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Village History

Corton Coastal Holiday Village History

Set on a cliff overlooking the sparkling North Sea, Corton is a coastal holiday village in the grand manner, whose quintessential Englishness is reflected in local interest which embraces porcelain, politics, friendly paternalism and a pot or two of a table favourite. For it was here at Corton at the end of the 19th Century that Jeremiah Colman, patriarch of the mustard family, built a house called The Clyffe and turned an already-beautiful estate into the loveliest gardens on the east coast.

After its sale to a business syndicate in 1917, the property was bought by W J Brown MP in 1924 on behalf of the Civil Service Holiday Association, with the express intention of providing public servants and colleagues in similar professions with something they’d long sought: nothing less than the ideal holiday.

In 1946, Warners acquired the Corton estate and began developing a fine, modern coastal village that would appeal to everybody. Yet while seasons, styles and swimsuit patterns may change, the basic leisure aspiration to enjoy pure relaxation in a peaceful setting that’s nonetheless close enough for comfort to a host of visitor attractions does not. Which is why you’ll find Corton has so much for you; not least the fine nearby resort town of Lowestoft, with its air festival and its noble tradition of porcelain china; the National Trust’s Jacobean treasure Blickling Hall, with its pretty parkland and sunken garden; the mighty Anglo-Saxon city of Norwich, with its towering cathedral and six-days-a-week Norman marketplace; and the string of refined towns and villages Southwold, Walberswick, Dunwich and Aldeburgh strung like exquisite pearls along the Suffolk coast.

And of course, a drive not too much farther south takes you to Constable country, where our greatest landscape painter drew inspiration for such masterpieces as Dedham Vale and The Hay Wain. But no need to ask what’s the most arresting part of a break at Corton: the pleasures realised in 1924 by an imaginative Member of Parliament: Simplicity, value for money, good food and comfortable accommodation. Add the big skies and the small wonders of the Suffolk coast, and you’ve got the ideal holiday.

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"I like the fact that I can just go for a wander and think, ‘Oh, I fancy trying that. Like the guitar playing this morning, or archery, or rifle shooting. Things that you wouldn’t go and do if you were at home."

Mick Osborne Corton