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Smallhythe Place, Tenterden

#4 of 11 in Things to do in Tenterden
Smallhythe Place in Small Hythe, near Tenterden in Kent, is a half-timbered house built in the late 15th or early 16th century and since 1947 cared for by the National Trust. The house was originally called 'Port House' and before the River Rother and the sea receded it served a thriving shipyard: in Old English hythe means "landing place".It was the home of the Victorian actress Ellen Terry from 1899 to her death in the house in 1928. The house contains Ellen Terry's theatre collection, while the cottage grounds include her rose garden, orchard, nuttery and the working Barn Theatre.Terry first saw the house in the company of Henry Irving, the manager of the Lyceum Theatre in London's Covent Garden, with whom she shared a famous theatrical partnership for nearly 24 years. The house was opened to the public by Terry's daughter Edith Craig in 1929, as a memorial to her mother. The National Trust supported Craig in her running of the museum from 1939, and took over the property when she died in 1947.Smallhythe Place contains many personal and theatrical mementoes, including two walls devoted to David Garrick and Sarah Siddons. Other exhibits include a message from Sarah Bernhardt, a chain worn by Fanny Kemble, Sir Arthur Sullivan's monocle and a visiting card from Alexandre Dumas. There are also several paintings by the artist Clare Atwood, one of the romantic companions of Edith Craig.
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
179 reviews
  • August 18, 2017
    An amazing piece of architecture, small and quirky amazingly undulating floors. If you are interested in early English theatre the exhibits give you an insight into the people and costumes of the day....  more »
  • August 5, 2017
    Although I did not know anything about this actress (I'm german), it was nice visiting this site. Well tended old house. It was mentioned that on special dates there are still some theater events. Che...  more »
  • July 31, 2017
    Smallhythe Place in Kent is a 16th-century house and cottage gardens built in the early 16th-century when Smallhythe was a thriving shipbuilding port. The gardens include a cottage garden, a vintage t...  more »
  • Amazing place with plenty to see and do. The building itself is steeped in entertainment history and nestled in beautiful gardens where you are free to bring along your own lunch - though I would highly recommend the tearoom. Driving in the surrounding area brings great views also.
  • Small premises but great cafe and very knowledgeable guides .Quite near the East Sussex Railway so combine the two.
  • Building is lovely but only really of note because of its association with historical figures.
  • Yes - Smallhythe Place is a 15th-16th half timbered house. The real interest is in who lived there. Ellen Terry - and mega star of the late 1800s - into the 20th century. Recently heard her described is an Victorian "Judy Dench". More realistically Judy Dench is almost as well know as Ellen Terry was in her time. She played most of the major roles in Shakespeare - both the female and Male parts. The house is stuffed with theatrical memorabilia and her costumes and jewelry BTW- She was also John Gielgud's aunt.
  • Small but interesting house to look around with an area of history I knew little about.

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