Take a look inside this £3m home once owned by author of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

A house in the distant looking out over the sea completely on its own surrounded by fields
One of Britain's most celebrated authors home has gone up for sale for the first time in over 60 years (Image credit: Savills)

The former home of the late novelist, John le Carré has gone on the market in Cornwall for £3 million.

Originating from three former fisherman's cottages, Tregiffian Cottage, was purchased by John le Carré in the late 1960s. Over the years, the author — described as the "most significant novelist of the second half of the twentieth century in Britain" by Ian McEwan — renovated it alongside his wife to create a single-family home in which he lived until his death in 2020.

The stunning coastal house, lying on one of Cornwall's most beautiful stretches of coastline between Lamorna and Porthcurno, was where le Carré wrote his most famous novels such as Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Smiley's People and The Constant Gardener, giving a chance for someone to own a piece of British history.

'One of the most prominent coastal houses in Cornwall'

Situated on the first floor of a detached timber frame outbuilding sits John le Carré's former writing room.

The property includes a number of other chalet-style timber outbuildings. Among these are an indoor swimming pool, and additional space suitable for repurposing.

"Available for sale for the first time in over 60 years, Tregiffian Cottage will be a hugely exciting prospect for someone", comments Chris Clifford, who is marketing the property for Savills.

George Hill, a property agent in Cornwall stated Tregiffian Cottage is: "One of the most prominent coastal houses in Cornwall, with a significant literary history, sitting elevated and proud with panoramic sea views."

Unique library with WWII fighter plane canopy window

The cottage renovation has a number of distinctive features, such as the library, which has custom floor-to-ceiling bookcases and a distinctive window feature at one extremity, adorned with what is presumed to be a segment of the canopy from a Second World War fighter aircraft.

The main house includes 4 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms (3 en suite), including a self-contained guest wing.

Another feature is the conservatory facing the sea, affording 180 degree views of the ocean, which was added by le Carré, and provide a great idea if you are thinking of renovating a house and want a conservatory.

5,000 sq ft grounds with views of the Scilly Isles

John le Carré renovated the property, which was originally three fisherman's cottages, to create a home with spacious 5,000 sq ft gardens.

The grounds and gardens span approximately 3.3 acres and provide views as far as the Scilly Isles.

Nick Cornwell, the fourth son of John le Carré, said: "My earliest memories are of playing in the garden at Tregiffian and adventuring along the coastal path to St Loy or Mousehole. The whole place is alive with butterflies, rabbits, swallows, foxes and occasionally badgers.

"In winter, you bank up a log fire and listen to the wind around the house and feel as if you're in a castle or a lighthouse. The storms are dramatic and beautiful and when they're gone you get that wild horizontal sun. It's a wonderful place to rest, or work, or just be yourself."

Tregiffian Cottage is on the market with Savills Cornwall office for a guide price of £3,000,000.

Joseph Mullane
News Editor

News Editor Joseph has previously written for Today’s Media and Chambers & Partners, focusing on news for conveyancers and industry professionals.  Joseph has just started his own self build project, building his own home on his family’s farm with planning permission for a timber frame, three-bedroom house in a one-acre field. The foundation work has already begun and he hopes to have the home built in the next year. Prior to this he renovated his family's home as well as doing several DIY projects, including installing a shower, building sheds, and livestock fences and shelters for the farm’s animals. Outside of homebuilding, Joseph loves rugby and has written for Rugby World, the world’s largest rugby magazine.