Powell-Cotton Museum, Quex House and Gardens

Welcome to one of the UK's most fascinating visitor attractions, the home of the Powell-Cotton family and their extraordinary collection of natural history museum treasures. 

Whether you are looking for a family day out or a quiet stroll in beautiful surroundings, we look forward to welcoming you to Quex Park, Kent's natural history museum, Birchington in South East Kent. 

The Powell-Cotton Museum at Quex Park was established in 1896 by Major Percy Horace Gordon Powell-Cotton (1866-1940) to house natural history museum specimens and cultural objects collected on expeditions to Asia and Africa.

Major Powell-Cotton was a pioneer in the use of the diorama to display mounted mammals in representations of their natural habitats. The Powell-Cotton Museum natural history museum dioramas are outstanding examples, unique to the UK, stunning for their size, quality and imagery. Today they still excite the imagination of young and old alike.

The world-class natural history museum, and ethnographical collections, support the study, understanding and simple enjoyment of the zoological, cultural and ecological diversity of Africa and the Indian sub-continent.

Further galleries in the natural history museum contain local archaeology as well as textiles, weaponry and a range of ceramics, jade and ivory from Europe, China and Japan assembled by six generations of the Powell-Cotton family.  In the afternoons several rooms in Quex House are open.

The 15th-century Quex Estate was purchased by the financier John Powell in 1777 and the Regency period Quex House was completed by his nephew in 1813. The house was remodelled and extended in the late 19th century. The beautiful 15 acre gardens to be seen today were developed in Victorian times.

Quex House

It has been called 'Quex' since its ownership in the 1500s by the Quekes family, who prospered from the extensive wool industry in Kent. Major Powell-Cotton's ancestor, John Powell (1721-1783), bought the house and adjacent farm as an investment in 1777. His nephew, John Powell Powell (1769-1849) demolished the mansion, replacing it with an elegant Regency home.ž

Several rooms in Quex House are open to the public during the Summer Season and provide a special addition to a visit to the Museum. Add Quex House to your list of days out in Kent.

After two hundred years Quex House remains a family home. Its relaxed atmosphere and character are immediately appreciated when visitors step from the Museum galleries into the late-Victorian Oriental Drawing Room. House Stewards are on hand to welcome visitors and provide further information about the house, the family, the paintings, furnishings and varied collectables. 

The ground floor of Quex House is accessible for wheelchair users.  House Stewards, leaflets and photographs are available to describe the rooms on the first floor of the House.

Quex House is open Tues-Sun 1pm-4pm from April to Mid November.

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