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guardian hotel review kent
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Book to stay in a giant luxury tipi in the grounds of a Jacobean manor house, AKA, the Wallett's Court Country House Hotel, near the White Cliffs of Dover in Kent. A night in the tipi costs £49.50pp, or you can stay in the hotel's new "staddle hut", a converted grain store which stands on a raised support, 4ft off the ground, in the shape of nine stone mushrooms. Read on>>>

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Battle of Britain by helicopter: The aviation tour which brings you face to face with a Spitfire
By Sebastian Lander - Daily Mail

uk hotel breaks
Wall Street Journal
White canvas tepees on the grounds of this luxury 17th-century Jacobean manor house near Dover, Kent, have queen-size beds with Siberian goosedown duvets and Lapland reindeer skins for extra warmth. Cost: $80 per person per night. Read on>>>

The Culinary Guide
By Sarah Jappy
hotel awards

Wallett's Court Country House Hotel has been shortlisted for an award in the Tourism ExSEllence Awards 2009 in the small hotel / townhouse of the year category.

The 4-star Wallett's Court, in Westcliffe, near Dover, has made the final along with three other hotels. The annual awards are organised by Tourism South East and the winners of all 17 categories will be announced on 22 October.

Owner Gavin Oakley said: "By making the final, judges at Tourism South East are acknowledging that Wallett's Court is one of the best hotels in the region. We are delighted to be selected and I think this is testimony to all the hard work and dedication of our staff."

With its stunning position on the white cliffs of Dover, offering uninterrupted views across open countryside, Wallett's Court has been one of the area's top hotels for more than 30 years. Its cool, intimate spa, award-winning fine dining, luxury rooms and superb personal service make it the perfect place to unwind.

Situated in seven acres of landscaped gardens, just 10 minutes from the port of Dover, Wallett's Court is a beautiful Jacobean manor house that has been restored and converted, along with surrounding Kentish hay barns, stables and cow sheds, to provide 17 bedrooms, including three four-posters.

The hotel combines historic surroundings and charm with 21st century comforts, including digital multi-channel flatscreen TVs, DVD and CD players, and broadband wireless Internet. The spa has indoor pools, hot-tub, sauna and steam room plus individual treatment cabins nestled among the trees.


Wallett's Court Country House Hotel has won a Silver Award in the Tourism ExSEllence Awards 2009 in the small hotel / townhouse of the year category. It is the first time that Wallett's Court had been entered for the annual awards.

The 4-star Wallett's Court, in Westcliffe, near Dover, made the final along with three other leading hotels and was narrowly pipped to the gold award by Lainston House Hotel in Sparsholt, Hants.

After collecting the award from broadcaster and TV personality Gyles Brandreth, Wallett's Court owner Gavin Oakley said: "I am so proud of this achievement. In making the final the judges at Tourism South East were acknowledging that Wallett's Court is one of the best hotels in the entire region. I'm dedicating this award to every one of our staff because our success is thanks to their professionalism, dedication and sheer hard work."

With its stunning location on the white cliffs of Dover, offering uninterrupted views across open countryside, Wallett's Court has been one of the area's top hotels for more than 30 years. Its cool, intimate spa, award-winning fine dining, luxury rooms and superb personal service make it the perfect place to unwind.

Situated in seven acres of landscaped gardens, just 10 minutes from the port of Dover, Wallett's Court is a beautiful Jacobean manor house that has been restored and converted, along with surrounding Kentish hay barns, stables and cow sheds, to provide 17 bedrooms, including three four-posters.

The hotel combines historic surroundings and charm with 21st century comforts, including digital multi-channel flatscreen TVs, DVD and CD players, and broadband wireless Internet. The spa has indoor pools, hot-tub, sauna and steam room plus individual treatment cabins nestled among the trees.

