Save The Three Cups Hotel

The Three Cups Hotel

Campaigning for preservation of the hotel where J.R.R. Tolkien stayed and gained inspiration for his mythology. Jane Austen, G.K. Chesterton, Tennyson and H.W. Longfellow were also guests. The hotel featured in the film, “The French Lieutenant’s Woman”. Please send articles to me, Andrew Townsend, at or add a comment. Thanks to David Moss for all his work. Comments are closed at WDDC for the plans to redevelop the site but you can still write to the papers.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

What do you think should happen? By Andrew Townsend

If the Three Cups Hotel is to be preserved so that its interior can be enjoyed the public and if it is to become part of the lives of the people of Dorset again, then ideas are needed for a new use for the building or new ways to revive its original use. I want to air some views in this posting to promote discussion and hopefully generate ideas.

When I was on holiday in Lyme Regis in August, I was hoping that I could have visited the Three Cups with my family for morning coffee or afternoon tea to enjoy an old fashioned hotel, full of character, charm and a sense of history. Sadly, no one can enjoy the hospitality of this venerable hostelry now.

I would like to see the building back in business as a hotel with a restaurant, bar and public meeting rooms. I know that this would be difficult given the lack of en suite rooms and difficult trading conditions for hotels in Lyme Regis recently but I am optimistic that if its cultural heritage can be exploited then a market could be created for a very special place to stay. I would hope that it would become a place for local people to meet as well, for societies and family occasions. I can’t help thinking of the Three Tuns in Durham as a model for such a hotel.

It has to be recognised that there are other ideas being considered. The owners want to turn it into private flats. A Jurassic Coast Visitor Centre has been suggested, possibly in conjunction with flats. Perhaps a visitor centre could include a café or restaurant and open up most of the ground floor.

Could the National Trust make use of the building? I don’t know. Could the Youth Hostel Association run it to provide accommodation for visitors? If this could help walkers on the coastal path, then that would be in keeping with Tolkien’s love of the Dorset countryside.

Do you have any other proposals? Please post your comments anyway.


Anonymous Jo Saxon said…

I love the idea of it being a Youth Hostel. I have stayed in many in the UK and New Zealand and have always thought about the Three Cups. It would solve the problem for en-suites! The ground floor could be a coffee shops, food, drink, internet cafe, anything to bring the public in. I've been lucky enough to have grown up in Lyme and remember (just!) the Three Cups as a hotel, and how it was used during the French Lieutenants Woman. It has so much history. I would love to see it be saved, and would love to be involved.
Nice article and fantastic society


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