Parade House, Woolacombe

Once the home of Rosalie Chichester, Parade House has been turned into luxury self catering holiday lets, John and Briony who have a deep affinity with Woolacombe and all it has to offer, tell us more about the renovation of Parade House.

Both John and Briony have been visiting Woolacombe for a combined 45 years. Briony has been holidaying in Woolacombe for the past 30 years of her life and introduced John when they met. Now they have a young family, they visit as much as possible. The couple first saw Parade House back in 2013 and fell in love with the history and the possibilities to bring it back to life. Sadly at this time, the works looked to be too costly but thoughts of Parade House never left their mind. In 2015 they found themselves in the position to be able to purchase Parade House and start renovations. They were very aware at this time, that there had been local opposition to the previous developers’ plans for Parade House.

With this in mind, they were very keen to retain as many original Victorian and Georgian features as possible, whilst giving it a contemporary luxurious feel inside. Briony and John were keen to use as many local contractors as possible in the restoration of Parade House. The main building contractor was Pearce based in Barnstaple but all of the other trades involved were also local to Woolacombe and Barnstaple. There were uncomfortable moments when, for example, the old render was stripped off and there was just fresh air where bricks should have been!

Parade House at its height, saw up to 30 local people on site each day. Not all went to plan during the 9 month build. As happens, the many years of fighting the elements on the windswept Esplanade had taken it’s toll on the structure of the building.

The handiwork and skills of the whole team were inspiring to behold. From the team at Pearce to the chap who rebuilt the original cornicing throughout, to the the local artist who painstakingly reconstructed the original terracotta feature panel added in 1890 alongside the main front door. The results speak for themselves and John and Briony are delighted that Parade House continues to stand tall whilst the new contemporary additions merge with the background.

We hope Lady Rosalie Chichester would have approved. It was important for John and Briony to work with the local expertises. They are very keen to start a network of businesses that work together to help increase the services on offer within Woolacombe and the surrounding areas where people help and promote each other. They are also keen for Parade House to attract new visitors to Woolacombe, as it’s wonderful to have repeat visitors but an injection of new visitors, however small, will help Woolacombe grow in the future.

Already, 55% of guests had never visited Woolacombe or Devon before and all leave with fond memories. Parade House is very much something that Briony and John wish to keep in their family and something which they hope to pass onto their young boys in the future.

For more information about Parade House, please visit their website:


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