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Kennaway House: community hub

  • by JW

Kennaway House is an important feature in the Sidmouth landscape:


As its website says, it’s

A beautiful setting for Events,  Weddings, Exhibitions, Workshops and Classes


Kennaway House Logo




And it’s now celebrating its first ten years as a community hub, as reported in the East Devon Resident magazine:


Kennaway House has become a centre of community activity

Kennaway House is ten years old. Its founder, Michael James, looks back – and forward.

It stands at the heart of Sidmouth, close to the sea, a handsome Georgian building fronted by a well-kept lawn.

For ten years now, Kennaway House has been owned and run by a registered charity, as a centre for the arts and the community in East Devon.

The ground floor has high, light rooms which are now the Kennaway Gallery, used for art exhibitions – and wedding ceremonies. A growing number of couples marry there each year. The top floor has a number of meeting rooms for the many groups which use the house – from the book club to Buddhist meditation and classes in, for example, French, Tai Chi and Chinese brush painting.

But it is probably best known for its long Cellar Bar, a classic venue for parties (all ages) and other gatherings. It looks amazing set out for a wedding breakfast, but also hosts musical events and Meet the Author sessions – Colin Dexter was the first writer welcomed, to a packed Cellar in 2010, followed so far by almost 60 others, including Hilary Mantel, Margaret Drabble, Michael Holroyd, Joanna Trollope and Julian Fellowes.

In Folk Week, the lawn turns into a colourful street market, with music in the bar. The house and lawn are used for other big events like Daffodil Day and the Sidmouth Literary, Science and Food Festivals. Kennaway House has been busy right from its start in 2009. It buzzes with activity, with people doing things they enjoy, in a warm and welcoming atmosphere. In ten years, it has firmly established its new identity…

Ten years on, it is hard to imagine the town without Kennaway House; and its Trustees are planning how it can best serve the community in the next ten years – and beyond.

To become a Friend of Kennaway House, or find out more about its work, drop in or phone 01395 515551, email:

Kennaway House has become a centre of community activity