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Review of Kentwell Hall

Kentwell Hall
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: Kentwell Hall is a beautiful moated red brick Tudor Manor House in the historic village of Long Melford, Suffolk. Whilst not a stately home, this 'little great house' remains a lived-in and much-loved family home; something it has been for over 500 years. Surrounded by timbered outbuildings, tranquil gardens and a large estate, Kentwell is popular for family days out, weddings, filming and functions and is noted for its special events programme including living history re-creations and the award-winning Scaresville experience.
Reviewed January 29, 2013

We went on the sunday afternoon drove up the drive saw the cows and got to a closed sign and had to turn back the children were so dissapointed I guess it must close off season a shame after the snow we wanted to see green grass and the grounds

4  Thank sallyj63
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Louise T, Estate Office at Kentwell Hall, responded to this reviewResponded January 31, 2013

We are sorry that you were disappointed. Kentwell Hall does not open during the early months of the year. It closes for essential maintenance and repairs and for the family to enjoy some privacy, as Kentwell Hall is a private residence. This information is freely available on our website and in our brochures and if you had telephoned before visiting we would have been able to advise you of this.
We shall open on Sundays from 3rd March and expand our opening times from April.
I am glad that you were able to enjoy our paddocks on our avenue approach and the livestock in the paddocks and you could have also taken the attractive public footpath which follows our perimeter fence around the gardens.
We hope we shall see you later in the year. Please check our website, or give us a call, to check opening times.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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"re enactment"
in 39 reviews
"next year"
in 42 reviews
"the kitchen"
in 29 reviews
"tudor life"
in 17 reviews
"last night"
in 13 reviews
"christmas carol"
in 11 reviews
"walled garden"
in 14 reviews
"magic show"
in 10 reviews
"tudor times"
in 14 reviews
"farm animals"
in 9 reviews
"tudor house"
in 12 reviews
"picnic area"
in 9 reviews
"victorian christmas"
in 6 reviews
"mulled wine"
in 7 reviews
"stable yard"
in 6 reviews
"rare breed"
in 6 reviews
"living history"
in 9 reviews
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Reviewed January 23, 2013

Lovely building, and lots going on outside in the grounds. A little expensive though. Go on a day when they have a themed activity day.

Thank Touringthomas
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 11, 2013

For us, Kentwells' Dickensian Christmas produced some truly magical moments.

It is a very strange place... a grand country house which has seen better times and is now seems to be inhabited by re-enactors who remain totally and utterly in character no matter what is said to them. They will either allow visitors to drift through the building like whispering ghosts or greet them in character as welcome visitors to the house... it is strange, spooky, unique and immensely appealing to anyone with a modicum of imagination or a spark of Christmas spirit.

The receptionist in the gate house was warm and welcoming and very personable. She and her companion were seriously concerned that we had had such a difficult journey up from London and tried so hard to make sure that we knew where everything was on the complementary map so that we could enjoy the day.

It was wet and muddy and so we went first to the house... once we went over the bridge crossing the moat we were a wee bit at a loss... no signs... no doors open... but... just as would have happened in Victorian times, a door opened, the under-butler leaned out and, in full character, wished us welcome to Kentwell and asked if we would like to enter out of the cold. He invited us to leave coats and umbrellas and then suggested that we might wish to spend a few moments warming up in the kitchen where the cook was busy preparing lunch for the family and where there was a good fire on.

The cook and kitchen maids chatted together... again totally in character... they were interrupted by the butler giving the cook final instructions for the family’s lunch and so it went on.. until we were brave enough to speak and then we were acknowledged and welcomed but again all the re-enactors remained in character and treated us if were were were visitors to the house in Victorian times.

Thought the butler’s pantry where oil lamps and candles for that day were being prepared, and then a door open... a maid welcomed us...and invited to see the ‘master’s new toy from London what was called a magic lantern.” It was a real delight half a dozen guests, a magic lantern and a couple of sets of children’s slides for the days of out great, great, great grand parents. We were transported across the generations to a far simpler time before the days of electricity... let alone anything else.

Then we went into the amazing dining room which was set for a festive dinner and then into the hall where members of the family, friends and children were conversing in front of the fire and under an enormous Christmas tree.

