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Historic Sun Hotel in Canterbury once visited by Charles Dickens goes on the market for £1.5m

By Marijke Hall

A historic hotel visited by author Charles Dickens and featured in one of his most famous books is up for sale for £1.5 million.

The Grade II listed Sun Hotel in Sun Street, just metres from the main gate of Canterbury Cathedral, is one of the city's most recognisable buildings and known internationally as Mr Micawber's 'Little Inn' in the novel David Copperfield.

Built in 1480 - despite the plaque outside saying 1503 - the hotel was vacant for some 40 years before part of the downstairs was restored in 1992 and used by department store Debenhams for its cafe.

The Sun Hotel in Sun Street is on the market for £1.55m. Picture: Fine & Country. (14667115)
The Sun Hotel in Sun Street is on the market for £1.55m. Picture: Fine & Country. (14667115)

Thirteen years later, the whole building was taken on and extensively refurbished by Andros Efstratiou, who transformed the derelict property into a seven-bedroom boutique hotel.

He admits his initial intention was to renovate it and sell it on, but he fell in love with the place and stayed put.

"We need to find the right person and I'm happy to wait" - Andros Efstratiou

"We feel it's now time to hand the reins over to new people who will be able to build on what we have already achieved," he said.

"We need to find the right person though and I'm happy to wait.

"It's a lovely building and when you have put your heart and soul into a project like that, you want the right person to buy it."

The historic building was transformed into a seven-bedroom boutique hotel by the current owner. Picture: Fine & Country. (14667111)
The historic building was transformed into a seven-bedroom boutique hotel by the current owner. Picture: Fine & Country. (14667111)

Mr Efstratiou says when he first bought the property it was completely derelict, with no toilets or central heating, and it hadn't been used as a hotel for 75 years.

During the extensive project, he discovered a tunnel running directly to the cathedral, which was used by monks.

"It was an inn back then and they used to come in for an 'ale and a wench' apparently," he said.

"We had to block it up when we took over.

"Charles Dickens also stayed here and it features in one of his books."

Charles Dickens stayed at the historic hotel and it features in his novel David Copperfield. Picture: Fine & Country. (14667107)
Charles Dickens stayed at the historic hotel and it features in his novel David Copperfield. Picture: Fine & Country. (14667107)

He added: "It's a Tudor building and although the plaque outside says it was built in 1502 it was actually 1480."

Mr Efstratiou says the hotel has seven bedrooms with en suites and is still up and running, although the tea room and restaurant is closed.

The building sits next to Cousins jewellers with some of the rooms above the shop.

The property, marketed by Fine & Country in Watling Street, still has the signature Tudor herringbone brickwork and beams, and has a mixture of suites, including a family one, and double rooms.

One of the bedrooms, which has a carved four poster bed, beamed walls and a fireplace, is where Charles Dickens is reputed to have stayed.

For more information see https://www.fineandcountry.com/uk/property-for-sale/canterbury/ct1-2hx/1326608

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