Wallett's Court's 2 AA rosette restaurant has been featured in The Good Food Guide for 21 consecutive years. Link>>>

guardian hotel review kent
St Margaret's Bay
The Guardian - Insiders Guide
At the north end of the beach lies White Cliffs, Ian Fleming's holiday home. The house was bought from Noel Coward in 1952 and Fleming worked on his first Bond novels here. Scenes from Moonraker and Goldfinger are set in nearby locations. Visit the Fleming and Coward exhibition at The Pines Garden Museum but allow time to explore the six acres of grounds. From St Margaret's Bay it's an easy walk to Dover's white cliffs where Wallett's Court spa and hotel is a great stop off for walkers in need of recuperation.

hotel kent review
The 50 best British hotels
The Independent
From family-friendly boltholes and luxury boutiques to rural retreats and city-centre crash pads, Rhiannon Batten offers the experts' guide to the nation's greatest places to stay
Garri recommends this country house hotel in Kent's 'White Cliffs Country'. The 17 rooms here are divided between the main building, a lovely old Jacobean manor house, and the adjacent former haybarns. There's also a third option - camping breaks in luxury tepees set deep in the grounds. All guests have access to the hotel's spa and pool pool and there's also a two AA rosette restaurant.

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Taking the Javelin bullet train to rural bliss at Wallett's Court Hotel and Spa in Kent
By Sarah Gordon
The busy ferry port of Dover is not exactly synonymous with relaxation and luxury. Nor is the commute down there from London's urban sprawl, whether by train or crawling down the motorway behind endless cross-channel lorries.
But, as I lie on a waterbed gazing out over rolling countryside, while my therapist massages the stress out of my hunched shoulders, I'm beginning to change my opinion.
The Garden of England, much disparaged in recent years, is experiencing a long-overdue revival thanks to a new high-speed train bringing it ever closer to the stressed-out masses of London just itching to escape to the countryside.
A journey which would once take over two hours at best has been shortened to just 69 minutes and this ambitious southeastern county has declared itself very much open for business.
Suddenly, people are looking at Kent with fresh eyes. London's neighbour is no longer just an expanse of M20 which will get you closer to France, but a rural escape in itself, ready to tempt exhausted urbanites away from the city towards the Great Outdoors and all it has to offer.
Nowhere represents the new Kent more than Wallett's Court Hotel and Spa, where I have just had the best massage of my life in a little self-contained hut with a full-length window offering views out towards endless fields and contented sheep (yes, even the sheep seem relaxed).

Just five minutes away from Dover, the St Margaret's Bay hotel is a world away from the ferry port's bustle. Perched on the cliffs, just out of sight of the sea, the wind constantly whistles around the solitary buildings in a very Wuthering Heights-esque way.
A farewell to my miracle therapist Mary and a short stumble deliver me from my hut to the spa, where I can sink into the steam room for some further relaxation.
Beyond the spa are several other outbuildings dotted around the main Jacobean house, all containing different types of accommodation from standard and executive rooms to large suites.
A refreshing change from hotels where guests seem to be piled on top of each other, the romantic set-up allows more of that ever-valued privacy - it's just you and the elements.
But, if you're still not quite feeling close enough to nature, there is the opportunity to hire out the teepee which is pitched just behind the hotel and boasts those same beautiful views.
With its underfloor heating and cushion-strewn double bed, the owners had hoped it would entice 'glampers' during the summer and early autumn, but assumed it would remain empty for winter.
To their surprise, the teepee has been such a success that it has stayed open with bookings still being made. Some adventurous guests even spent New Year's Eve under canvas.
The hotel's coastal location and its offering of outdoor activities make it an ideal spot for spring and summer, but for me the hotel seemed to really lend itself to a winter setting.
Perhaps it's something to do with that whistling wind combined with the wood burners in the lounge bar and the traditional country decor, all light-coloured wood and rich, patterned fabrics. It creates a setting that would turn even the most established of couples back into love-struck newlyweds.
The uniqueness of the place makes it a good spot for celebrations. The hotel has recently become a wedding venue and during my stay one very excited woman had surprised her husband with a visit to the hotel and a clay pigeon shooting day out.
Outings like this and the slightly pricier, but truly unique experience of flying in a helicopter alongside a WWII Spitfire for a private aeronautical display can make for a very special visit.
Leaving the air aerobics to someone with a stronger stomach, I opted instead to explore one of the myriad of walks nearby. With information provided by the hotel I wandered to the nearby village of St Margaret's and down on to a route that takes you right along the White Cliffs offering views all the way to Calais.
The timber beams, tapestries and high-backed chairs of my sizeable room were a welcome sight on return for my brisk promenade.
Unlike so many other hotels which attempt olde worlde and end up with old fashioned, this room knew when to be contemporary. The bathroom was modern and had everything you would need.
An extensive room service menu was on offer and a flatscreen TV opposite the bed provided alternative entertainment for anyone bored with the view.
At £139 a night my executive room was not too pricey, and a standard room, which is more neutral with less rustic touches, costs £129.
The affordability of Wallett's Court was a pleasant surprise.
My massage and facial didn't leave me needing further stress-relieving treatments once I had seen the bill.
And even the most exclusive treatment, carried out by the spa manager Ben Barnett, whose past clients include Kylie Minogue and other A-listers, is reasonably priced at £75 for 60 minutes.
His unique holistic hydrotherm massage, combining spiritual and physical wellbeing, has caused quite a stir for its two-pronged approach to health.
According to his practice, each part of the body can retain energy and tension due to different influences. Great responsibility often manifests itself as tension in the shoulders while impatience and drive show themselves in the legs.
His massage detects the areas of tension which he works on physically while explaining the emotional causes of the stress to help customers notice it more readily as it happens and counteract it in the future.
It is not just the spa that surprised me with its prices, but also the restaurant which was serving a three-course meal for £40 with the organic house wine priced at a palatable £16.95.
With starters including pork and sage terrine and tiger prawn and mango salad and main courses ranging from line caught local sea bass to loin of Brabourne venison, the menu offers a hint of restauranteur Gavin Oakley's background at Le Gavroche.
By the end of my stay, I found myself agreeing whole-heartedly with the hotel's mission statement.
'We do not pretend to be anything other than a place to sleep in comfort, a place to enjoy food and drink sourced and prepared with care, or a place in which to relax and be happy.'
A job well done.



