Britain's ‘oldest home’ sold for £2 million. Imagery supplied courtesy of Bettesworths Chartered Surveyors / Dirty Martini PR.
Britain's ‘oldest home’ sold for £2 million. Imagery supplied courtesy of Bettesworths Chartered Surveyors / Dirty Martini PR.

Britain’s ‘oldest home’ sold for £2 million

5 min


Kents Cavern: sale of prehistoric caves and visitor attraction attract worldwide interest.

A stunning home with breathtaking views, which comes complete with a unique set of prehistoric caves, has been successfully marketed by Bettesworths Chartered Surveyors at a guide price of £2 – £2.5m.

Unsurprisingly, the sale attracted significant interest from around the world after it went on the market in mid-May. Completion happened in early August.

The caves have been a huge attraction since they opened in 19th century. The same family have looked after them since 1903.

The caves are an essential part of the English Riviera UNESCO Global Geopark, which celebrates the geological heritage of the area.

Kents Cavern is considered to be one of the most important Stone Age sites in Europe and was formed more than 2.5 million years ago. It’s made up of an extensive system of caves and was once occupied by prehistoric humans along with Ice Age animals.

Since the discovery of the caves, more than 80,000 stone age artefacts have been found.

Experts even came across a prehistoric upper jawbone fragment which is believed to be the ‘oldest anatomically modern human fossil’ discovered in Northwestern Europe.

Marketing experts point to Kents Cavern’s award-winning visitor attraction which offers tours of the caves alongside its shop and restaurant / café area. There is also a visitor centre and holiday let in the heart of Torquay, Devon.

They go on to explain how the stunning coastal location ensures it’s a highly profitable year-round business.

‘A piece of history in a stunning coastal location.’

With daytime and evening non-weather dependent trading, the business also offers events such as weddings, a cinema, Santa’s grotto, an underground theatre, yoga, corporate receptions and private hire.

The sale of Kents Cavern presented a unique opportunity to own a piece of history in a stunning coastal location.

The caves have attracted in excess of 10 million visitors from all over the world and the sale offered the chance to invest in the heritage and culture of the area.

The business was offered to the market with a strong financial performance record together with a dedicated and experienced team of staff. The attraction has an established reputation for excellence in customer service.

The sale included the underground caverns, woodland trail, visitor centre and restaurant/cafe, car park, surrounding land, and a recently refurbished luxury three-bedroom holiday let or owner’s accommodation.

The announcement of the availability of Kents Cavern generated a huge wave of publicity and significant interest from investors, entrepreneurs, operators, the cultural heritage sector and businesses in the tourism industry, both locally, regionally and internationally.

A sale was agreed within two weeks of the launch of the marketing.

The sale concluded quickly with Dominic Hollingsworth and his team at Wollens in Torquay acting for the seller, and Stuart Hutson at Temple Bright acting for the purchaser.

‘A wonderful and unique attraction.’

Kents Cavern has been purchased by The Tudor Hotel Collection Ltd. The company is already well established in the West Country, having developed the award-winning Bodmin Jail Visitor Attraction and Hotel in Cornwall.

The group are already represented in Torbay, having purchased the Redcliff Hotel in Paignton.

‘Kents Cavern is a wonderful and unique attraction and we are very excited to continue the amazing work of Nick, Sheena and their family,’ says Rob Cox, CEO of Tudor Hotels.

‘It’s wonderful to be actively engaged in bringing the rich history of England to people from all over the world.’

‘Adding Kents Cavern to our collection alongside the Bodmin Jail Museum, The Bodmin Jail Hotel and The Redcliffe Hotel is a proud moment for us and underpins our commitment to collating the finest collection of historic hotels and visitor attractions.’ 

The current owners of Kents Cavern, Nick & Sheena Powe, have expressed their gratitude to their loyal customers and staff for their support over the years.

They are proud of the legacy that their family has created and believe that the new owner will be able to continue to provide visitors with a unique and memorable experience and take the business to new heights.

Incredible response to marketing.

‘The family are delighted to have found an experienced operator to continue caring for the caves, continuing my family’s legacy established over the last 120 years,’ says Nick Powe.

‘I have no doubt the caves, managed by the same excellent team, will go from strength to strength.’

‘For me, this investment is yet another demonstration that the English Riviera is well on track to become one of the best visitor destinations in Britain, and Kents Cavern, Britain’s oldest home, will be playing a significant part in that.’

‘For that, I am very proud and pleased to have passed the caves on to this new owner.’

‘We were delighted to be instructed to sell this totally unique business and were blown away by the response to our marketing,’ says Matt Bettesworth, Director of Bettesworths and agent for the sale.

‘We would like to take this opportunity to wish Nick and Sheena Powe all the very best for the future and hope they take a well-earned rest after all their hard work and dedication at Kents Cavern.’

‘We would also like to congratulate Tudor Hotels and wish them every success with the caves. Knowing their track record, their ownership will undoubtedly benefit Kents Cavern and we look forward to hearing their plans for the attraction in due course.’

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