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The Salutation in Sandwich

The Salutation has a £4.5m price tag

by Sue Briggs

The Salutation in Sandwich has gone on the market for £4.5million.

The Grade I-listed manor house was designed by famous architect Sir Edwin Lutyens.

It was bought by Dominic Parker nine years ago with a vision to restore the home and Gertrude Jekyll gardens.

The country house is now a hotel in the city walls, but it is possible the buyer will not open the grounds to the public.

Mr Parker said: “I don’t intend to close the gardens until the end of October, so it is business as usual. But keeping in mind people may not see them again, come and visit now!”

The 3.5-acre site lies off Knightrider Street, close to the River Stour, and was lost to a wilderness until the successful restoration and re-planting programme by a team of gardeners.

Mr Parker, married to Stephanie, said: “The Salutation is hard work and not really working for us as a family now the children are growing up. It is time for a change after nine years, but I will miss it as it is a beautiful place.

“It is a big responsibility and we were always aware we were just another custodian. We have done our bit and quite excited about having new people coming in.”

Dominic Parker owner of the Salutation at Sandwich

Dominic Parker is selling the Salutation at Sandwich

He is hoping his team of gardeners, led by Steve Edney, will continue to be employed by the new owners of the property, also known as The Secret Gardens of Sandwich.

Mr and Mrs Parker are hoping to stay in Sandwich after the sale of the house.

It was built by Sir Edwin Lutyens in 1912 for William, Gaspard and Henry Farrer as a weekend retreat for them to enjoy the coastal air.

The property was featured on Channel 4’s Four In A Bed programme earlier this year when it was given a record score for its B&B.

Apart from the main house with it seven bedroom suites, The Salutation also has a self-contained wing and accommodation in the garden including a gardener’s cottage and gatehouse. The agents are Knight Frank on 01892 515035.

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Danny Boyle

Hot shows? Hit films? Addictive television series? I invariably miss out. I’ve never seen Star Wars. I’m miles behind on The Crown and I just know that Hamilton will come and go without me. I’ve never even watched Gogglebox for goodness’ sake, not a single episode since it began in 2013, though I do know about its tippling toff stars Steph and Dom Parker – who left the show in 2016 – because I was asked to take part in their latest series One Star to Five Star. But that clapped-out formula – find-a-failing-hotel-and-help-them-improve-it – is anathema to me and I declined.

But – irony – I now find myself in the Parkers’ guesthouse, the very one whose role in Channel 4’s Four in a Bed propelled them towards stardom on Gogglebox. Installed on their famous sofa, they goggled the box over many series, drinks in hand. They had bought The Salutation in 2004 as a family home and gradually transformed it into a guesthouse while still living in situ.

It’s pretty special. Designed in 1911 by Sir Edwin Lutyens in Queen Anne style, it was one of the first 20th-century buildings to be given a Grade I listing, in 1950. Lutyens also designed the gardens; they were a wreck when Steph and Dom took them on and employed Steve Edney as dedicated head gardener. He has superbly restored the gardens and created a living, evolving project, open daily to the public. This outdoor space is also a great asset for The Salutation’s guests, gazing across the various themed “garden rooms” and along the magnificent cylindrical holm oak walk.

The Salutation Gardens

The Salutation Gardens are open from 10am until 5pm (or nightfall in winter).

The Salutation Gardens are widely recognised as amongst the finest in the country. In recognition of this, in 2019 we were awarded RHS Partner Garden status, making us part of an elite and exclusive club. Dipping a toe into show-world (almost unheard of for a country-house garden) we were humbled to take Gold on our debut at Chelsea Flower Show, shortly followed up with Best in Show at Royal Hampton Court Garden Festival for our sophomore effort (having taken gold on debut in 2018).

The Salutation Gardens are a plant lover’s paradise. Designed in 1912 by architect Sir Edwin Lutyens, the 3.7 acres are divided into a series of symmetrical “rooms”, each with a different purpose, gathered around a unifying theme.

The effect is one of endlessly unfolding space, with wonderful surprises presented around each corner. The planting style is a dynamic infusion of old and new. Our gardens reveal themselves sequentially through the seasons, and are constantly developing as we see long-term projects and drawing-board concepts come dramatically to life.

This plant driven design incorporates an eclectic mix of heirloom, rare and drought-tolerant plants used thoughtfully to create longer seasons of interest. Careful consideration is given to the unique challenges and opportunities presented by the gardens’ easterly location, soil type, rainfall and protection from wind behind 4 acres of walls.

Within our gardens sits The Salutation, a charming hotel and restaurant, and a true Lutyens masterpiece. The first 20th Century building to be granted Grade I listing, it is set within the glorious medieval town of Sandwich, nestled on the banks of the River Stour.

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The business running the former home of Gogglebox stars Steph and Dom Parker has declared bankruptcy leaving 33 people without jobs.

Staff at The Salutation in Sandwich were sent home from work on Friday after being delivered the news.

Steph and Dom Parker own the property but have a five-year-lease with John Fothergill Picture: Alan Langley

The doors to the Grade I listed manor house remains shut and all bookings for both its 17 boutique bedrooms and 60-seat restaurant have been cancelled.

This includes bookings made for during The Open 2020 golf championship which is being hosted in the same town in July.

Its gardens, The Secret Gardens of Sandwich, is also out of bounds with the award winning gardening team also left without work.

The business was being run by John Fothergill who has a five-year lease with owners Steph and Dom Parker, formerly of the popular Channel 4 show.

He has been running it as The Salutation Hotel Ltd since 2016.

