This handsome four-bedroom Victorian townhouse in Kent is found on the outskirts of the Sandwich Conservation Area. The elegantly proportioned early 20th-century architecture of the terrace sits proudly amongst the intimately scaled, medieval townscape that Sandwich is known for. Voluminous living spaces unfold behind a façade of intricately laid red, brown and yellow bricks. A garden extends from the rear of the house, its undulating boundary walls draped in wisteria and vines. The local station is only a few minutes away, from which direct services run to London St Pancras station in an hour and a half.
Setting the Scene
A busy medieval town, Sandwich was originally one of the Cinque Ports, along with Hastings, New Romney, Hythe and Dover. The town’s development slowed following the siltation of the Wantsum Channel, resulting in a streetscape that has little changed since the Middle Ages. For more information, please see the History section.
The Grand Tour
At the top of a short flight of steps, the front door of this house is topped with a transom light and sits within a round headed recess in the patchwork of honey and terracotta-toned brickwork. The door opens to reveal a wide hallway with original pine boards running underfoot; above, high ceilings are adorned with decorative moulding and cornices. In the hallway, a staircase painted in Farrow & Ball’s ‘Hardwick White’ with matching balustrades and a mahogany handrail stacks like a spine to connect each storey of the house. The living spaces are arranged on the ground and lower-ground floors, while bedrooms are positioned on the second and third floors.
On the ground floor, the stripped pine floorboards flow continuously into the living room at the front of the plan. Light filters through a bay of arch head sash windows, which are decorated with white-painted timber panelling to match the high Victorian skirting boards, crown moulding and acanthine flowerhead ceiling boss. At one side of the room sits an open fire within an original marble surround with a heavy mantel to make an impressive focal point for the room. A pair of panelled doors opens to a second reception room at the rear of the plan. When the doors are open, the teal-coloured walls are beautifully complemented by the living room’s pink tones and checkboard tiles. There is another impressive marble fireplace here, and a sash windows that takes in views over the garden and treetops beyond. The current owner has arranged this room as a study, but it could also make a wonderful snug. A generous WC on this floor doubles as a handy spot for keeping boots and coats ready for walk along the coast.
Descending to the lower-ground floor, there is an open plan kitchen and dining room which has recently been renovated to a meticulous standard to designs by Cote de Folk. Stretching across the full depth of the plan to take in a double aspect over the plantings of peony, rose and lavender at the front of the house and though the French doors that open to the rear garden. Sitting against white-painted, timber-panelled walls, the kitchen is composed of cabinetry painted in ‘Dayroom Yellow’ by Farrow & Ball and set with white granite worksurfaces, a six-ring gas Rangemaster cooker and a Shaws fluted butler sink. Brass fittings sit wonderfully against the warm hues of the kitchen and the reclaimed solid parquet floor. In the corner there is a handy pantry cupboard for keeping spices, herbs and dried foods, while a tiled kitchen island in the centre of the room makes both a sculptural statement and an excellent surface for preparing a meal.
A wide arch connects the kitchen with the dining area. The current owner has arranged a table to sit in front of a wood-burning stove, and the alcoves on either side of the chimney are fitted with cupboards for keeping crockery and glassware. At the rear of the plan, the room opens to the garden, and a large bench with bespoke cushions are fashioned from the fabric of nautical flags, a nod to the maritime setting of the house. Also on this floor there is a laundry room where the warm palette of tiles and terracotta continues.
There are two double bedrooms arranged on the first floor. At the front of the plan is the primary bedroom, where light pours in through Venetian round head sash windows. A bank of built-in wardrobes stretch to the ceiling on either side of an original cast-iron fireplace. An en suite bathroom opens from one side of the bedroom, where a generous stone resin bath from Lusso sits against a wall of blush-toned mosaic tiles.
There are two further double bedrooms on the third floor, as well as a well-appointed shower room. The bedrooms, tucked in the eaves of the house have a cosy atmosphere and dormer windows peer over the treetops beyond.
The Great Outdoors
French doors open from the lower-ground floor of the house to the back garden, which is bound by undulating brick walls that run the length of the lawn, draped in wisteria and vines and backdropped by neighbouring mature trees. A patio makes a lovely spot for alfresco dining in the warmer months, with ample room for a table and chairs. A garden path is laid to wind past plantings of verbena, dahlia and hydrangea as well as an evergreen spindle tree.
At the end of the garden there is a garage, as well as a carport for private parking.
Out and About
Sandwich’s townscape retains its medieval layout, resulting in a network of narrow streets lined with colourful shops and eateries throughout its historic centre and along the River Stour. Some favourites include Luigi’s for traditional Neapolitan cuisine, the historic George & Dragon pub (originally built in 1446 for the 24th year of the first reign of Henry VI), Drill Hall for artisan pizza and Time & Tide Taproom for craft beer. For a taste of the continent, there is No Name Shop, a delicatessen and bistro offering fresh produce from France and mainland Europe, and Divino Wine Bar–previously a historic grocery store, its original counter is still intact. Less than a 10-minute walk from the house is Delf Farm Shop for locally grown produce.
