Restoration House

Restoration House, Rochester: Hours, Address, Restoration House Reviews: 4.5/5

Restoration House
4.5
Thursday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Friday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
About
Ancient mansion house in historic Rochester. Just off the High St., this house is like entering into another world. The rooms have an historic ambience, with early surviving paint schemes and original floors, windows and furnished with fine English furniture and portraits. The gardens are exceptionally well maintained in classic English style, with immaculate lawns, yew hedges, topiary, an astonishing geometric parterre. There is a lush cutting garden which supplies flowers for the arrangements in the house. After 7 years of restoration the so called Tudor garden is emerging as an Italian water garden with statues and fountains, the water sourced from the aquifer and recycled through a gravity feed system. This private gem is open to the public on a restricted basis, on Thursdays and Fridays from the end of May to the end of September. If you're in the area (on an open day), make sure you don't miss out. This is a real treat!
Suggested duration
1-2 hours
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4.5
98 reviews
Excellent
77
Very good
16
Average
4
Poor
1
Terrible
0

Robert Unsworth
2 contributions
Just stunning...inside and out
Aug 2021
I live locally, love Rochester and adore history so a visit to Restoration House was a must. I was completely bowled over by the House, the Gardens, the voluntary custodians and by the owners. Restoration House is open Thursday and Friday from May to September and the admission fee was £9.50.
The House is formed from an amalgamation of buildings and those rooms you can access are stunning. The custodians are keen to engage with you and to tell you the stories of the rooms, the previous owners (including Rod Hull), the work undertaken to present them in close to original condition and the newly acquired contents which decorate them. The custodians are knowledgeable, friendly and clearly love what they are doing.
The Gardens are truly amazing. I must have walked past the boundary walls 100's of times with no clue of what was inside. I won't spoil the surprises that you'll see for yourself when you visit.
A local charity offers a small selection of cakes, sandwiches, hot drinks etc from a window to the garden and there are chairs and tables scattered around the gardens.
I want to pay tribute to the current owners (Messrs Tucker and Wilmot). This is their private residence and 2 days a week they open it up so we can enjoy it. They have spent years, and probably hundreds of thousands of pounds, to restore, refresh, rebuild, furnish and fight legal battles to preserve this gem for the future. Thank you, as without them Restoration House and Gardens could have been lost forever.
Written September 4, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Punch
Kent, UK144 contributions
Surprises around every corner - indoors and out !
Aug 2021
The gardens are magnificent - so many nooks and crannies to explore and surprises round every corner. Chairs dotted about the gardens to enable you to sit and enjoy each new view.

The house is beautiful and the guides are keen to share their enjoyment of it with you. A fascinating house with a rich and surprising history.

Well worth visiting.
Written August 15, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Willie_Bucket
Sidcup, UK453 contributions
Hidden gem
Aug 2021 • Couples
Went with my wife today as stop off on our way back home from Whitstable. The Restoration House had popped up in my fb feed and we thought it would be worth a visit. It certainly was worth visiting. It's only open Thursdays and Fridays from June to September. The house is very quirky to say the least and full of art. There are even Gainsborough and Reynolds paintings. No photos allowed in the house sadly but pics are okay in the garden. The coffees and cakes are lovely and the staff are wonderful.
Written August 13, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

RWalker73
London, UK11 contributions
Absolute gem in Rochester
Jul 2021
We only went to have a look at this house from the outside on the basis of it supposedly being Charles Dickens' inspiration for Miss Havisham's House in 'Great Expectations'. As we approached it started pouring it down with rain, so went inside to get out of the rain more than anything else. We hadn't even realised you could go inside. So glad we did, as it turned out to be the highlight of our day in Rochester.

What a fascinating place. The house is actually occupied by the current owners who open it up to the public twice a week. If you're some kind of history purist then it might not be for you, as the building was in a bad state and empty when taken over. It's been lovingly restored and all the furniture has been bought, although much of it is from the appropriate time period. There's a vast array of paintings from different time periods. King Charles II stayed here after returning from exile in France, and the monarchy was restored (hence the name of the house).

