Girls frequently travel to events and activities in London, the bustling modern town of Royal Tunbridge Wells is only a short drive away, and girls here are lucky to be just an hour from the seaside and from Bluewater shopping centre.
Girls at Benenden get the best of both worlds: life in a safe and picturesque rural location with regular trips into large towns, to the seaside and into London.
To make life even easier for families, Benenden also organises pupils’ travel arrangements at weekends and the ends of term.
Interactive school map
Pupils at Benenden are fortunate to have such wonderful facilities, and being in a boarding environment means that the girls can make the most of them from the morning right through to the evening.
1 Main Building
Welcome to Benenden!
The first stop for families on their initial visit is the beautiful main building. The vast Entrance Hall will become familiar to Benenden girls as a venue for musical performances, social events and, perhaps most importantly, where sweet treats are handed out for pupils who have earned lots of rewards, known as Pink Slips!
The red carpeted staircase takes you up to Hemsted, one of our six boarding Houses for the Lower School. Find out more
Hemsted dates to the late 1800s and was remodelled in the early 1900s into the Tudor-cum-Jacobean style we see today.
Linked to Hemsted, Norris is another Lower School boarding House and occupies the top two floors of this charming wing of the main building. On the ground floor are offices, with Modern Languages classrooms above.
3 Dining Hall and Café
Food plays an important part in the life of any Benenden girl! The School is renowned for the quality of its food and girls will spend many hours with their friends during meals and breaktimes in the Dining Hall and the adjoining Café, whose modern design and comfortable seating offers a relaxed coffee house-type vibe.
4 Centenary Hall
The Centenary Hall and the adjoining Sir David K.P. Li Music School represent the most ambitious building project in Benenden’s history. The facilities feature a 750-seater Hall with retractable seating, the smaller Bonnie Yeung-Tsang Recital Hall with 150 seats, the stunning multi-use Jat Atrium leading onto the beautiful Seniors’ Courtyard, a media suite and more than 20 music practice rooms.
The heart of Benenden life – where the whole School gathers most mornings to celebrate and contemplate – The Hall is integral to the girls, a venue for everything from dance socials and roller discos to concerts, debates and the Benenden Diploma graduation ceremony.
5 The Chapel
A very calm and uplifting place, our beautiful School Chapel was built in 1956 and was refurbished in 2008. Compared to some of the larger facilities at Benenden, the Chapel offers pupils a smaller, more intimate space that is perfect for reflection.
The main features include a font made by Canterbury Pottery, a stunning walnut Altar bearing the Latin inscription Ubi caritas et amor, meaning love and charity, and the extraordinary window designed by Leonie Seliger of the Canterbury Cathedral Stained Glass Studio; it bears the words Be strong and of good courage, the Lord your God is with you, taken from the School reading from the Book of Joshua. Following the refurbishment, the School Chapel, originally dedicated by Archbishop Fisher, was rededicated by the Bishop of Dover.
The School Chapel is used for some Sunday Services, midweek Services, Fourth, Upper Fourth and Lower Fifth Prayers, Confirmation Classes, Bible Studies and much more! As importantly, the School Chapel is always open for pupils, staff and parents to find a quiet place away from the hubbub of daily life. A Prayer Book is available to write Intentions in and the Chaplain is always on hand to be a listening ear.
6 The DuCharme Cloisters
The beautiful Cloisters, dedicated to Mrs Gillian DuCharme in honour of her years as Headmistress, offers a tranquil area for pupils to gather. Bathed in wisteria during the Spring, the Cloisters is one of the most iconic parts of Benenden.
Encircling this lovely space are classrooms, with Art studios above, and LASS (Lime Avenue Sales and Service), the School’s shop, is nestled in the corner.
7 The West Wing
Refurbished in 2018, the West Wing links Cloisters to the Music Wing and features staff offices as well as classrooms devoted to Music and SEND teaching spaces.
When the Music School is built, pupils will be able to flow between the West Wing and the new Music School and the fresh, modern design in the West Wing gives an indication of the quality that we can expect from the new facility.
8 All-Weather Pitch
Opened in September 2016, the All-Weather Pitch and adjacent Pavilion significantly enhances the Sport teaching facilities at the School.
The sand-dressed artificial turf offers flexible pitch formats: both a full-size Lacrosse and Hockey pitch and it is used for Tennis during the Summer. Crucially, floodlights allow girls to train into the evening.
The accompanying Pavilion includes changing rooms for players and officials, as well as catering facilities, together with covered and terraced spectator areas. This fantastic facility quickly proved its worth: after the first season of training on it, our 1st Lacrosse team were named National Champions!
9 Science Centre
One of the most recognisable of Benenden’s buildings, the Science Centre was opened in 2012. Science has long been one of Benenden’s biggest success stories and this purpose-built centre continually expands the School’s proud tradition of encouraging girls to pursue careers in the scientific fields.
The centre’s facilities are equal to those of many universities. With a floor each dedicated to Physics, Biology and Chemistry, the centre features 14 fully-equipped laboratories, each sharing the same rooms as teaching spaces so that lessons can instantly switch from theory to practical learning.