Updown Farmhouse, a beautiful 17th century former farmstead, is a 10-minute drive away. The building has been lovingly restored and now houses a conservatory restaurant where dinner is served among the grapevines.
A weekly market takes place every Thursday morning, and a farmers’ market on the last Saturday morning of the month. Both are hosted at the 16th-century Guildhall, which houses its own museum holding the Sandwich Magna Carta from 1300 and the Charter of the Forest, as well as artefacts dating back to the Mesolithic period. For a bit of peace and quiet, the Secret Gardens of Sandwich are worth a visit, encircled by the old stone city walls, belonging to the Grade I-listed Queen Anne style manor house The Salutation, designed by renowned English architect Edwin Lutyens. There are a further three and a half acres of ornamental gardens created by Lutyens and celebrated British horticulturist Gertrude Jekyll. English Heritage has also recently completed works on Richborough Roman Fort and Amphitheatre, where visitors can discover the cradle of life for Roman Britain less than a 10-minute drive away.
Endless outdoor adventures await in Sandwich Bay and St Margaret’s Bay, and the house’s setting on the Kent Coastal path means it is possible to walk for miles along the area’s many beachfront promenades, chalk cliffs and sandy beaches. The area is within a short distance of several nature reserves, including Gazen Salts, Monks Wall and Pegwell nature reserves, as well as Sandwich Bay Bird Observatory. The Sandwich River Runner offers catamaran tours along the River Stour, perfect for wildlife spotting. Betteshanger Country Park, a 250-acre park with miles of traffic-free cycling and an outdoor playpark, offers a range of outdoor activities and is just five minutes outside Sandwich. Notably, Sandwich Bay’s long, sand and pebble beach is backed by several world-class golf courses; in fact, the 2021 Open Championship was played in Sandwich at the Royal St George’s Golf Club. Two other highly regarded clubs, Prince’s Golf Club and Royal Cinque Ports Golf Club, both previous Open venues, can be found immediately north and south of St George’s.
Further amenities and attractions can be found in nearby Deal, a 20-minute drive south via the A258. Major attractions include Deal Castle, constructed in the shape of a Tudor rose by Henry VIII and the famed Deal Pier, the last fully intact leisure pier remaining in Kent. Visit the Deal Maritime and Local History Museum to learn more about the history of the Cinque Ports. Excellent dining options include The Rose Hotel and The Frog & Scot. Real Deal Roasters is a renowned coffee supplier and shop, Arno & Co, the preferred greengrocers, and Merchant of Relish, the favoured deli. The Black Pig butchers and Jenkins & Sons fishmongers are also both noteworthy. Deal is also home to the ever-popular lifestyle and homewares emporium Green & Found. Constructed in the early 1800s within the Captain’s Gardens at Deal Castle, it provides creative spaces for local craftspeople to work and hosts workshops, talks, and events.
Sandwich has several well-regarded schools, including the Ofsted-rated ‘Outstanding’ Sandwich Junior School, Sandwich Infant School and Sir Roger Manwood’s School.
The house is conveniently located just a five-minute walk from Sandwich train station, which runs direct services to London St Pancras in just over 90 minutes and Charing Cross in around two and half hours. From Sandwich, it’s a 30-minute train or 20-minute drive down to Dover, a 25-minute drive up the coast to Margate, and around a two-hour drive to London via the M2. Access to the continent is also excellent via the Port of Dover, the Channel Tunnel at Folkestone and Eurostar from Ashford International.
Council Tax Band: D
When the Romans arrived near Sandwich in 43 AD, commencing their conquest of the British Isles, the landscape presented a vastly different picture from what we see today. The Wantsum Channel played a crucial role back then, serving as a strait that separated the Isle of Thanet from the northeastern point of Kent. It was a significant Roman shipping route, connecting the English Channel with the Thames Estuary. The town’s strategic significance led to its designation as one of the Cinque Ports around 1155. During the Hundred Years’ War, it thrived as a vital naval stronghold, serving as a crucial ship assembly point due to its proximity to France.
Over time, however, sediment filled the Channel during the Middle Ages, causing Sandwich to be displaced two miles inland. This caused Sandwich’s development to slow, leading to its relatively unchanged appearance over the centuries. Presently, the town has become a sought-after destination for golfers and wildlife enthusiasts alike, with its sandy dunes and marshland providing an idyllic landscape for both pursuits.
Contrary to popular belief, the town’s name does not originate from the famous food item. Instead, it is believed to have roots in an Anglo-Saxon word denoting a ‘sandy place’ or ‘the place on the sand’. The culinary association with the term “sandwich” came much later, around 1762, when John Montagu, the 4th Earl of Sandwich, popularised the idea of placing meat between slices of bread, thus creating the now-famous snack. He reportedly did so to avoid interrupting a gambling game, giving rise to the enduring name of this culinary invention.
- A Home with a History: an interiors maven’s Georgian house in Kent
- Singular Appeal: five one-bedroom homes for saleHomes
- A Private View: from beige to beautiful in south-west LondonHomes / Interiors
- Inspiration of the Week: a picture of the simple life, deep in the Welsh countryside
- Inigo Revisits: Charles and Romilly Saumarez Smith’s art-filled 18th-century townhouseHomes / Interiors