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Janet Wilson's 'gnome house' in Sandgate near Folkestone attracts big crowds

A quirky 'gnome house' in Kent has become an unlikely tourist attraction - with 3,000 people making a special trip to see the impressive collection.

The cheeky characters belong to Janet Wilson, 60, and her daughters Karina, 18 and Adel, 22, from Sandgate near Folkestone, who have now gained an online fan base.

Janet Wilson and her daughters Adel and Karina with their collection of Asda gnomes. Picture: Asda
Janet Wilson and her daughters Adel and Karina with their collection of Asda gnomes. Picture: Asda

The trio bought their first garden friend three months ago as a joke but the collection has now grown to more than 40, with more being added daily.

The happy-looking ornaments sit on a glass balcony at their seafront home, which has now been dubbed the 'gnome house'.

The small figures are popular with tourists and residents who visit daily by bike, bus, car and on foot, with Janet estimating more than 3,000 people have now photographed the collection.

Janet has also had people knocking on her door to tell her the cute statues made their day.

She said: "It started as a joke when me and my daughters saw the bridal gnomes in Asda and thought it would be funny to have one outside on the balcony.

An Asda gnome relaxes by the sea outside the Wilson's home. Picture: Asda
An Asda gnome relaxes by the sea outside the Wilson's home. Picture: Asda

"We liked it so much we went back the next day for more.

"At the moment I'm trying to find more of the older Asda gnomes if I can.

"I have been looking on eBay and everywhere.

"People know us as the gnome house.

"We get so many tourists it's gotten to the point where we go out on the balcony and just wave in the photographs.

"Everyone just laughs when they see them. I haven’t ever known anything make people smile so much.

"I haven’t ever known anything to make people smile so much..." - Janet Wilson

"They just bring so much happiness.”

Among the collection is a fairy gnome, a scuba diving gnome, an Elvis gnome and a sunbathing gnome.

The family have now set up social media accounts for their growing collection and make up stories to share with fans.

So far the ceramic figurines have been captured in the cockpit of a plane, playing the harp, hiding in castles and singing in a recording studio.

Janet added: "We have had so much fun with the gnomes.

"We were in Greece and I had someone call me and ask me if the lonely gnome we posted about on Facebook had found love yet!

Janet Wilson on her balcony with a collection of cheeky Asda gnomes. Picture: Asda
Janet Wilson on her balcony with a collection of cheeky Asda gnomes. Picture: Asda

"People ask if I struggle to make the stories up about the gnomes, but the stories just come to me so easily.

"I write, so I have lots of creative ideas and we give them all names.

"We sometimes take the gnomes back into Asda to see their friends.

"When it was the heatwave the other day, one of them was in the freezer cooling down!"

The family are also launching a ‘forever gnome home’ for old, unloved gnomes searching for a seaside retreat to retire to.

Janet also has plans for a gnome family tree, a big Christmas display and will take one of her new friends on a luxury holiday.

She said: "We can't tell you where we're going, because we want it to be a surprise for our followers, but we can say that a gnome is going on a cruise to distant shores."

To follow Janet and her gnomes, visit @gnomebalcony on Instagram and ‘Gnome Balcony’ on Facebook.

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