The Cock House: One of Makhanda's Best Destinations to Visit

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Wednesday, 30th March 2022

A historical cornerstone, a venerable landmark, and a national monument. These are some of the many phrases used to describe the historical Cock House that still stands majestically in Makhanda (Grahamstown).

 

Having reached a milestone as one of Makhanda's leisure, accommodation, and dining destinations, The Cock House, currently up for auction, is set to continue its legacy within a new chapter. The auction was held in February and is yet to be concluded. Changes in ownership are still under discussion. It fortunately remains open, treating us to a unique experience that you just can’t get anywhere else.

 

Located diagonally across from Market Square in George Street, the property originally dates back to the 1820s when London merchant Benjamin Norden acquired the plot. In 1835, Dr. John Atherstone bought the property. At that time, he was the most prominent among Grahamstown’s first medical practitioners. It was later named The Cock House after 1820’s settler party leader Hon. William Cock became the new owner. Much later, renowned author and academic André Brink took over and started on renovations which the next owners, Peter and Belinda Tudge completed, transforming the space into a stylised high-end guesthouse and restaurant. Famous former guests included Nelson Mandela in 1992, 1996, and 1999 and Thabo Mbeki in 1993. Other notable guests included the late Kadar Asmal and Steve Tshwete as well as Derek Hanekom.

 

This year, The Cock House celebrates three decades since Peter and Belinda Tudge opened its doors in the early nineties - reportedly 10 days before the 1991 National Arts Festival. “We pride ourselves in still offering the best accommodation services and fine dining cuisine that has captured the hearts of many locals, South Africans, and international tourists over the years,” said The Cock House Manager, Yvonne Gretton. Providing an update on the property’s auction, she said that the owner did not sell the property at the auction. “We are still open for business and carrying on as usual”. Looking to the future, Gretton said they were looking forward to the National Arts Festival and many more events now that the Covid-19 regulations have been relaxed. “We are so excited to welcome back old friends and say hello to new ones. At the moment, you need to book to visit our beautiful restaurant but during the Festival period, the restaurant will be fully functional.”

 

The Cock House continues to offer an elegant and original old-school feel and guests are known to make return visits. Guests can choose to stay in the original rooms that date back to the 1800s or in the self-catering modernised apartments and units that provide nothing but elegance. Special features of these apartments and units include:

 

  • Heated towel rails – These are available in some of the rooms and add a bit of luxury to the bathroom space, a convenient and hygienic way to dry out your towels; and most importantly save water and electricity, since the towels will be dried directly on the rail.
  • Air conditioner
  • TV and satellite TV with 280 channels
  • Bar fridge and separate drinking water
  • Euro plugs
  • Block out curtains and blinds for a peaceful rest
  • Onsite water tanks to obviate water interruptions
  • A security guard at night
  • Spacious and beautiful outdoor area with a garden and seating area surrounded by fruit trees, vegetables, and herbs.
  • The property also comes with a meeting and small conference venue with private and spacious parking!

 

Another highlight for staying at The Cock House is enjoying top-class cuisine from a tantalizing dining experience at the Norden's Restaurant – named after founder Benjamin Norden and proclaimed a National Monument. Norden's Restaurant only uses fresh and local ingredients (some grown on the property) to serve gorgeous, healthy, and scrumptious food. Signature dishes include lamb shanks, pork belly, crème brulée, and crêpes.

 

At the heart of Makhanda, The Cock House is within easy access to the Makhanda community. It is a perfect bed and breakfast for travellers driving along the Frontier Country and Sunshine Coast, also connecting the Wild Coast and the Garden Route. A two to three-night stay is guaranteed to give you the best comfort, leisure, dining, and access to wildlife attractions at nearby game reserves like Pumba and Temba Private Game Reserves.

 

Book your stay today!

The Cock House is located at 10 Market Street in Makhanda.

To enjoy a memorable stay and delectable meals, booking is essential!

For your accommodation bookings, email: reservation@thecockhouse.co.za

Bookings for breakfast, lunch & dinner are essential. Please call or WhatsApp on: 082 820 5592

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