The doors to the Salutation in Sandwich remain shut Picture: Lizzie Copestake

Dom Parker told KentOnline said: “We are sorry to confirm that The Salutation Hotel Ltd, which has been managing The Salutation has indeed become insolvent.

“We are in discussions with other interested parties and we aim to have the hotel back up and running very soon, under new management.

“Our thoughts are with the staff who have been affected by this.”

It is understood all jobs would then be reinstated.

KentOnline has made attempts to approach Mr Fothergill for a comment via the company’s email and telephone number but to no avail.

The Grade I listed manor house features stunning gardens which are also closed Picture: Tony Flashman

The TV couple first set eyes on The Salutation and the Secret Gardens of Sandwich in 2004 and spent five years restoring both attractions to the glory they had when architect Sir Edwin Lutyens designed them in 1912.

Speaking in 2009, Mr Parker commented on the high price of maintenance, saying: “I had no idea it was going to cost so much to run with all the gardeners and ancillary staff that come with it but it was like finding a diamond in a river and I thought ‘oh my God I have got to have that’.” The pair now reside in London.

Mr Fothergill took over in 2016 and reopened the venue in the summer of 2017 after a major renovation programme aimed at making the hotel and restaurant a prime destination.

He welcomed a new Michelin star head chef, Shane Hughes.

2019 was an award winning year for the gardening team who took home the Tudor Rose gold award at Chelsea Flower Show.

Read more: All the latest news from Sandwich

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Eleanor Perkins

GOGGLEBOX stars Steph and Dom became endeared the nation with their hilarious comments and banter.

The married pair became household names thanks to the hit Channel 4 show, and now Dom is donning his chef’s hat as he takes part in this year’s Celebrity MasterChef. Find out more below…

4 Steph and Dom rose to fame with their boozy antics on GoggleboxCredit: Supplied by PLANET PHOTOS

Who is Dom Parker?

Dom Parker is a guest house owner – alongside his wife Steph – known for starring in Channel 4’s Gogglebox from 2013-2016.

When the husband and wife duo are not being telly stars, they run a successful B&B called The Salutation – which is based in Sandwich, Kent.

They shot to fame thanks to their love of booze and their charming manner on Gogglebox.

Dom appeared in the second series of The Jump where he suffered a concussion.

And now Dom is hoping to impress the judges on Celebrity MasterChef.

When did Dom marry Steph and do they have kids?

Dom tied the knot with Steph in 1998.

The couple have two children, Max, 18, and Honor, 15.

As well as starring in Gogglebox, the pair also took part in the celebrity version of Channel 4’s Hunted in 2017.

4 Dom is hoping to impress the judges in Celebrity MasterChef

Why did Dom and Steph quit Gogglebox?

In October 2017 The Sun revealed how the dynamic duo had left the hit show indefinitely.

They told us: “We think it’s important that everyone gets their chance to be on Gogglebox and give their opinion, and having been on it from the beginning we felt like we’d pretty much said all we needed to say, and we knew what we were going to say.”

The comedy couple first appeared on Channel 4’s Four in a Bed in 2013 – a show where hotel and B&B owners are asked to stay at, and rate, each other’s places.

From this they got spotted and were approached to do Gogglebox.

Talking about Four in a Bed, the couple said: “We agreed to do it simply as a way to get the name of The Salutation a little more widely known, but it turned out to be a lot of fun – even though we didn’t win!

“And in turn, led to us being asked to appear on Gogglebox.

“The rest, as they say, is history.”

Steph and Dom have proved to be one of the most iconic couples featured on the show, thanks to their boozing and hilarious comments about the programmes they watch.

How is Dom doing on Masterchef?

Dom has been getting stuck into the latest series of Masterchef.

The telly star impressed the judges with his beef straganoff and saffron basmati rice creation.

But it hasn’t all been plain sailing, Dom managed to burn and blister his hands in one challenge on a piping hot pan.

Because of his injury he was unable to finish the rest of the challenge much to his disappointment.

4 Steph and Dom have been married for nearly 20 yearsCredit: Twitter

When is Celebrity MasterChef 2019 on TV?

Celebrity MasterChef officially kicked off on September 2, 2019 at 9pm on BBC One.

The show airs on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

The Monday and Wednesday episodes are on for a full hour, starting at 9pm and 8pm.

As usual John Torode and Gregg Wallace will be having their taste buds tantalised by the celeb hopefuls including Dom.

4 Steph and Dom have two children, Max and HonorCredit: Channel 4

Who is their disabled son Max and what have they said about medical cannabis?

The couple have opened up about their son Max who has a mental age of six and is disabled, autistic and suffers from severe epilepsy.

Speaking to the MailOnline, Steph and Dom told how when Max was a baby they noticed he was “jerky” and he was diagnosed with “infant spasms” at just four months old.

He underwent treatment with daily injections and appeared to be cured but the seizures started again when he was four.

In devastating news for the couple, they were told his condition would only worsen as time went on.

In January 2019, Dom spoke out saying that he thinks cannabis could save his son’s life as he revealed the 18-year-old suffers 120 seizures a day and is “trapped at age six”.

Documentary Steph and Dom: Can Cannabis Save Our Son?, which was shown on Channel 4, saw the couple open up about their battle to look after their son and get him the best treatment.

Can you stay at Steph and Dom’s guesthouse, The Salutation?

The Salutation guest house is located in Sandwich in Kent.

The stunning accommodation boasts 17 rooms, three private cottages, endless acres of garden and also doubles as a luxury hotel.

Prices vary and it is open all year round.

So if you fancy staying where Steph and Dom used to film Gogglebox, head to www.the-salutation.com to book.

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