Thorpeness was developed as a Suffolk coastal resort by G.S. Ogilvie in 1909. The mere was created in 1913 although the boathouse, complete with clocktower, had been completed in 1911.
One of the more unusual buildings is the House in the Clouds designed by F. Forbes Glennie and constructed in 1923-24. The watertower is disguised as a cottage.
The village has associations with J.M. Barrie (Peter Pan, 1904) who was a friend of the Ogilvies.