Britain’s most luxurious tree house belongs to builder Chris Whalley. The incredible abode that he unveiled just last week took him over seven months and £60,000 ($98,000) to build. Located in Blean, Kent, Whalley’s tree house is made almost entirely out of driftwood that he gathered from a nearby beach and is meant to be his holiday home. What’s most unique about the house itself is that it comes with all the comforts a five-star hotel has to offer, including plumbing, electricity and even a rustic décor that goes very well with the natural surroundings.
I must say that I’ve fallen in love with this quaint little house, just looking at the pictures of the interiors. There’s something so charming about the place that it reminds me of the Beatrix Potter books I read as a child; of course, with some modern conveniences as well. The beds are covered with the finest Egyptian cotton linen, and the bathrobes and towels are from Waters and Noble. The kitchen crockery is also top of the range. Some of the pieces of luxury furniture in the house are well worth over £1,500. Everything inside the house is one-of-a-kind, including the concrete-wood effect kitchen worktop and the tree trunk sink. As if all this wasn’t good enough, Whalley’s house even comes with an elevated hot tub, for the ultimate experience in luxury. The entire construction rests 20ft above the ground on a 25 ft red cedar tree, making it not only the most deluxe habitable tree house in England, but also the highest. It is located among other holiday log cabins that Whalley built six years ago. Naturally, the view from the house is brilliant.
For all the conveniences that Whalley’s house provides, it’s surprising how he managed to keep costs pretty low. Well, for one thing, he only used scraps of wood that he found at a builder’s merchant and also piles of driftwood collected from the Whitstable beach located nearby. He built the cabin almost entirely without the use of scaffolding; he mainly went up and down the tree with the help of ropes. He must be a pretty strong guy to have built an entire house that way. Whalley is 54 years old and had help from his wife Michelle, 48, and their six children, who also salvaged scrap materials to build the beds, tables and cupboards.
A grandfather of four, he got the idea for the house when a little girl staying in one of his cabins nagged him for a tree house. A family with young children had come to stay and when one of the young girls tried to climb a tree, Whalley told her it wasn’t safe. But if she came back next year, he promised her a tree house. The family did come back the next year, and as promised, a children’s play house was waiting for the kids. Inspired by this event, Whalley decided he could do a lot more with the humble tree house. “One night me and Michelle were staying in the log cabin, and sat in the hot tub with a glass of wine and I said, “I’m bored” – I needed something to do,” he says. “I said I wanted to build a tree house at the top of the garden and that was it. I built it from scratch. It was a bit ambitious and I’m glad it’s over – it’s half-killed me.”
Of the tree house itself, Whalley has quite a lot to say. “There are several tree houses in Britain, but none are habitable,” he says. “People often have to go abroad to France if they want to stay in one. We have had nothing but good responses so far.” But things weren’t always too easy for Whalley when he was building the house. The couple’s dream almost got squashed when the Blean Parish Council received several complaints and objections about the project. But they took on all the challenges, and finally received permission to go ahead with construction in October 2011. They began in March 2012 and completed the project this October. Now, customers from as far away as the US and Australia make bookings at the tree house, which is priced between £150 ($245) and £200 ($490) a night. It’s already scored a five-star rating on Trip Advisor and is one of the must-visit places in the UK. Make sure you don’t miss it if you plan on vacationing in the area.
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