Cobham Hall

Cobham Hall is an independent day and boarding school for girls in Cobham, Kent. The school is housed in a Tudor era manor, which is now Grade I listed, and sits in 150 acres of historic parkland on the edge of the Kent Downs. It is a Round Square school[1] and a member of the Girls' Schools Association. The School featured in the film Wild Child in 2008, as the fictional school that the characters attended, called Abbey Mount.[2]

Cobham Hall
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DA12 3BL

TypeIndependent day and boarding school
Local authorityKent
HeadmistressMaggie Roberts
Age11 to 18
Round Square

Building history

There has been a manor house on the site since the 12th century. The current building consists of a pair of Tudor wings built for The 10th Baron Cobham in the 16th century and a later classical central block, the 'Cross Wing', remodelled in 1661–63 by Peter Mills of London for The 3rd Duke of Richmond.[3] The attic storey was extended and other alterations made for The 3rd Earl of Darnley by Sir William Chambers, ca 1767–70[4] A kitchen court was added to the rear in 1771–73. The most notable feature of the interior is the two-storey Gilt Hall, designed and installed by George Shakespear, master carpenter and architect, of London, who made extensive interior alterations, 1770–81.[5] The organ was built by John Snetzler in 1778-9.[6]

The fourth earl, who inherited in 1781, employed James Wyatt extensively, for interiors that included the Picture Gallery and the Dining Room, and for stables and a Gothic dairy.[7] The Library was fitted up by George Stanley Repton in 1817–20,[8] and with his brother, John Adey Repton, in Jacobethan style, including the ceiling for "Queen Elizabeth's Room" (1817).[9] Their father, Humphry Repton, was hired to design a landscape plan for the estate and completed one of his famous 'Red Books' for Cobham in 1790. Cobham Hall remained the family home of the Earls of Darnley until 1957 and is now home to the school. It is open to the public on a limited number of days each year.[10]

The building has also been used as a film set. A scene in Agent Cody Banks 2 in which Frankie Muniz fights Keith Allen in a room full of priceless treasures was filmed in the Gilt Hall. Scenes from an adaption of Bleak House were also filmed outside the building, and it was also used in a few scenes in the comedy sketch show Tittybangbang.

The Hall is used as the school 'Abbey Mount' in the 2008 film Wild Child starring Emma Roberts and as the Foundling Hospital in the CBBC adaptation of Hetty Feather.


Cobham Hall was founded as an international boarding school for girls aged between eleven and eighteen in 1962. The school now welcomes both day girls and boarding students. The school has a large contingent of international students, with approximately 25 nationalities represented. Just over 50% are British. The school aims to encourage girls to challenge themselves, and the motto is 'There is more in you than you think'.[11] As a member of Round Square, the school ethos is built around the ideas of international and environmental awareness, adventure, leadership, democracy and service to others, with an aim of develop girls both academically and non-academically.

The school's Wellbeing Centre provides a focal point for pastoral care, ensuring that in addition to academia, students' health and wellbeing is also a priority.


Girls in Years 7 to 9 follow the English National Curriculum. Girls in Middle School (up to Year 11) follow the GCSE curriculum.[12] From September 2018, Sixth Form pupils will be studying A Levels. The A Levels will be the academic portion of a broad curriculum, which also encompasses the Extended Project Qualification, PSHE, Theory of Knowledge, The Duke of Edinburgh's Award or Service, and Sport. The school has a specialist EFL Department, as well as a CReSTeD accredited Student Support Department.

The school also offers a one year GCSE/IGCSE course, a Pre-A Level Course and an Intensive English Support Programme for those whose first language is not English.


There are three Boarding Houses. Bligh House is home to girls in Years 7 to 10, while Year 11 live in the original Manor House. Sixth Form pupils live in Brooke House. Just under half the student body board. Boarders are often taken on trips out including local outings to restaurants, bowling alleys and the cinema, as well as further afield to London or the seaside.

Notable alumnae


  1. Round Square Archived 26 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  2. "Wild Child Film Locations". Kent Film Office. Retrieved 19 October 2017.
  3. Howard Colvin, "Peter Mills and Cobham Hall" in Colvin and John Harris, The Country Seat1970.
  4. Colvin, A Biographical Dictionary of British Architects, 1600–1840 3rd ed. 1995, s.v. "Chambers, Sir William".
  5. John Cornforth, in Country Life, 3–10 March 1983, citing documents in Kent Archives Office, noted in Colvin 1995, s.v. "Shakespear, George".
  6. S. Bicknell, The History of the English Organ, 1999.
  7. Colvin 1995, s.v. "Wyatt, James".
  8. John Preston Neale, Views of Seats, vi, 1821, noted in Colvin 1995, s,v. "Repton, George Stanley".
  9. Colvin 1995, s.v. "Repton, John Adey".
  10. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 15 March 2014. Retrieved 15 March 2014.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  11. International Students Archived 26 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  12. Academic Archived 5 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine
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