Phase two of a ten-year master plan which aims to secure the future and conserve the heritage of one of Tunbridge Wells’ oldest listed buildings, Salomons Estate has been completed as four new holiday lets open to the public.
In the bid to promote local tourism, the newly refurbished cottages will generate the funds necessary to restore the grounds’ main building, Salomons House which has been an important historical site for over 190 years.
Set amongst 36 acres of picturesque grounds, the ‘Garden Cottages’ are self-catered and are available for staycations and business trips as well as short and long-term lets.
Each is named after a species of plant that once grew in the gardens when David Salomons occupied the grounds in the 19th century, nodding to the estate’s rich history.
Peony, Lavender, and Rose cottage all sleep up to two guests and cost from £219 per night whilst Honeysuckle Cottage, the largest of the four, sleeps up to four guests and is priced from £369 per night.
Great for couples or small families, all four cottages are dog-friendly and include a fully equipped shaker-style kitchen, a stylish lounge/dining area with a flat-screen TV, a double bedroom and an ensuite bathroom.
Whilst modern comforts provide everything for a relaxed stay, the restorations have retained the simple, traditional character of the buildings’ past.
Interiors are open plan and boast contemporary, rustic charm whilst the exposed timber structures and existing brickwork have been preserved.
Underused for their original purpose for many years, the cottages were previously used as storage by Salomons Estate’s maintenance team and in efforts to conserve their heritage, plans to turn them into holiday accommodation as part of the estate’s master plan were approved in July 2022 to designs by architect Gaby Higgs.
Specialising in the restoration and conversion of Georgian houses, including sensitive retrofitting for environmental performance and long-term sustainability, Gaby explained that the cottages have been ‘renovated for comfortable visitor accommodation and upgraded for thermal efficiency.’
‘All original fabric and features have been restored and the utilitarian character of these humble working buildings retained,’ she continued.
The cottages can be found behind a grand wall that once enclosed an extensive glass house where David Salomons’ gardening staff would use the now holiday lets as potting sheds to nurture seedlings and re-pot plants.
‘Most of us are aware of the fascinating buildings there are at Salomons: the house itself, the science theatre, and the splendid stable block. But few will remember the extensive glasshouses and nurseries that were built in the late 1880s’ Salomon’s museum curator Chris Jones said.
‘The restoration of the Garden Cottages as holiday accommodation is a great reminder of the days when peaches, nectarines and melons were grown here’ he continued.
The project took almost six months to complete and was delivered by construction company Dark Projects who worked closely with the estate’s team and Gaby.
Director Martin Wood said,
‘Whilst we’ve restored and converted the commercial units, we’ve sympathetically honoured the design and layout of the original Victorian buildings’
‘The cottages harmonise with the existing outbuildings, and compliment David Salomons’ original vision for the grounds.’
As well as the cottages’ amenities, guests can use the purpose-built utility room complete with a washing machine and tumble dryer located at the end of the holiday lets, making them a great option for those looking for longer-term stays.
Operations Director Nick Moore said this is a trend the hospitality industry sees evolving.
‘Apart-hotels are the future of hospitality. People are staying in one place longer – perhaps to work first and then relax on holiday.’
‘The Garden Cottages appeal to a variety of groups for this reason; both leisure and business travellers – they give people the flexibility to cherry-pick between the benefits of both hotels and self-catering accommodation.’
Guests staying at the Garden Cottages can choose between short- or long-term stays with the additional benefit of 24-hour access to the main buildings’ reception desk, housekeeping and an onsite restaurant and bar.
Completed at the start of November, bookings have already been made up until Christmas when the estate is offering a special discount for the holidays.
On December 25, guests can enjoy a two-night stay plus Christmas dinner in the restaurant for £595 for two people.
And in the new year, guests can receive a further 15% off when staying in the Garden Cottages Sunday – Thursday throughout January and February.
Bookings can be made by calling 01892 515 152 or by emailing email@example.com