Welcome to The Vines of Rochester!
Standing proudly on the corner plot wedged between the Kings School and Rochester Cathedral, is The Old Archdeaconry, I’ll never forget the feeling of stepping into this beautiful property for the first time. Research suggests that Archdeacon John Lee built the original timber structure in 1661 and judging by the current refurbishment needs - it doesn’t look like it’s been touched since.
That initial ghostly feeling of walking into this structure, I was filled with excitement but couldn’t help pausing for a moment, to sense the presence of all the people who had passed there before us over the previous 300 years.
My eye was immediately drawn to the grand staircase that dominates the centre of the house and I was equally mesmerised by the high, ornate ceilings and carvings, and then to the spacious rooms which span across the three levels.
The proud owners of this delightful abode are The Collins Family who have now acquired over 17,000 square feet of garden grounds, original cornices, mouldings, sash windows, elaborate fireplaces and a leaky roof! Oh, and a new name, hence The Vines of Rochester.
So, who are The Collins Family?
Probably more well known locally for running Cooling Castle Barn, which also started its life as a run-down building and now, stands proud as a prestigious wedding venue.
With this experience, the Cooling Castle Barn team are perfectly placed to bring this vision to Rochester. A well located focal point - the Vines will be the perfect go to venue for relaxed eating and drinking during the day or dine in our exclusive restaurant and hotel for the ultimate in hospitality and luxury.
Heading the project is Paul Collins…mainly seen on site in his general attire of a royal blue boiler suit. He’s a massive lover of power tools and tea… (milk no sugar!)
The rest of the brilliant team, are working tirelessly to restore this magnificent building, creating something special for both locals and guests to the area.
Of course, the main site managers are the family pet dogs…Bert, Daisy, Rafferty and Hector who would be all too happy to get overly involved with a tin of Dulux paint and a step-ladder. They are particularly interested each week on BBQ Friday where there is always a spare sausage or two going!
So,...What is this blog about? Well, it’s mostly to take you on a journey through this exciting project, we will be bringing this beautiful Georgian property back to life to become the hub of Rochester.
Amongst what is now rubble, bare floor boards and holes in the ceiling is going to be transformed into a boutique hotel with a fabulous restaurant. Come along for the adventure and be part of this exciting renovation!