Gad's Hill Place

Gad's Hill Place, Higham: Address, Phone Number, Gad's Hill Place Reviews: 4/5

Gad's Hill Place
4
Historic Sites • Points of Interest & Landmarks • Architectural Buildings
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4.0
9 reviews
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Mary M
London, United Kingdom27 contributions
Group visit to Gads Hill Place
Jun 2019 • Friends
Very informative and interesting visit. Great guides who had lots of knowledge and put it over in an accessible way. Lovely cream tea at the end with home made scones which were admired by the group
Written June 16, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Pablo S
Gravesend, UK282 contributions
Informative tour
Aug 2018 • Friends
Visited Gads hill place School, the house were Charles Dickens lived and died ,on Saturday. We arrived early and we were met by a volunteer guide who gave out maps of the grounds to explore before the tour began. An intersecting tour, well informed guide and an unforgettable experience to see where Dickens wrote his books and lived. I think that when the school moves out to its new buildings (not sure how many years that will be) and the whole house is made into a Dickensian museum,
the tour will be a lot better, as we were restricted to the ground floor and grounds.
We was disappointed by the cream tea as we were led to believe it was very good and very filling. We were given a plate of scones, jam, butter and clotted cream and tea or coffee, but we came for the experience, not the food.
Would recommend, booking is via the website.
Written August 13, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

David H
Tonbridge, UK19 contributions
A treat for Dickens lovers and others
Aug 2017 • Couples
We visited Gads Hill yesterday and so enjoyed the experience. We were met by two excellent, enthusiastic volunteer guides (both senior members of the Dickens Society) dressed in period costume. These guides displayed exceptional detailed knowledge and real enthusiasm for the place and made us visitors feel 'at home'.

The visit gave wonderfully interesting insight into the history of the house itself, Dickens childhood, his own children and the many famous individuals whom he met and often visited and/or stayed at the house. He loved Gads Hill from the age of five and it was the only house he owned. He wrote several of his most well-known books there, died there after 14 years residence, and his own son then became the owner.

Not all the house can been visited at present, only the ground floor rooms and garden, but we cannot recommend a visit to this house strongly enough for both Dickens enthusiasts, and others who just enjoy the history of some of our greatest historical figures.
To finish the 90 minute tour there is a super cream tea in the lovely summer house that Dickens built.
Written August 14, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

marlynn52
Portchester, Fareham United Kingdom315 contributions
If you love Charles Dickens work, you'll appreciate a tour.
Aug 2017 • Couples
Sadly, the Dicken's family and volunteers are hindered by the restrictions placed on viewing this treasure by the present owners, Gad's Hill School. If you know your Dicken's and use this knowledge and your imagination you can picture and understand why Dickens loved this house. We had the extra bonus of taking a cream tea with Dicken's Great, Great Grandaughter Marion. The tour guide and tiny staff team are doing a very good job on a shoe string and I thank them for their hard work and time. I wish them the best in their attempts to gain further access to the property, it could be so much better appreciated and loved by Dicken's fans and family.
Written August 13, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Julie W
London, UK57 contributions
I wanted to tear my hair out ! things you are not allowed to see at Gads Hill Place!
Jul 2017
If you are a Dickens fan you will know about Gads Hill place!if not it is the only house Dickens ever owned and he actually died in.

Dickens would travel widely and rent houses in different places, but gads hill is special,as a child he would walk past it with his father John Dickens who said if he worked hard he could have a house like gads hill.
As a world famous author. he achieved that,and spent many years at the house.

here lies the frustration of Dickens fans !!!! this house has been turned into a posh school. so the back of the house has a modern school attached.

you park in the school car park and walk to the house, here the frustration evens start, in the garden,is a tunnel with steps down to it, it goes under the road and comes back on the the other side,where Dickens has a Swiss chalet to write in , now do you think you can go down it??? of course not, and nothing to do with health and safety,for a change,the school kids use it !!! frustration number 1!.

the Swiss chalet that should be there is situated in a museum in Rochester,can you visit it, guess what !! no! frustration number two !

you are met with a very nice guide who reads everything from a note book, and to be honest has quite a limited knowledge of Dickens life, if it did not happen in the house ,he was not sure,but a very nice man,all the same.

when you get in there are plenty of things you cannot see, the kitchens,the whole upstairs, and the bell leading to the roof , why can't we see these things! it drives me nuts!! you are shown the billiard room that is now a staff room, a dining room,with a copy of the chaise lounge that Dickend died on, the original is in Portsmouth, of course, why would something that belonged there be else where !
the dining room is a school library,and Dickens study, with the books all with joke titles on and a door made out of books, is the deputy headmasters office, has a modern computer and table and chairs.

please explain to me,why these things are not located in the main and very large main school. and this house of national importance,has not been taken over and re furnished with the same decor it would have had during his time.

