Sleeps: 8 ( in 5 bedrooms )
Price from: £500 for 3 nights (based on 8 sharing)
Last October hubby and I attended a wedding in Royal Tunbridge Wells in Kent, along with some of our close friends and their baby. So rather than book into a hotel, our little group of 7 decided it would be much nicer (and cheaper!) to make this into a cottage holiday break. As soon as I came across Belleville Cottage I knew it would be the perfect home away from home for out little weekend in Kent. Now as you know my preferred holiday cottages are old, rustic, rural and isolated. However we wanted to be quite central for this particular trip so while Bellville isn't isolated as such, it certainly is very old, and the countryside surrounding Royal Tunbridge Wells is very picturesque and beautiful, and quite deserving of it's well-known nickname 'The Garden of England.'
A brief history of Belleville
The house has been loved and admired by many for decades, and it is a landmark property in the heart of the renowned spa town of Royal Tunbridge Wells. While the exact origins of the house are not documented, it is believed that the property was first build in the 1720s. William Makepeace Thackeray stayed here as a young man, and later made reference to it in his book Vanity Fair. The house is full to the brim with character, both inside and out. It's exterior is very unusual as it is built into the sandstone rocks of the town, and is located right on the centre of the common in Royal Tunbridge Wells, which attracts attention and intrigue to all those that pass it.
What is it like inside?
Belleville welcomes up to 8 guests. Spread over 3 floors, inside it is both comfortable and homely, yet it is still very quirky with a historical feel, with rich furnishings and fabrics, tapestries, wooden panelled rooms, and wooden floors. The house has 4 bathrooms, 3 of which are ensuite and there is air conditioning in some bedrooms. The upper floor is the old butlers quarters which houses a bathroom and a bedroom with a heavily eaved roof - Hubby and I slept here, and while we found it cute and cosy I don't think it wouldn't be suitable for tall people, unless of course they didn't mind banging their head on the ceiling :-) Downstairs there is even a stone staircase leading to a (spooky) cellar! 2 doggies are welcome here, as are children and babies. I did worry that it might not be suitable for little people with all the lovely antiques dotted around but it was perfectly fine.
Tunbridge Wells and the surrounding area
The house is in a great location. It enjoys fantastic views and is only moments from the town centre. It is also in walking distance of some lovely countryside walks, making this an ideal cottage for families / groups / couples wanting a weekend break for walking, shopping and culture in an historic town, with or without the use of a car. The Royal Victoria Centre and countless bars and restaurants are all within 5 minutes walk from the house, and the Michelin Stared restaurant Thackeray's is just opposite the house! Unfortunately we didn't visit this time, but next time we shall. The Pantiles is a short ten minute walk away – and it is an utterly beautiful, historic part of Royal Tunbridge Wells, which hosts summer nights of live jazz and weekend farmers markets.
To book your cottage break at Bellville or to find out more informations pop along to their website below ...
Thanks to Belleville cottage and photographers John Pickup and Daniel Massie for their contributions.