Inside the quaint Knoll House hotel where Enid Blyton stayed

Inside the quaint English seaside hotel where Enid Blyton found inspiration for her Famous Five series of novels

  • Blyton was such a fan of historic Knoll House Hotel in Dorset that she would visit three or four times a year
  • The historic venue passed to new owners last year and efforts have been made to retain its traditional charm 
  • Rates start from £70 for a single room and amenities include swimming pools, tennis courts and a golf course

Complete with homely interiors and sweeping seaside views, this is the quaint hotel which is said to have inspired Enid Blyton’s classic Famous Five children’s novels.

Picturesque Knoll House Hotel in Studland, Dorset, passed to new owners last year and efforts have been made to retain its traditional charm, with rooms featuring Roberts radios and vintage-style furniture adorning the place.

Blyton, also famed for writing the Secret Seven and Noddy books, was such a fan of the historic guesthouse, that she would visit three or four times a year, often for weeks at a time. Nowadays rates start from £70 for a single room and £175 for a three bedroom suite.  

Complete with homely interiors and sweeping seaside views, this is the quaint hotel which is said to have inspired Enid Blyton’s classic Famous Five children’s novels

Picturesque Knoll House Hotel in Studland, Dorset, passed to new owners last year and efforts have been made to retain its traditional charm, with rooms featuring Roberts radios and vintage-style furniture adorning the place. Blyton was such a fan of the place that she would visit three or four times a year, often for weeks at a time


The first of Blyton’s Famous Five books, Five On A Treasure Island, published in 1942 (left) and the author – who wrote more than 600 books for children – photographed in her later years (right)

It was while at the remote establishment, on the tip of the Isle of Purbeck that she would write stories influenced by her own exploits in the countryside that would later go on to become Famous Five novels

On site amenities include a spa complete with a sauna and steam room. 

There is also an indoor and heated outdoor swimming pool, a children’s paddling pool and hot tub which is touted as the ‘perfect place to relax at sunset’.

For the sporty types, there are two tennis courts and a nine-acre, par-three, pitch-and-putt golf course with stunning views over the Studland Bay beaches and Old Harry Rocks. And to keep energy levels up, there is a restaurant serving up Anglo-French delights along with traditional cream teas.


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It was while Blyton was staying at the remote establishment, on the tip of the Isle of Purbeck, that she would write stories influenced by her own exploits in the countryside that would later go on to become Famous Five novels.

Whispering Island in 1962’s Five Have A Mystery To Solve is said to have been modelled on Brownsea Island in Poole Harbour which the hotel overlooks. 

A note in the front of the book by the author reads: ‘Yes, the island is real, and lies in the great harbour, still full of whispering trees’. 

Blyton owned a farm in nearby Sturminster Newton and her second husband Kenneth Waters owned the Isle of Purbeck Golf Club from 1950 to 1965. During their visits to Knoll House Hotel, an icon of the halcyon days of the British seaside holiday, they would always stay in the same room overlooking the sea and sit at the same table in the restaurant

Over the years Knoll House Hotel has played host to a long list of greats from the worlds of film, TV, politics and the military. Sir Winston Churchill took tea at the hotel in July 1940 when he visited Studland to inspect sea defences, and Allied spy Nancy Wake was a regular visitor

Knoll House Hotel started life as a summer residence for the aristocratic Bankes family in the early 1900s before being turned into a six-bedroom hotel by Chris and Poppy Smith in 1931. It shut during the war and was used by troops preparing for the D-Day landings

Kenneth and Pauline Ferguson bought it in 1959 and it has remained in their family ever since. The hotel, situated in four acres of gardens and woodland, has been built up into an 84-bedroom property

The first of her Famous Five books, Five On A Treasure Island, published in 1942, features a ruined castle that is based on Corfe Castle just a few miles from the hotel.

The portly local policeman at Studland at the time, PC Christopher Rone, is said to be the inspiration for Blyton’s PC Plod character in Noddy.

And a balding hotel guest went on to become the character Bill Smugs in her Adventure Series of eight novels.

Blyton owned a farm in nearby Sturminster Newton and her second husband Kenneth Waters owned the Isle of Purbeck Golf Club from 1950 to 1965.

During their visits to Knoll House Hotel, an icon of the halcyon days of the British seaside holiday, they would always stay in the same room overlooking the sea and sit at the same table in the restaurant.

Over the years Knoll House Hotel has played host to a long list of greats from the worlds of film, TV, politics and the military.

Sir Winston Churchill took tea at the hotel in July 1940 when he visited Studland to inspect sea defences, and Allied spy Nancy Wake was a regular visitor. 

The property boasts a spa, heated outdoor pool, children’s playground, tennis courts, a nine-hole pitch and putt golf course and direct access to Knoll Beach


The first of Blyton’s Famous Five books, Five On A Treasure Island, published in 1942, features a ruined castle that is based on Corfe Castle just a few miles from the hotel

Knoll House was placed on the market with Savills estate agents in 2015 for £15 million after owners Michael and Christopher Ferguson decided to sell up

In summer 2017, the hotel passed hands to new owners and management. Respectful of the history and heritage of Knoll House, the new owners plan to carry on improving the hotel, while retaining its traditional charm

Hollywood screen siren Vivien Leigh, author Roald Dahl, actors Michael Gambon and Brian Blessed and entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson can be counted among its many guests.

Knoll House Hotel started life as a summer residence for the aristocratic Bankes family in the early 1900s before being turned into a six-bedroom hotel by Chris and Poppy Smith in 1931.

It shut during the war and was used by troops preparing for the D-Day landings.

Kenneth and Pauline Ferguson bought it in 1959 and it has remained in their family ever since.

The hotel, situated in four acres of gardens and woodland, has been built up into an 84-bedroom property boasting a spa, heated outdoor pool, children’s playground, tennis courts, a nine-hole pitch and putt golf course and direct access to Knoll Beach.

It was placed on the market with Savills estate agents in 2015 for £15 million after owners Michael and Christopher Ferguson decided to sell up.

In summer 2017, the hotel passed hands to new owners and management. Respectful of the history and heritage of Knoll House, the new owners plan to carry on improving the hotel, while retaining its traditional charm.   

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