Hole Cottage

Cowden, Kent


The surviving cross-wing of a late medieval, timber-framed hall house in a peaceful woodland clearing in the Kent Weald. Cowden Station is a 15 minute walk through the woods and Chartwell, Hever Castle and Penshurst Place are nearby. 

  • Dogs AllowedDogs Allowed
  • CotCot
  • Fire or StoveFire or Stove
  • Open SpaceOpen Space
  • Logs availableLogs available
  • Parking AvailableParking Available
  • BathBath
  • MicrowaveMicrowave

Beds 1 Double, 1 Bunk

2 +2
4 nights
£1200 equivalent to £75.00 per person, per night

The true feeling of the Weald

Hole Cottage is all that remains of a late medieval timber-framed hall house of high quality. Only this cross-wing survived when the rest of the house was pulled down in 1833. Generations of charcoal burners and bodgers worked in these woods and The Hole still has the true feeling of the Weald where the forges and furnaces of the Sussex ironmasters were established. Hole Cottage’s curiously top heavy appearance, caused by its jettied first storey, is typical of Kentish vernacular style in this period, but here it is further emphasised by the loss of the central range and other clasping wing that once mirrored this survival. The Cottage stands by a small stream in a woodland clearing, its brickwork glowing handsomely when the sunlight strikes into the glade.

A sleepy fire, the smell of its smoke and the sound of the stream

This Wealden scene persists despite the great storm of October 1987. The logbook records the events of that stormy night ‘At about 3.30 we decided to go down to the sitting-room. As we sat with our one candle burning we heard a terrific crash in the big room upstairs: a big tree had fallen right on the peak of the roof. As the night went on trees fell one after another all about the house … Mr Dale arrived with a flask of hot water at about 8.30 and a very welcome sight he was.’ New trees have grown up fast to enclose this solitary place once again, where you may enjoy a sleepy fire, the smell of its smoke and the sound of the stream. If you want to get out and about, there are plenty of interesting historic things to see nearby including the Elizabethan Penshurst Place, Anne Boleyn's childhood home at Hever Castle and Winston Churchill's home at Chartwell.

Floor Plan


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Map & local info

Hole Cottage lies in a woodland clearing in a peaceful location by a small stream. It is a 15 minute walk through the woods from the small village of Cowden and its train station.

The area surrounding Hole Cottage is full of places to visit and things to see and do. 

Igtham Mote was once described by Historian David Starkey as "one of the most beautiful and interesting of English country houses", and is truly worth a visit. 

Nearby Chartwell also offers a fascinating visit, as it remains much the same as when it was the family home of Sir Winston Churchill. 

Hever Castle is well known as the childhood home of Anne Boleyn. Today, you can visit the gardens and castle, and dine in their award winning restaurant. The Festival Theatre at Hever is a wonderful way to enjoy your surroundings, with outdoor shows for all ages running throughout the summer months. 

Royal Tunbridge Wells is 30 minutes drive from Hole Cottage, where there are restaurants and cafes for you to enjoy. 

Discover local walks for dogs with our friends at Walkiees.co.uk, the dog walks community.

For more information and ideas of things to see and do during your stay at Hole Cottage, take a look at our Pinterest Page.

Please Note: The Landmark Trust does not take any responsibility and makes no warranties, representations or undertakings about the content of any website accessed by hypertext link. Links should not be taken as an endorsement of any kind. The Landmark Trust has no control over the availability of the linked pages.