Creative Space is an exhibition of contemporary art produced on "Kent's Creative Coast" and displayed at Wallett's Court Country House Hotel at St Margaret's-at-Cliffe near Dover this spring.

The exhibition will include visually striking external exhibits and art installations located throughout the hotel's extensive grounds above the white cliffs of Dover.

The exhibition is free and can be viewed every day from 9am to 9pm.

The public can also attend a special free preview of the exhibition on Saturday 27 March, where they can meet the artists and show off their own creative skills in workshops held at the hotel.

The exhibiting artists include David Finlay, Lucie Flynn, Martine Caddick, Mike Teddar, Damian Wurst, Liz Finlay, Mel Mishkin and Rory Martin. Their work will be on display until 30 September this year.

Gavin Oakley of Wallett's Court said the region was fast developing a reputation as "Kent's Creative Coast" and the decision to stage an exhibition within the hotel and in its grounds would provide a great showcase for the talents of the local artists.

"St Margarets has long attracted and fostered a strong creative flair among its residents and visitors. From late Victorian times the area has developed as a retreat for a host of literary and artistic greats. Among those who have stayed or lived here include Lord Byron, Sir Henry Maximilian Beerbohm, Noel Coward, Ian Fleming, Marie Corelli and Peter Ustinov.

"Those artistic and creative traditions continue today and for the first time we are throwing the doors of the hotel open to show off a fine collection of contemporary art. We are very excited to be involved in this project," added Gavin.

The Creative Space exhibition forms part of Kent's Big Day Out, the annual event held to promote visitor attractions across the county.


Tim Burton may be taking film fans on a fantasy adventure with his new movie Alice in Wonderland this spring, but down at Wallett's Court Country House Hotel there's a very different kind of magic mushroom…

Take a break at this luxury Jacobean manor house, which sits on the iconic White Cliffs of Dover, and you could find yourself curled up in your own little wonderland - a converted staddle hut.

Once a grain store, this delightful cabin, perched on nine 4ft stone mushrooms in the hotel grounds, has now been fully refurbished to offer cosy accommodation complete with double bed, sofa, toilet, shower, dressing table and a healthy dose of fairytale charm.

If the great outdoors is more your thing, why not spend a night or two under canvas on a 'glamping' break? The 4-star Wallett's Court has just re-opened its giant tipi, which boasts a queen-sized bed, goose down duvet, comfy chairs and luxury soft furnishings.

The tipi, which is 18ft in diameter, comes with heating and electric lighting, outdoor fire pit for that authentic camping experience, plus outdoor seating. Toilets and wash basins are available just a few metres away, and guests can use the showers in the spa between 6.30am and 9pm.

