Blythcliffe, one of Akaroa’s earliest large houses, was built in 1857 on a five-acre block for Augustus White, a prominent early Canterbury businessman who represented Akaroa on the Provincial Council. It was probably both designed and built by S.C. Farr. Farr lived in Akaroa from 1850 until 1862, working as a builder and architect. He went on to a distinguished career in Christchurch as an architect. White had moved out by 1864.
After a succession or owners, the house became, in 1904, the home of George Armstrong , the son of a settler of the 1840s. Armstrong, a leading merchant of Akaroa, was prominent in Banks Peninsula life. Blythcliffe was owned by Armstrong descendants until 2004.
The house has a Georgian or Regency look which is unusual in Canterbury. The originally flat roof was replaced by a hipped roof in the 1870s. The verandah is supported by graceful columns rather than simple posts. Still set in extensive grounds, Blythcliffe has been a bed and breakfast in recent years.