152-154 Tonbridge Rd, Hildenborough, TN11 9HW     01732 667500     Parking

How it happened

The story behind Cafe 1809

Back in 1983, Kelly Holmes was doing paper rounds for the Hildenborough sweet shop, and later at 16 worked part time behind the till. A big kid at heart, she loved the feel of people buzzing around and the themed window displays at Christmas and Easter.

Kelly went on to an army career, then became an international athlete (middle distance running) and was crowned Double Olympic champion in 2004. In 2005 she retired from athletics, received a Damehood from the queen and went on to become a public speaker, business woman and founder of her own charity Dame Kelly Holmes Trust.

Her memories of working at the shop stayed strong and Kelly knew she wanted to bring a community hub to her village. With her business skills and a lot of research, she was able to turn her vision into a project. The old sweet shop building was the perfect location, but the owner wouldn’t sell so it took many years before Kelly was able to acquire the site.

Kelly finally got ownership of the building in 2013 and took on the project management of the site. In January 2014, demolition work started, but with planning permission taking ages and bad weather the building process was a long journey.

Kelly had the vision of a space for the local community with multiple use where everyone could feel relaxed, eat well, get opportunities to have fun and be active.

She wanted to create a light, modern and comfortable space with a ‘rustic vintage’ feel and she was able to do it with the help of interior designer John Barnett and some great local companies.

After a few setbacks and a couple of trial openings…

…Cafe 1809 Hildenborough opened doors on the 5th December 2014!

Kelly’s ambition (to bring people together: the young, the wise, business women and men, walkers, runners, cyclists, mums with buggies…) has come to life.

The team at Cafe 1809 Hildenborough strives to give the best service possible and we believe there’s always room for growing.. so watch out!

The name Cafe 1809 comes from Kelly’s Olympic running number when she won her Double Gold in Athens… Cool don’t you think!

Cafe 1809 is a lifestyle cafe concept and a retail brand, aiming to offer excellence at good value.

• Cafe 1809: A place for the everyone in the community to get together in stylish surroundings
• 1809 Retail: Food and lifestyle products to enhance everyday life

Our ethos is ‘Eat, Drink, Relax & smile’.