Wallett's Court owner Gavin Oakley said: "With 17 luxury bedrooms in the manor house, converted stables and cow sheds, and a tipi and staddle hut in the gardens, guests have a wonderful choice of luxurious, fun or quirky accommodation. But whatever option they go for, comfort, quality and personal service come as standard.

"All our guests can enjoy the hotel's spa facilities, including pool, sauna, steam room, hydrotherapy spa and fitness studio, as well as tennis courts and croquet lawn. It really is the best of all worlds."

restaurant dover kent

The Restaurant at Wallett's Court Country House Hotel & Spa, on the white cliffs of Dover, has been nominated by The Good Food Guide for The Restaurant of the Year Award.

The accolade recognises excellence and good service at restaurants, pubs and cafes throughout the UK and is awarded to independently owned eateries that use local produce and offer regional dishes and top-quality customer service.

The winning restaurant will be voted for by members of the public across 10 regions in the UK. The Restaurant at Wallett's Court is vying for the South East regional award. Regional winners will be invited to an awards ceremony in London next month, when The Good Food Guide team will select their overall Restaurant of the Year.

The Good Food Guide is produced each year by Which?. Wallett's Court owner Gavin Oakley said: 'We're delighted to have been nominated. Winning a Which? award is one of the most prestigious accolades a restaurant can receive.'

We're very passionate about our food here and have long championed local, free-range, organic, sustainable food sourced from the Kentish coast and countryside.

The Restaurant at Wallett's Court has been included in The Good Food Guide for 21 consecutive years. The 2010 edition describes the Grade II listed hotel as a 'trove of updated 17th century rusticity' with a 'uniquely lived-in feel'. The Guide also praises the hotel's 2 AA rosette restaurant for its 'creative flair' and says it provides a wine list that 'brims with exciting names from prestigious growers across the globe'.

The Bay Restaurant at Wallett's Court's sister hotel, The White Cliffs, in St Margaret's near Dover, also appears in the 2010 edition of the Guide as a Reader Recommendation.

London Unlike
Happy Glamping
For those of you who love to flee the confines of London each Friday after another energy sapping week, there are far worse places to retreat to than the tiny town of Margaret-at-Cliffe in Dover. Just ten minutes from the decidedly dodgy Dover Priory on Network South-East's handy high speed train, rolling emerald hills and cobalt blue skies preside over a quiet, sleepy cluster of friendly pubs and delightful boutique hideaways.
Wallett's Court is a 16th-century Jacobean manor house and secluded spa escape, where boule on the endless lawns and kicking back with a glass of local Kentish champagne are welcome ways to shake off a working hangover. Better still, it's now the proud host of a magnificent luxury tipi the perfect accessory for those who like to 'glamp' in style. Set privately at the back of the hotel's perfectly trimmed hedgerow, a bonifide bed, luxury linens and cashmere throws all await, as does a giant dream catcher to keep the bad spirits away. It's the best of the outdoors, indoors-a concept that also extends to Wallett's Court delectable REN spa; paraben-free and located in discreet, serene cabins in the surrounding forest. Don't miss out on the signature Rose Otto Glow experience, delivered by Kylie's (yes, we have proof) very own personal masseuse. Once bodies and spirits have been tended to, taste-buds get a look in with the hotel's (deserved) 2 AA Rosette starred restaurant. Here, seasonal venison, succulent partridge and local coastal fish come delivered with authentic smiles and the pleasing knowledge that London can't get to you again until Monday. Read on>>>

The Travel Editor
Get past the hectic and rather grimy area of Dover's port and you find yourself in absolutely glorious Kent countryside. In the heart of all this lush greenery is Wallett's Court Country House Hotel.

Wallett's Court is a seventeenth century Jacobean manor house, set in its own private landscaped gardens. If you're looking for Olde Englishe charms, you've come to the right place. Fortunately, Wallett's Court have a decidedly 21st century attitude to comfort and service, so it's no wonder that it has become a stylish bolt hole for city-types seeking sanctuary and foodies who flock there for its outstanding menu.

Choose from a spacious suite, or cosy four-poster bedroom, tucked away at the top of the manor house, or in one of the converted hay barns, stables or cowsheds just a few steps away from the main building. The architecture may be old-world, but the crisp linens, broadband wi-fi, and flat screen TVs are certainly not.

