Almost 175 years ago this month, the novella A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens was originally published. So it’s perhaps apt that Fort House, the stunning residence that was the frequent summer retreat of Dickens somewhere between 1837 to 1851, has come on to the market.
The mansion stands prominently at the top of a hill that overlooks Viking Bay on the eastern coast of Kent in the UK. Rechristened Bleak House, the 1801 residence, built for a local fort captain during the Napoleonic Wars, also provided the inspiration for John Jarndyce’s home in the Dickens novel of that title.
Bleak House, currently operating as a successful heritage hotel and events venue, has now been offered for sale at more than £5 million. James Painter, listing agent and managing director of agents Terence Painter, says: “The current owners have extensively restored this amazing property, which retains a multitude of grand and quirky features, including the rooms Dickens stayed in, such as the small study where he wrote that looks straight out across the sea.”
According to the listing, the study is decorated with a wealth of personal items from Dickens’ day, including the writing desk he sat in and put pen to paper. But that’s not all you’ll find. The lower ground floor has been retained as a ‘Smugglers’ Museum’, with its original mahogany grand staircase, prison cells, underground inn, and some fireplaces that date back to Dickens. Access to the museum is via a glazed wooden door located in the inner hallway adjacent to the kitchen.
On the ground floor, there are several dining areas, a lounge and bar, a kitchen and doors to the sea facing a courtyard. The first and second floors offer seven bedrooms, some with en-suite bathrooms.
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