HADLOW, a village mentioned in the Domesday Survey, is situated in the Medway valley, approximately 25 km south-east of London and 10 km beyond the M25, and lies on the A26 between Tonbridge, with its Norman Castle, and the county town of Maidstone. Hadlow retains its original core, including a medieval church, but it is the Castle Tower which makes it unique.
In the past Hadlow Tower was a site to admire, a symbol of one man’s wealth; now that it has been restored it is a place to visit as well as admire. The 40ft (12m) ’lantern’ has been reinstated and the exterior returned to its Victorian splendour using materials compatible with the original structure. A new steel core has been incorporated to strengthen the building and new staircases installed in the upper stories to replace the dangerous wooden originals. On the ground floor is a Visitor Centre and exhibition space with access to the 360- degree viewing platform, 130 feet (40m) above the Bourne and Medway Valleys, with spectacular views across the North Kent Weald. In addition, there is high quality self-catering holiday accommodation for 6 people, managed by the Vivat Trust, who have exclusive use of the Tower. When guests are not present, visitors are able to visit the tower in its entirety.
VISITOR CENTRE We hope that a visit to the Tower will be both informative and enjoyable for all our visitors. Displays include:
- the significance of the monument, its uniqueness and precedents;
- the personalities and society which produced the building and the country estate of which it was part;
- the Romantic Gothic movement of which it is one of the finest examples with links to landscape design, architecture (in particular Fonthill), painting, poetry and literature;
- an examination of the technology and engineering of the building, the people and materials involved in its construction and the process of restoration;
- an exploration of the surrounding landscape that can be seen from the Tower, in particular the hop industry of the Medway valley, the oasts and maltings which served it and the history of the hop pickers from the East end of London.
The exhibition also includes videos of how the Tower used to be, interactive tablets and unique souvenirs.
Visitors to the Tower are able to view the holiday accommodation and climb from the fourth floor to the Lantern base via a new spiral staircase. For those not fancying the climb there is a lift up to the fourth floor. The views are lovely from all floors.
Booking is online at the link on this page. Bookings are also taken via the phone on 07913 861979 or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
A knowledgeable and friendly team of volunteers operate the Tower on Open Days and we look forward to welcoming you.
Caroline Elcombe – Hadlow Tower Visitor Centre Manager.