Restoration House is a city mansion in historic Rochester dating back to the C15th with a dramatic façade from the early C17th. Its seared red brick, towering gables, vertiginous chimneystacks, ancient windows, high brick walls and enclosed courtyard have long fascinated visitors and architectural historians alike. Famously it inspired Dickens to situate Miss Havisham here and helped make Great Expectations his most read novel.
Restoration House derives its name from the stay of Charles II on the eve of his return to the throne and the eve of his 30th birthday. Painted schemes from that visit have been lovingly recovered, creating 'interiors of rare poetry and historical resonance' -Country Life.
The mansion commands to the rear an acre of gardens with high walls and hedges and many formal features including a magnificent box parterre and yew topiary. A beautiful Portland stone pond is straddled by a wall of interlaced Gothic arches set within calm green keeper lawns. Attractive brick and York stone paths provide circulation between the various garden rooms and the C19th greenhouse and glass tiled potting shed. The dedicated Cutting Garden provides for sumptuous flower arrangements in the house.
A spectacular addition to the original acre is the rebuilding of the Tudor wall and associated Italian water garden, the noble proportions revealed by extensive archaeology, now incorporating many water features and statues, and a handsome gazebo.
"There is no finer pre Civil War town house in England than this" Simon Jenkins - England's 1000 Best Houses.
"To be here is to be in England" The World of Interiors
"Deserves a medal" Jools Holland
Opening Times: 31st May-28th Sept, Thursday and Fridays, 10 -5. Also Sat 2nd June 12-5.
Admission Rates: House and Garden: Adult £8.50, Concessions £7.50. (includes 40 page guide book).
Children under 16 and Students under 25, half price.
Garden Only: £4.50. Guided tours pre booked by arrangement, during open days only £11 per head
Group Rates: Pre-booked tours of House with garden admission and 40 page guide book, £11 per head, no concessions.
Facilities: Tea shop serving homemade cakes and sandwiches etc. Cream teas and light lunches for pre-booked groups. Contact Emma Dengate at Wisdom Hospice (01634 831163)
Disabled Access: Disabled access to parts of garden and tea shop
Coach/Car Parking: No parking for coaches or cars at the house.
Length of Visit: 2 hours
Booking Contact: Robert Tucker
Telephone: 01634 848520
Location: 17-19 Crow Lane, just off High St, 5 minute walk from Rochester station, services from Victoria, Charing Cross and Hi speed from St Pancras (35min).