The original beautiful wood floors are really scratched as they have desks on them,The fireplaces and mirrors are all there, as Dickens loved light in the rooms, but you cannot see it for shelves of books.

The conservatory is original and lovely.and Dickens had it build, but it has trestle tables and stacking chairs, why do we do this in this country , open things of great interest,and then not show you that much ,with no real reason why !

Apparently, the house was not open at all. and after people were travelling miles even from other countries hoping to see the house. they relented a bit! and you can go on certain days, you book through Gravesham council and is eight pounds, you do get a lovely cream tea at the end,

If you have to ego back into Rochester, it's fab, free museum, great independent shops, street cafes, and little stalls selling artisan items at the weekend.
park near the castle,and you are near everything.

I had been looking forward so much to seeing Gads Hill place, but there is so much you cannot see! three rooms ,and trying to talk about things that are not there! his original desk,reading podium,chaise lounge the absent Swiss chalet! it should have been so much better, why can't you see upstairs, why can't you go under the tunnel, why are the house items scattered all over the place,
this house needs to be purchased by a Historical society,or some heritage committee,
and take out all the modern school stuff,and get the Victorian stuff back.

If you are a fan do go., but please do not expect to much, you will not see a lot, and you are not allowed any photography. You will be about a hours or the whole tour, I waited for months to visit, and felt like a deflating balloon, a hour later we were back in the car park,and feeling really fed up of course you could say we had Great Expectations !

