‘The main tower, of exquisite workmanship, and of great and imposing height, rears itself proudly above the surrounding country and may be seen on all sides at many miles distance.’ Burke’s Visitation of Seats and Arms 1852
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 artifacts, photos, reminiscences, CAD re-creation of the original castle, audio visual displays and tactile model.
HOLIDAY ACCOMMODATION Because of the Tower’s singular structure the rooms are on several levels, reached by two integral spiral staircases and a newly installed lift in one of the buttresses, each octagonal room having several unique views. The Vivat Trust has given the blank canvas of the interior its own individual look.