In addition the ground floor houses the 150-seat Weston Lecture Theatre, eco-boiler and anechoic chamber, a room designed to completely absorb reflections of either sound or electromagnetic waves.
The imaginative inclusion of a dramatic Atrium soaring up three storeys provides an area for exhibitions, social events and activities involving large groups. Girls and parents have watched important events on the Atrium’s big screen, such as Jeremy Corbyn’s first PMQs and the 2018 World Cup Quarter-Final!
The Science Centre opens onto the Oulton Quad, dedicated to Mrs Claire Oulton in honour of her years as Headmistress. The Quad has a real university campus feel to it and is particularly well-used by Sixth-Formers on their scooters!
10 Study Centre and Eugenia Leung Library
The Study Centre is the home of the English and Maths departments, with the School’s Computing suite and Library downstairs. The Eugenia Leung Library offers a dedicated space for research, revision and quiet reading. It is incredibly well-stocked with books, journals, DVDs and periodicals, as well as with desktop computers.
The Library staff offer reading lists for different year groups and each week they recommend a particular book for girls to try.
This lovely modern building, with its distinctive two-storey window overlooking the neighbouring Tennis courts, features bright and spacious classrooms, primarily used for Humanities subjects.
It also houses two support departments which are of particular importance to the girls during their time at Benenden: the IT Department and the Medical Centre.
12 Design and Technology Centre
This striking building is an appropriate home for our Design and Technology Department.
The purpose-built facilities feature a Computer-Aided Design studio and an extensively equipped multi-media workshop. These are complemented by computer-controlled machining facilities for digital vinyl sign cutting, CNC (computer numerical control) wood and metal routing, laser cutting of polymers and man-made boards, textile embroidery and 3-D fusion deposition printers
13 Multi-Use Sports Courts
We are fortunate to have 11 full-size courts in the very centre of the campus – demonstrating how much emphasis Benenden places on sport, fitness and wellbeing.
These courts are primarily used for training and competitive matches in Tennis and Netball, with the All-Weather Pitch providing additional Tennis provision in the Summer.
14 The Theatre
Drama at Benenden benefits from a purpose-built theatre, comprising a 300-seat main auditorium with flexible staging that can be moved into several different configurations, including thrust, in the round and traverse. An Orchestra Pit is opened for Musical productions.
The theatre is also frequently used for meetings, conferences and lectures from visiting speakers. It also has a specialised dance surface for teaching and performing ballet and other forms of dance.
The fully-equipped theatre includes a workshop and costume store and professional sound and lighting facilities, enabling us to teach girls every aspect of theatrical production work.
The building also features a 60 to 80 seat Studio Theatre, used for teaching as well as performances, and a suite of Drama teaching classrooms.
The Sunley Pool, Leisure and Sports Hall (SPLASH) is where many girls choose to spend a large amount of their time.
SPLASH is home to the 25-metre swimming pool – complete with the ever-popular pool inflatables! – as well as a fully-equipped gym, a separate dance and fitness studio where fitness classes are held, two Squash courts and two sports halls.
Guldeford is one of the original boarding houses which, in 1985, moved across the green to its own location when it outgrew the main building.
The adjacent Guldeford Green is constantly used by the girls for impromptu games, and more formally for events including Two-Generation Sports. Further round the green there is a play area, with swings and climbing equipment which girls of all ages love to use.
A mellow brick, ivy-clad construction dating from the 1900s, Echyngham is our fourth Lower School House. It is a comfortable building with a homely atmosphere.
We are extremely fortunate to have a beautiful eco-classroom on site. Reached through a stunning decked walkway which weaves through the Victorian water gardens, the classroom is nestled on the banks of the main pond.
The building is entirely self-sufficient and it is, unsurprisingly, a favourite among the girls and staff alike, regularly used for pond-dipping and other experiments, and for social events.
19 Medway and Marshall
Built in 1926, this delightful building is home to the final two Lower School Houses.
Medway and Marshall are the furthest boarding Houses from the main building, with the two-minute walk offering a lovely feeling of ‘coming home’ at the end of the day.
Founders is our accommodation for pupils in the Sixth Form. Split into four Houses – Beeches, Elms, Limes and Oaks – Founders has a real university feel.
Girls usually have individual rooms and are encouraged to do their own cooking and laundry. They have their own common room and the coffee bar is particularly popular.
21 Top Lax and Park Pitches
The fields you pass as you come up the front drive are known as Park Pitches and are where Lacrosse, Rounders and Hockey are traditionally played, against the lovely backdrop of the main building.
Top Lax (Lax is short for Lacrosse) is our main sports field, used for Athletics, Rugby, Lacrosse and Cricket, among others, and hosts Sports Day each year.
Many Benenden girls would argue that the best way to see the Benenden site in all its glory is on foot! Our Sports staff have devised several jogging routes for runners of all abilities and these take in the School’s beautiful woodland, lakes and architecture.
There is also a trim trail featuring a dozen pieces of outdoor exercise equipment dotted around the campus. The woods are frequently used for a variety of outdoor curricular and co-curricular activities, while the firepit is a delightful focal point in the woods where pupils of all ages can gather for an evening of s’mores and singing!