Nice staff though , knowledge a bit limited,but lovely scones !
Written August 1, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Airyfairy7654
Oxford, UK243 contributions
Not a destination of its own but great as part of a tour of Chatham dockyard etc
May 2016 • Couples
Gads hill is the only house that Dickens owned and is worth a short visit. The guides vary but we had the one with the ipad which was lack lustre. The house will be restored one day but it is still a working school.English lessons are held in Dickens bedroom! The tour is only £ 9.50 including a lovely cream tea with homemade scones.
Written May 14, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Bob M
Gravesend, UK659 contributions
Excellent in every respect with a fascinating guided tour!
May 2016 • Couples
Saturday afternoon in mid May. Gad's Hill Place just off the Gravesend Road in Higham. Noted as being the final home for the renowned writer Charles Dickens (1856 to 1870), we had booked a guided tour some weeks ago via the Gravesham Council tourist office. £9.50 each, this was to include a cream tea. We arrived in the extensive car park at 1245pm, 15 minutes prior to commencement. Easy to reach, minutes from junction 1 of the M2. Wandering around we eventually found our guide, Jennifer. 2 others joined us, and at just after 1pm, the other 4 who had booked failing to appear, we started the tour outside the front of the house. The tour was very interesting, Jennifer doing a marvellous job. We went from the front to the back garden, then entered the ground floor of the house, to which the tour is confined as we were told the other floors hold nothing of significant interest and of course it is a working school!
Some very interesting stories told and artefacts to be seen. Dickens' study was first class, and the other rooms we saw, such as the drawing room, billiard room, dining room and conservatory were memorable. Jennifer answered all of our questions in appropriate detail. She was well versed in everything to do with the great man!
At about 2.40pm or thereabouts, we finished the tour in the conservatory with a superb cream tea, served by two pleasant women. Jennifer joined us and we continued our historical exchanges. It transpired that both she and I had attended the same school! Small world indeed. We were then left to wander around the gardens armed with a detailed guide, but not before I had purchased 2 books, all profits of course to a great cause.
We left at 3.30pm or thereabouts very contented and that much wiser about Dickens.
The attached photographs provide some flavour of our visit.
Written May 14, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Carol G
Whitstable, UK39 contributions
See where Dickens lived & wrote "Great Expectations" and eventually died !
Apr 2016 • Friends
We booked this visit through Gravesend tourist board and the lady there was very helpful. You park down at the back of the school and need to drive down a narrow road to get to it. Then you walk around past the new school building and around to the front of Gad's Hill Place.Do look out for the passage that leads under the road to the other-side of what was Dickens garden in his day , where he had his chalet ( which is now in Rochester )
Our guide was a mum of a student at the school and also a teacher. All her information was on an i-pad, which she used throughout as this was her first tour of the year. There were only 5 of us so we had a very interesting tour seeing the study where Dickens worked and the downstairs rooms that the family used and the place where he collapsed and eventually died. As the other reviewer says there isn't an enormous amount to see - but we did learn Dickens liked mirrors everywhere and light! He replaced many wooden panels in doors with glass to make the house lighter. sadly a lot of the house is still used by the school , which now has a new building which you pass when you park the car. One room is the teachers common room and another is the school library & the upstairs rooms are used for lessons and aren't open for the visit, which is a shame. But this building does have great potential as the school moves out of it and the rooms can be taken back by the volunteers who we met. One lady guide told us how she found out that Dickens had had a postbox installed outside the house & they found this overgrown with ivy etc., and had it brought back to use after writing to the P.O. There was another man there who was recently on the BBC programme about hidden places in Kent & was filmed at the Church at Cooling nearby.He was also very informative and spoke about the scenes at the start of "Great Expectations" which the church at Cooling is renowned for. Go there on a misty day and you will know what I mean! The cream tea was a lovely final touch , all made by a lovely lady who makes great scones. The visit cost £9.50 & the tour and tea & walk around the grounds, which you do on your own at the end of the tea is with a handout sheet & the whole tour would take about 2 hours or more depending on how long you stay in the garden. The guides hope to do more with the house as the school moves to newer special built premises at the back near the car park. For any Dickens fans or just for somewhere different to go this is well worth the visit, especially as it is run by volunteers and the money raised is going back to developing the house back to what it was. It is true you don't get much for your tour , in way of the house, but you can take photos of the place where Dickens lived and you do get to speak to some people who are passionate about the place. It may be an idea to let the man who was on TV be in Dickens study and somebody else ready in another room telling different anecdotes. There were a lot of guides and it would have been good if they each had a small role & could have used their knowledge and expertise to their advantage , rather that leave one lady to take the whole tour, & then the other guides would have had a role too. It is possible to have rooms with very little in them , if you have information about the room & what it was used for & interesting snippets of what happened there in bygone times - as they do in the "Franklin House" in London. This could be done with a simple tape recording. I'm sure a local dramatic group could read a script and make the rooms come to life if somebody could write a few interesting things about Gad's Hill and the Dickens family.I thoroughly endorse what this group of volunteers are wanting to do with the house and hope more people will visit to help the coffers .Well worth visiting! If you have older children learning about Dickens in school this may be worth a visit with them , but for young children there isn't a lot of interest , but there could be if a little leaflet & guide and a few things to look out for were developed.I would say to do this as a matter or urgency & perhaps do special tours for children & guardians Children could look out for the tombstones of the pets ect or little pictures of some of the characters from some of Dickens well known stories could be posted around the room for children to find. perhaps the children could find 6 of Dickens characters that could be cut out & made of cardboard and positioned around the house.It would be good to be able to visit as a young family of grand parents taking thier grandchildren if there was a task for the children & I'm sure they could had a cream tea at the end
Written April 11, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Michael K B
Sittingbourne, Kent, UK16 contributions
Essential visit for the Dickens enthusiast
Aug 2015 • Friends
I was part of a group visit to this, the last home of Charles Dickens. We had a guided tour of the house, which lasted about 80 minutes, explored the garden, then partook of a cream tea. In truth, the contents of this house are a bit thin, because the building was used as a school for many years. The upper floor is still part of the school. The success of Gad's Hill Place as a tourist attraction is critically dependent on the quality of the guides and their ability to bring the building's history to life. We were in two groups, one guided by a member of the Dickens Fellowship, the other by a lady who, we were told, was the mother of one of the school pupils. She did not have the confidence or, I suspect, the depth of knowledge to really do justice to the place. There needs to be better quality assurance for guides. The garden, which is rather sad, also needs attention, but it is early days for this attraction. Nevertheless, I found the tour very interesting. The cream tea was excellent.
Written August 22, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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