Every room we walked in, the custodians said "Have you seen the garden yet? it's a lovely garden". We spent so long in the house that they were closing up and we had to leave before even heading out to the garden. The custodians incidentally were great, incredibly enthusiastic and all seemed to genuinely love the house and telling people about it. We ended up spending ages in each room chatting to them.

All in all, thoroughly enjoyed it and next time we're in Rochester ...will have to go back ...and next time see the garden.
Written August 9, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

MCabes
Rochester, UK5 contributions
Stunning
Aug 2021 • Solo
We’ve lived in Rochester for 6 years and finally managed to visit this week. The garden is so beautiful and peaceful and lots of benches and chairs dotted throughout so you can sit and take it all in. The house has been beautifully restored and the custodians are extremely friendly and knowledgeable. We spent a lot longer there than we expected. Definitely worth a visit.
Written August 7, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Barry_BAZ224
25 contributions
Vaguely interesting diversion.
Jul 2021
Staffed by friendly but somewhat over-eager guides this is a fairly interesting cross between a museum, minor historic building and unrelated bits & bobs from various antique shops. Still, we did find it an enjoyable hour if a little over-priced.
Written August 5, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Ahmet Ozerek
Rainham, UK35 contributions
DISCOVER DICKENS ROCHESTER TOUR
Nov 2019
The tour, that included a visit to the location of the Restoration House, lasted almost 3 hours and run by Shane Waterman. No fixed charge are enforced. Instead voluntary donations is encouraged with emphasis on encouraging participation and learning. Shane is very knowledgeable about Dickens, his art and the area, taking you through a journey of discovery from Dickens humble beginnings to ascension to world fame and fortune. The tour illustrates how Rochester is littered with locations (Restoration House, Eastgate House, Six Poor Travellers House, Minor Canon Row) and names which Dickens took inspiration from using many of them in his works. Shane not only tells you all about Dickens but also illustrates other events and characters that also played a significant role in the development of the Christmas traditions as we know today. All in all a very informative tour of developing cultural traditions, characters and history in time and place. Well worth a go.
Written November 24, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

15frances
15 contributions
Stunning house and restoration project.
Sep 2019 • Couples
I have been meaning to visit Restoration house for 5 years but as it is only open for a few months and only on Fridays and Saturdays this has not come to pass until this September. We were not disappointed. So much to look at and take in. Another trip is a must I hope sooner than 5 years next time. It is a rare privilege to be allowed into a private house. Thank you for putting up with Jo public. It was a real treat.
Written September 29, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Thank you very much for visiting and taking the time to write this review. We depend on word of mouth. Actually its Thursdays and Fridays we're open from end of May to end of Sept. This was our 20th season and so far the public have been mostly respectful and admiring and sometimes ecstatic!
Written October 1, 2019
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Jan B
Whitstable, UK37 contributions
House and gardens with the WOW factor!
Sep 2019
The house is not open often, but it is worth the wait! The owners have lavished so much time, effort and love on the restoration that it takes your breath away. Every room is full of remarkable treasures and the guides make each one "come alive" with the detail of its history , what it was used for etc. After the wonders of the house, it is hard to believe that the gardens will be as spectacular - but they are! I wish I lived in Rochester so I could visit them often! A sanctuary in the heart of the city, they are really beautiful. As a bonus, there is a tea room serving delicious cakes on behalf of charity.
Written September 16, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
So glad you enjoyed your visit and appreciated to such a high level both the house and garden. After 20 open seasons we are still a 'hidden gem' and visitors feel the same sense of discovery and wonder you communicate. Thank you for taking the time to write this thoughtful review ~we really appreciate it.
Written September 17, 2019
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

TorontoToStart
Toronto, Canada219 contributions
Exceptionally Wonderful
Aug 2019
Not open all that often - but ensure if it is open when you are in Rochester this venue is place very high on your list. It will not disappoint you in any way. It is steeped in history and offers something for all. The gardens are a major delight and an oasis in a city setting. If you are a Dickens fan - the visit will be meaningful. And once you finished your visit. Stop for a therapeutic cup of tea and cake. Do enjoy a visit here.
Written August 24, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Many thanks for this. So glad you found it so enjoyable and worthwhile
Written August 27, 2019
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Frequently Asked Questions about Restoration House

Restoration House is open:
  • Thu - Fri 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
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