Retirement Living

With its long private drive, Great Hall and extensive library, Wildernesse House, in Sevenoaks, Kent, exudes the air of a majestic country residence.
And indeed, it once was. In 1803 its owner, the first Marquess of Camden, commissioned the architect George Dance to enlarge the house that had stood on the site for centuries and surround it with the formal paved terraces and parterre gardens that still exist today.
However, it was not until the house was sold in 1884 to Charles Henry Mills, later Lord Hillingdon, that it was transformed into a glorious stately home that is now a Grade II listed building.
Today, this grand mansion has been reinvented yet again: it has become a unique and exceptional retirement community developed by Elysian Residences.
Wildernesse House now has 23 luxurious one and two-bedroom apartments and eight newly built contemporary mews houses, all of which have access to on-site, five-star hotel-style facilities. These include a cocktail/coffee bar, the Pavilion restaurant, and a health spa. Among the 24 acres of surrounding parkland are leafy walking paths, lush gardens and even a croquet lawn.
Arriving along the chestnut tree-lined drive (planted in 1509 to commemorate King Henry VIII’s marriage to Catherine of Aragon), visitors enter through a pillared stone portico, leading into an entrance hall with a custom-designed concierge desk that creates the ambience of a luxury boutique hotel.
The reception area leads in to the Great Hall. This was the principal state room created by Mills, and it features 18ft ceilings, a baronial fireplace, parquet flooring and full-height windows.
The apartments in the main house all have individual layouts that are beautifully spacious and light, with large, open-plan living, dining and kitchen areas.

Above: The Pavilion restaurant and the bathroom of one of the apartments in the main house
Close to the main house is a terrace of new two-bedroom houses, designed in Scandinavian style with balconies and covered terraces.
The fully fitted designer kitchens in the apartments and houses have customdesigned units and cabinets, with stone worktops, marble splashbacks and integrated appliances. The principal bedroom suites have fitted wardrobes and bathrooms clad in stone tiles, with rainforest showers and heated towel rails.
The health spa – for residents and guests – offers a sauna, steam room, treatment rooms, a gym and a swimming pool.
The Pavilion restaurant is exquisitely designed to reinterpret a traditional Victorian glasshouse that once stood on the estate. Ingredients are locally sourced, and there’s a café, and a private dining area. Beyond the formal gardens homeowners can visit the estate’s orchard, which is bordered by wildflower meadows.
‘What makes Wildernesse House so special is that it is staffed by a superbly well-trained Elysian team whose purpose is to attend to the needs and requirements of the homeowners,’ says Gavin Stein, chief executive of Elysian Residences. ‘This is a stately home transformed into the most luxurious and exceptional retirement community in the Home Counties. It sets a new benchmark for quality, but with a rich heritage and all the amenities of a fivestar hotel.’
Prices at Wildernesse House start from £625,000 for mews houses and from £970,000 for apartments in the main house (other fees apply). Visit or call 0203 918 7997 for details.