Food is taken very seriously at Wallett's Court; local ingredients and seasonal delights feature heavily. This is beyond doubt a very fine, fine dining experience. Amuse bouche are served in the bar, as you decide between such delicacies as rump of Sussex lamb and sweetbreads, or perhaps an open summer vegetable lasagne with roast tomato coulis and Twineham Grange butter sauce, then the basket of warm fresh-baked bread that arrives while you wait, drooling, for your first course to arrive. Service is friendly, not formal, and I was made to feel more than welcome dining alone. A seat in a window alcove gave me more than enough to look at, from the gardens, alive with wildflowers to the sculptures by local artists.

After all that excess, you'll be glad to know there's also a pool, steam room, sauna, gym and Jacuzzi. But if total indulgence is the plan, then you'll love the spa therapies available in the REN treatment rooms hidden from view, under the trees, just a quick stroll into the forest. Wallett's Court Spa offer a pleasingly full menu of massage, body and beauty treatments, but it's well worth booking ahead to make sure you experience the skilled hands of their in-house therapist to the stars (his client list includes Kylie!), Ben Barnett's signature Tranformational Hydrotherm massage, a treatment truly unlike any other, carried out on a warm cushion of water, part guided meditation, part physical therapy, complete bliss guaranteed.

Talk Talk Travel
Posh camping

If you've never been camping before, but are semi-tempted by the idea, then maybe a bit of glamping would be a good place to start! A keen lover of all things luxury, but relatively experienced in the 'pitch-the-tent-in-the-rain' department, a visit to Wallett's Court Country House Hotel's American Indian tipi in the white cliffs area of Kent, was the perfect break somewhere in between.

Glamorous camping in the grounds of Wallet's Court offers no ordinary tent experience. A lovely American Indian tipi is set in the private gardens, ornately furnished with dream-catchers, animal skins, leather chairs and embellishments. You don't have to sleep on the floor however, there's a sturdy wooden Queen size bed, with a thick comfy mattress and Siberian goose down duvet and pillows that will keep you toasty warm in the autumn, or  provide extra padding to sleep on top of, on a balmy British summer evening. You even get your own log fire to sit around for a sing-song should you desire.

Breakfast isn't on the camp fire however, you'll eat that in the luxury restaurant aswell as dinner. Feast on a delicious three course meal with fine wine and choose from dishes such as rump of Kentish lamb with sweetbreads and Gooseberry crumble soufflé.

You'll shower in the beauty spa which is small, intimate and has everything you need for a relaxing spa afternoon. Have a little swim, followed by a bubbling Jacuzzi and a delicious cold shower to top it all off before dining in the charming restaurant and then retiring to your tipi.

One of the highlights of your glamping experience will surely be indulging in one of the massage treatments on offer. Make sure you ask for Ben, founder of the indulgent hydrotherm treatment, which he has performed on a number of celebs including Kylie Minogue and premiership footballers.  You'll lie down on a warm water-cushion on top of a massage bed for the ultimate in relaxation which allows Ben to massage your back fully without you having to roll over. You'll be in safe hands with Ben who includes Reiki in his practice and will focus on all elements of your mind, body and spirit. Read on>>>


Dover Life Magazine

With its stunning position atop the white cliffs of Dover, uninterrupted views across wild open countryside, and tranquil private treatment cabins nestling in woodland, the spa at Wallett's Court Country House Hotel provides the perfect hideaway, no matter how much 'me' time you have to spare.

Now, the most eco-friendly hotel in Kent has added an extra dimension to its rejuvenating spa experience by launching a range of exquisite, natural REN skincare products and an extensive new selection of holistic treatments.

From luxurious body scrubs, massages, facials and manicures to Reiki, auricular acupuncture, hot stone therapy and reflexology, there's a vast array of massage therapy, body and beauty treatments to suit every need and budget.

And, for the first time, guests at the Wallett's Court spa can also enjoy the benefits of Hydrotherm, one of the most powerful massage systems ever developed.

Drift away as you sink into two pillows of warm water, while our expert therapist uses your own bodyweight to give you the perfect depth of massage - leaving you relaxed, stress-free and emotionally uplifted.

Ben Barnett, spa operations manager and co-founder of the Hydrotherm technique, says: "Hydrotherm combines guided meditation with massage and has enormous benefits. The entire treatment is done laying face-up so there's no turning over, no uncomfortable face holes and no pressure on the ribs.