Clear directions
Essential info
What you need to know about this building
  • Yes. You are welcome to bring up to two dogs. A charge of £20 per stay is made for each dog. Please contact booking enquiries if you have an assistance dog, for which there is no charge.
  • Via an unmade track which is uneven and has a number of pot holes which fill with water in adverse weather. It needs to be negotiated with care and is unsuitable for cars with low clearance.
  • Cowden – 0.5 miles. 
  • Yes – there is a parking space adjacent to the Landmark.
  • There are electric night storage heaters and an open fire.
  • Logs may be purchased and delivered under a private arrangement. Further details will be provided with your booking confirmation.
  • To check up-to-date mobile network coverage in the area, visit signalchecker.co.uk. Due to the location and structure of many of our buildings, signal strength may differ to those indicated.
  • The kitchen is fully equipped with all plates, cutlery, fridge etc. There is also an electric cooker.
  • There is one bathroom with a bath.
  • No.
  • There is a garden (not enclosed)..
  • Yes, Hole Cottage is occasionally in the flightpath for the London Airports. Flying activity varies greatly from day to day however and is rarely a problem for very long.
  • No. At the moment, we have decided not to implement Wi-Fi in our buildings following a consultation with our customers. Many said that they would find it useful, but many also felt that it would somehow damage the experience of staying in a Landmark. As the responses were so split, and as we have so many other initiatives requiring funding, we have decided to put this on hold for the time being.
    Except at Llwyn Celyn Bunk House where a password is available in the property when you arrive.
Booking and Payment
  • If the weather is bad, please contact our booking office who will be able to tell you whether the Landmark is accessible. If the housekeeper can safely get to the building to prepare it then we consider that it is open and available for guests. However if we cannot undertake a changeover then we will do our utmost to transfer your stay to another Landmark, depending on what we have available. It may not be of a similar size or in the same part of the country as your original booking. If the building is accessible but the customer cannot travel due to poor weather in his/her local area then please be aware that Landmark will not provide a refund. However the customer may be able to claim on his/her own travel insurance. We recommend that all guests take out travel insurance when they first secure a booking.
  • We accept Maestro (if issued in the UK), Visa, MasterCard, direct transfer and sterling cheques drawn on a UK bank. Cheques should be made payable to the Landmark Trust except for Lundy stays and boat/helicopter tickets which should be payable to The Lundy Company Ltd. All payments must be in sterling.
  • The key arrangements will be included in the Further Infomation document which will be sent to you prior to your stay.
  • If your stay starts more than two months from the date you make the booking, you are required to pay a deposit of one third of the cost of your stay (or £100 per booking, if greater) at the time of booking. Camping on Lundy and The Bunk House at Llwyn Celyn must be paid for in full at the time of booking.
  • If you wish to cancel or change your booking, please contact our Booking Office on 01628 825925
  • At the moment we only accept payment in sterling.
  • Our housekeeper will leave the key in a suitable place, the details of which will be sent to you prior to your stay.
  • It depends. Some of our most popular Landmarks are booked up a long time in advance, but many can be booked at short notice. We will always have Landmarks free for the coming weekend so it’s always worth checking our availability list.
  • No, Landmarks are available to be booked for anyone.
  • No, all the information you need can be found on our website, although we’d like you to buy one anyway as it will be a pleasure to own!
Staying at a Landmark
  • Some of our Landmarks are suitable for people with disabilities or limited mobility. However, many Landmarks have steep or narrow staircases, uneven floors and thresholds, changes of level, low ceilings or beams, as well as indistinct colours on steps and in corridors. We recommend that you call Booking Enquiries on 01628 825925 if you would like to find out the suitability of a particular Landmark for anyone with a specific disability.  Further information on access when visiting Lundy can also be found here.
  • Yes, Landmarks are only available as self-catering accommodation. We do not offer bed and breakfast.
  • Landmark does not provide catering, but we can recommend Greycoat Lumleys who can arrange for expert and well-trained staff to cater for one evening or for your entire holiday. Their cooks and chefs are able to work with you to meet your specific requirements
  • You may bring up to two dogs to properties where dogs are allowed (please see specific property details for exemptions however dogs are not permitted on Lundy except assistance dogs). They must be kept off the furniture and under proper control. A charge of £20 per stay is made for each dog. Please contact booking enquiries if a registered assistance dog is supporting one of the guests, for which there is no charge.
  • Apart from two dogs (see above) no other pets are permitted.
  • Arrival is from 4pm and departure is by 10am.
  • We do not carry insurance for breakages. However we appreciate that accidents do sometimes happen. If you have a breakage during your stay, please let the housekeeper know and if appropriate we reserve the right to invoice you accordingly.
  • Yes, most of our Landmarks are perfect for children, with gardens to play in and secret places to discover. Our furniture is surprisingly robust and we positively encourage families to stay. However, some of our buildings may not be suitable for small children; for example, some of them have steep or uneven spiral staircases. We recommend that you call the Booking Enquiries team if you would like to find out the suitability of any of our Landmarks for young children.
  • Unfortunately, most of our Landmarks are not licensed for weddings. However, you may get married on Lundy.
  • All our larger Landmarks are perfect for gatherings of family or friends. You may invite an additional two guests to visit you during your stay, however they must not stay overnight. This is very important because our fire regulations specifically note the maximum number of people in any one building. In addition our properties are prepared, furnished and equipped for the number of people specified and greater numbers cause damage and excessive wear and tear to vulnerable buildings. Should this condition be ignored we shall make a retrospective charge per person per day (whether or not they stay overnight) for each guest over the permitted limit, the charge being pro-rated on the total cost of your booking.
  • We deliberately do not provide televisions and find that most people appreciate this.
  • One of the challenges of restoring unloved buildings is gaining access to them. We frequently have to negotiate rights with our neighbours and share tracks with them. In many cases tracks do not belong to us and we have no right to maintain them. Wherever possible we work with our neighbours to provide you with a good quality surface, but where this is a problem then you will be warned at the time of booking.
  • Yes, we have standard electricity sockets for UK appliances. If you are coming from outside the UK, you will need to bring your own adaptor plug(s). If you are visiting one of our European properties we have standard European electricity sockets. If you are visiting from the UK, you will need to bring your own adapter plug (s).
  • Landmark’s electrical systems have not been designed to provide continuous power from one socket over several hours.  If an ordinary socket is used to charge an electric vehicle, there is significant risk of an electrical fire and consequent danger to life.  Therefore, we are unable to allow electric vehicle charging from most of our Landmarks at present.