One maid complained to us about the new fashion of Christmas trees indoor “just because the Queen had one” and assured us that they would never catch on! We were inveigled into their world... offered bonbons, invited to see the children’s games and entertained with music on what our hosts called “the piano-forte.”

It was so good that we felt like we had slipped through a time-warp... and we were the very privileged and very welcome guests to the house. It was an eerie, slightly disturbing and wonderfully delightful sensation to experience such charmingly polite hospitality from a bygone age.

And then down to the stables to hear “Mr Dickens” give one of his readings. Well, the stable was damp, drank, dark and cold and then... a very unlikely character in a top hat appeared... he sat... gave a withering frown... stared at us and then spoke... “He’s late y’know... always is...” We slowly realised that we were having a face to face with Ebenezer Scrooge... but then... the room hushed, there was an intake of breath as Mr Charles Dickens entered... it was magical.

Soon we were transported back to Christmas Eve 1843. Scrooge dismissed Bob Cratchet for the holiday and with mirrors and gauzes the ghosts of Jacob Marly and those of Christmas Past, Present and Future were made to appear. This was not the Royal Shakespeare Company. They had no special effects but it would not have been out-of place at a traveling fair 150 years ago and it only required the audience to suspend disbelief for it to be a magical experience.

Upstairs... we enjoyed some pretty amateurish old time music hall but their performers, especially the magician, won the audience over and it was great fun. We then had a drink in a would-be tavern... full of re-enactors... cider and beer supplied in pewter tankards... Victorian pub-games and candles on the tables and the most delightful children in Victorian dress and in full character who came and chatted to us. Another magical moment.

Afterwards as dusk was falling, we went back to the house... we were again welcomed in and made our way to the hall and were soon involve with the family and their guests in more delightful parlor games and then, by the light of candles and oil lamps, we all joined in and sang Christmas carols under the tree... this wasn’t entertainment, it wasn’t a voyeuristic experience as much re-enactment can be, it was, for us and other’s that we could see with tears in their eyes, a wonderfully moving experience... we had been transported back 150 year to a true Dickensian Christmas... at that had been needed was to suspend disbelief and have just a little bit of Christmas spirit... The whole thing was a truly remarkable experience.

5  Thank twotravellersLondon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 19, 2012 via mobile

We decided to take our 3 children to this instead of a pantomime this year. What a mistake! We paid the best part of £100 online and our tickets said to arrive between 10-11am. We arrived 3 minutes before 10am and were told that we were too early! Gradually more and more people started to arrive and had to cram into the small entrance/shop whilst we waited for the staff to get organised and let us go through. After what seemed like an age we were allowed to start our self guided tour. As we walked upto the main house, there were no signs to show us how to get in (other than a folded wooden board that hadn't been put up) and all the doors were closed. We eventually found someone and asked how we got in. We wandered into the kitchen which was full of Victorian dressed staff and nobody spoke to us, it was all very strange. As we walked through to another room some of the staff were still getting ready and having their hair done! We walked upstairs, still unsure where we were supposed to be going and walked into a room where a man was getting dressed!! The tour of the house took us about 15 mins. We then went outside and stumbled upon a door where we could make our own decorations. This part was ok but there wasn't enough chairs for people to use whilst making their crafts. We then made our way to find Father Christmas. This took us ages as again there were no signs telling us where to go. After wading through all the mud we found him! He was good with the kids but he gave my 7 year old son a princess jigsaw! As you would expect he was upset by this and confused why he got a girls present! We tried to get a cup of tea from the cafe but there were only 5 benches to sit at so gave up waiting to sit down. We then went to listen to a story of "a Christmas Carol". We were sent into a blacked out barn which absolutely stuck of pigs urine and listened to some guy reading the book.....boring for kids! We decided to leave straight after that.
Basically, it was all very unorganised. If you're going to open at 10am, be ready for 10am! Get more seating, put some sawdust down over all the mud and lower your prices!

8  Thank Kels2642
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed December 17, 2012

the staff who i belive are volanteers were dressed and spoke as they would in the 16th century.we spent some time in the kitchen where bread and soup was being prepared the smell was wonderful very nice inlook to times gone by.

1  Thank Roger B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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