"It's particularly good for expectant mums, who can enjoy Hydrotherm even in the late stages of pregnancy," adds Ben, whose clients have included pop queen Kylie Minogue, Premiership footballers and world-class athletes.

At Wallett's Court, it's all about the personal touch, says hotel owner Gavin Oakley: "Our spa is small, intimate and very relaxing so you can enjoy a special and unique experience. It doesn't matter if you have an hour, a day or a weekend to spare - sometimes you just need to escape, really chill out and unwind!

"And now that we've introduced our fantastic new REN skincare range and extended our treatment menu, there's even more to enjoy at the Wallett's Court spa.

"Why choose REN? Well, it's the UK's leading natural skincare company and its products are completely free of unfriendly ingredients. That means no synthetic colours or fragrances, no petrochemicals, no detergents. REN's philosophy and caring attitude towards our environment are the same as ours, so it was the perfect partner."

Wallett's Court, in Westcliffe, near Dover, is a beautiful 4-star Jacobean country manor house which has been lovingly restored and converted, along with surrounding Kentish hay barns, stables and cow sheds, to provide 17 bedrooms, including three four-posters.

Its luxury spa features an indoor heated swimming pool, sauna, steam room, hydrotherapy pool and gym. Spa Days start at just £79 per person, including treatment and a light lunch in Wallett's Court's 2 AA rosette restaurant.


If your idea of camping is a cramped tent, bunking down in a sleeping bag and communal shower blocks, then think again.

One Kent hotelier is giving guests the chance to enjoy the great outdoors without giving up the luxury of a 4-star break - by constructing a giant tipi in the grounds of his award-winning Jacobean manor house.

Go 'glamping' (that's posh or glamorous camping) at Wallett's Court Country House Hotel, on the white cliffs of Dover, and you'll find yourself snuggling down in a queen-sized bed, complete with Siberian goose down duvet.

Hotel owner Gavin Oakley has decked out the tipi with wooden flooring made from reclaimed timber, comfy armchairs and soft furnishings from The White Cliffs Trading Company and Lexington Concept Stores, who supply some of the UK's most upmarket retailers, including Harrods.

The tipi comes complete with heating and electric lighting, outdoor fire pit for that authentic camping experience, plus outdoor seating. Says Gavin: "We've also got 24/7 toilets for people staying in the tipi, wash basin facilties just a few metres away, plus showers in the spa which are available from 6.30am to 9pm."

Tipi guests can still enjoy full use of the hotel's spa facilities, including pool, sauna, steam room, hydrotherapy spa and fitness studio, as well as tennis courts and croquet lawn.

Adds Gavin: "We were looking for a quirky and unusual way to make better use of our landscaped gardens and thought the tipi was perfect. It gives people the chance to spend the night under canvas in beautiful surroundings without giving up on their creature comforts. It's the best of both worlds. The tipi's a lot bigger than you might imagine - 18ft in diameter - and is really very cosy.

"The idea's gone down a storm and we've already had lots of bookings. It's something a bit different and I think that's why it's proving so popular."

Alternative accommodation
Big Hospitality Summer 2010

Hotelier and restaurateur Gavin Oakley has just pitched a 21ft diameter tipi in the grounds of his Dover hotel Walletts Court to provide 'a talking point' and an alternative accommodation option for guests.
The white tipi is set within the hotel's seven acres of land and is a striking contrast to the Kent countryside.
The interior, which includes a Queen-sized bed, Siberian goose down duvet and a wooden floor built from reclaimed timber, was designed by the White Cliffs Trading Company and Lexington Concept Stores.
Guests booking the tipi get the experience of camping, but have access to all the luxuries of a hotel. For £65-£75, guests get breakfast in the hotel's dining room and have access to the hotel's spa and grounds. They also get their own private bathroom within the hotel.
Despite only being pitched a month ago, Oakley says the tipi is already attracting a high number of bookings and he is already considering pitching a few more for next summer. "It does give us something else to offer our guests. We're a country house hotel, but we like to think outside the box slightly, and I think this is a good way of using the space we've got.
"The bookings so far are from people who have stayed with us already so it's another excuse for them to come back. I think you have to reinvent yourself and offer your customers something new and exciting to keep them coming back. Even if they stay in the hotel and just look at it in the grounds - it's a talking point for them at least."


A Kent country house hotel is offering guests a unique way of celebrating Battle of Britain Week by giving them the chance to explore the iconic White Cliffs of Dover by land and air.