    We are working to provide Type 2 Electric Vehicle charge points at our properties where there is private parking.  Where this is available, please request this facility when booking the property to ensure the outlet is enabled on your arrival.  There is a small charge to cover the cost of electricity provided.  Please book this facility in advance.
  • No, we do not allow smoking in any Landmark.

A relatively sophisticated yeoman’s house

The name Hole describes somewhere in a hollow. Although now called a cottage, throughout the 16th-18th centuries this building was referred to simply as ‘The Hole’. It is in fact one end of a relatively sophisticated yeoman’s house, three-quarters of which has now gone. It is the kind of house that was once common in the Weald of Kent and Sussex, where oak was plentiful and the yeoman rich, mainly on account of the contemporary iron industry.


The present approach to the front door would originally have been through the single-storey hall, open to the roof. At the opposite end of the hall, nearest the existing shed, there would have been another two-storey wing, perhaps also jettied, acting as the service area. Typically on the ground floor there would have been a pair of doors leading respectively to the buttery (for the storage of liquid items such as beer) and the pantry (for the storage of dry goods).

The opposite wing, which survives today, was reached from the ‘high’ end of the hall. On the ground floor there is a parlour and upstairs the solar, which seems always to have been divided into two chambers. These rooms would have been for the personal use of the owner, his family and guests. It was probably built towards the end of the 15th century. A moulded beam just visible over the present front door confirms the impression that Hole was a house of considerable status.

Originally the entire timber-frame would have been filled with wattle and daub. As this deteriorated, often at low level, it became quite common to use bricks instead between the timbers - known as ‘nogging’. Tile-hanging is also a very common method in Kent of protecting a timber-frame, a practice introduced in the late 17th century. Hole was perhaps first tiled on its upper walls when the main part of the house was pulled down in the early 19th century.

The roof is also tiled but with older ones than the walls. Peg tiles were rare and expensive until after 1600 and Hole would originally have had a thatched or possibly Horsham stone roof.

The two windows in the kitchen and the east window in the main bedroom are medieval. The openings and the holes for the vertical mullions were found in 1970. These mullions were replaced, set diagonally as they were originally. The only way of closing these windows would have been with internal wooden shutters that slid in grooves. The window in the sitting room is in its original position (although not medieval) and you can see the slots for the bars in the beam above it.

The main source of heat for Hole would have been the open fire in the hall. The existing part would only have been heated by glowing embers in a brazier. Later there would have been a big Tudor chimney (perhaps where the present 19th century one is) with fireplaces back to back - one facing the hall and the other the sitting room. No trace of this remains however.

The stairs are probably where they always were, though at first they may have been steep and straight like a ladder. The newel post is a copy of an old Tudor one that had been incorporated into the 19th-century stairs.

George Baily, a local poet, wrote a stanza describing the destruction of most of Hole on the 1830s:

'But where is the homestead, the once happy spot,
Shall its memory perish and all be forgot?
A warrior possessed it and levelled it down
A desolate array of ruins around.'

For a short history of Hole Cottage please click here.

To read the full history album for Hole Cottage please click here.

To download the children's Explorer pack for Hole Cottage please click here.


More information coming soon.

Availability & booking

Select a changeover day to start your booking...

What's a changeover day? and Why can't I select other dates?Explain MoreQuestion

A changeover day is a particular day of the week when holidays start and end at our properties. These tend to be on a Friday or a Monday but can sometimes vary. All stays run from one changeover day until another changeover day.