restoration of beautiful yet abandoned, historically rich buildings, sensitively turning them into destinations for respite and relaxation. Through 'The Landmark Trust', visitors can enjoy short spells of time spent at magnificent locations, taking a moment away from the chaos and pressure of modern-day life.
At the time of the charity's founding, larger organisations such as the National Trust and the Ministry of Works were choosing not to work with smaller buildings in disrepair. The Smith's saw this as an opportunity to preserve the history of these less presuming spaces and reignite the public's enjoyment of them. To this day, the Landmark Trust has a collection of almost 200 buildings across the UK, the Channel Islands, and Italy.
Their houses are furnished with traditional pieces and are decorated with paintings and engravings that relate to the history of each building. No objects of mass production are to be found; from beds to bookcases, lamps to latches, each room has been carefully curated, championing the properties' unique historic past.
Upon arriving at your chosen Landmark, you will be welcomed by a tray with tea and sugar. Their accommodations are self-catering which allows you full use of the kitchen and open fire. Each Landmark has a History Album, through which you can flick through to discover the story of that building and the process of its restoration. There is also a library of books related to the building or locality to enrich your stay.
I was lucky enough to stay at Shore Cottage in Saddell, Kintyre. It is one of six properties owned and run by the Land Mark Trust in this beautiful bay on the Mull of Kintyre. The location and beach is stunning with views over towards the Isle of Arran. The palette of bracken and gorse is so specific to this area and has strong nostalgic memories of my childhood holidays in the west coast of Scotland. The bay is made even more special by the presence of an Antony Gormley figure on the rocks, who appears and disappears with the ebbe and flow of the tides. A special spot to spend some time away from all the pressures and noise of modern day life and just take in the beauty of the landscape and nature.