Kennaway House is a beautiful Regency mansion built in 1805. The picturesque red brick house is set in its own tree-lined grounds in the heart of Sidmouth. After being endowed to the community in 1905, Kennaway House was saved from demolition in 2009 following a £1 million restoration. The historic and beautiful setting is now a charity venue run for the benefit of the community. Kennaway House is a wonderful location for events, offering a variety of rooms with a wide range of uses. It is a popular destination for art exhibitions, food markets, craft fairs, yoga classes, talks, parties and weddings. Most days there is something happening at Kennaway House, which is open free of charge all year round.
There is a permanent historical exhibition in the Captain Phillips room, with information about the history of the house and Sidmouth as a fashionable Victorian resort. Originally a family home to eleven children, Kennaway House was rented out to various tenants throughout the 19th century, until it was purchased by the Trustees of the late Mrs RH Hatton-Wood of Belmont on the instructions of her husband. In 1906 after repair and alteration, the house was then known as Church House for the benefit and use of the community. After being dilapidated for much of the 20th century, a fantastic campaign by the local community and a heritage lottery grant raised the money for its restoration in 2009.
The house retains many of its period features, with high sash windows in the gallery spaces, a double iron staircase and stained glass making it a beautiful and romantic venue for weddings. The long driveway and original façade are a wonderful setting for photographs.
Kennaway House is a unique venue in Sidmouth with a large outdoor space alongside its indoor facilities. From the spring through to autumn, events are regularly held on the expansive lawn, with popular food markets and craft fairs taking place monthly. There is often a delicious variety of street food and baked goods on offer, along with handmade crafts and gifts. When not in use for events, the garden is open for visitors to sit on the benches beneath the old trees, a quiet haven in the centre of the town. There is also a footpath through the grounds linking Coburg road with the nearby bus stops.
Two impressive, well-lit gallery spaces are open throughout the year, hosting a variety of exhibitions with free entry. The large windows and central location make the rooms popular for artists and visitors alike. Notable painters include Colin Bentley, along with members of the South West of Academicians and a variety of Devon-based painters. Paul Atterbury of Antiques Roadshow holds art sales of traditional and contemporary paintings, drawings and prints. Throughout the year Bearnes, Hampton & Littlewood Auctioneers host weekly antiques valuations.
Kennaway House also runs a successful series of ‘Meet the Author’ talks with notable visiting speakers. Some of our popular guests so far have included Lady Carnarvon of Highclere Castle, Dame Hilary Mantel, Julian Fellowes, Jonathan Aitken and Jeremy Vine, to name but a few. John Nettles is also planning to come next year (date to be confirmed) so it is worth keeping an eye out for speakers on Kennaway’s website and Facebook pages.
The licenced Cellar Bar hosts many parties, discos and jazz sessions throughout the year. Even themed murder mystery evenings have taken place in the Cellar Bar! Alongside these events, the cellar room is used as a spacious tai chi and yoga studio with classes catering for all abilities, from advanced to beginners. Kennaway House also has two large classrooms, where a variety of adult classes are held including French, painting, meditation and first aid courses. Booking details can be accessed on our website.
Kennaway House is a charity, rescued for the enjoyment of the community and it relies on your support to keep it running for present and future generations. Kennaway House is a treasured part of Sidmouth’s community and these are difficult times when we are adapting to a new way of life as best we can. Fortunately, the spacious interior and grounds have enabled Kennaway to continue providing a range of events and classes in a safe, distanced way. Kennaway House Trust relies on its income to fund itself. We appreciate any support you can give! Keep up to date by checking our website, Instagram and Facebook pages. We look forward to welcoming you soon!
The house is located opposite the town centre triangle bus stop.