The 4-star Wallett's Court has teamed up with newly-launched aviation tour company Action Stations to combine a luxury stay at the award-winning hotel with an exclusive flight alongside a Spitfire.

Taking off from Wallett's Court's helipad in an executive helicopter, you'll be above the majestic cliffs within seconds. As the Spitfire wheels into view, take advantage of your bird's-eye view and photograph the Spitfire manoeuvring around your helicopter as it performs a private display above the English Channel.

After your close aerial encounter, touch down at Wallett's Court again for lunch in the hotel's conservatory, where you can watch the Spitfire continue its circuit around the coast.

Says Wallett's Court owner Gavin Oakley: "This is a unique opportunity to get a taste of what it must have been like to encounter a Spitfire at close quarters, as friend or foe, as the Battle of Britain raged in the skies above Kent almost 70 years ago. The hotel is also the perfect base for exploring the White Cliffs on foot and taking in the sights and sounds of an area that played such a pivotal role during what Churchill described as Britain's finest hour."

These exclusive aviation tours are available during Battle of Britain Week for four days only (Sunday September 13 - Wednesday September 16).

Flights cost £261 per person. Options include buffet lunch at Wallett's Court with two glasses of wine for £20 per person; Spitfire private viewing and visit to Spitfire and Hurricane Memorial Museum and RAF Manston History Museum for £50 per person. Transport between Wallett's Court and Manston will be provided. Accommodation at Wallett's Court costs from £64.50 per person for a double room, based on two sharing.

For hotel enquiries, call Wallett's Court on 01304 852424 or email mail@wallettscourt.com. For further details about the hotel, visit www.wallettscourt.com

For all flight enquiries, contact Steve Burt at Action Stations on 01227 721929, email  steve@goactionstations.co.uk; or visit www.goactionstations.co.uk


New figures released by VisitEngland from the United Kingdom Tourism Survey show that holiday trips taken by UK residents in England in the first six months of 2009 are up by 14%. That amounts to 2.6m more holiday trips and more than 9.1m extra night's holiday taken from January to June 2009 over the same period of 2008.

Responding to the VisitEngland report, East Kent hotelier Gavin Oakley has revealed that his business has also bucked the economic recession this year by attracting above-expected numbers of visitors from both the UK and overseas.

"At the beginning of 2009 there was a lot of pessimism about the prospects for the UK's tourism industry in the face of a vicious recession. We were determined to confront this head-on and our hard work and dedication has certainly paid off. By consistently delivering a high quality product and real value for money, bookings for holidays and short breaks have been well above expectations," he added.

Gavin Oakley runs the four star Wallett's Court Country House Hotel and Spa at Westcliffe, near Dover, and the award-winning White Cliffs Hotel at St Margaret's. Innovation is one of the cornerstones of the company's success - when Gavin installed a large tipi in the grounds at Wallett's Court it proved an instant hit with customers, and the tipi has been fully booked for months. Two more tipis have been ordered for 2010 to cope with demand for these highly unusual bedrooms.

"We are also fortunate in south east Kent to enjoy probably the best climate in the UK. The weather during the summer has been superb and this has undoubtedly contributed to attracting people to visit the White Cliffs of Dover," added Gavin.

The VisitEngland report shows that leisure travel in England shows definite signs of consumer optimism, with an increase in spend of 5%  - confirming 2009 as the summer of 'holidaying at home'. Further, VisitEngland focus group research, undertaken in August, indicates that attitudes to domestic travel are undergoing change.  Respondents admit to often knowing more about foreign destinations than those in their home country and claim to have a genuine yearning to experience and learn more about the regions of England.
James Berresford, chief executive of VisitEngland, is pleased with the trend and cautiously optimistic about the future for English tourism. "England is back in fashion as Brits are rediscovering the diversity and appeal of the English holiday. It's a trend that we've seen developing over the course of the last few years and one which we intend to nurture with the help of the tourism industry. We know that people are looking for experiences tailored to their interests, be it a spiritual retreat, an adventure holiday or a chic weekend break - they are now realising that England can deliver all that and more."

VisitEngland's Enjoy Every Minute; Enjoy England television campaign has been on air since 8 September to encourage short breaks and day trips this autumn. The campaign has already reached nearly two thirds of the adult population in England. Link>>>