Restaurateur Peter Cornwell has opened Kingdom, a sustainable cycling café and venue in Kent, and hit a crowdfunding target of £360,000 to fund a 1.1-mile cycling track within the venue's 13 acres of woodland.
Kingdom opened in Penshurst, near Tunbridge Wells last month and currently comprises a 140-cover event space and a 120-cover Basil Wholefoods café, and is only open on weekends, however this will change as the business develops.
A WyndyMilla cycle shop is also planned, and the track is hoped to become the leading road track in Kent. Work on the track is expected to have started by October.
Cornwell, the founder of the I'll Be Mother restaurant group, has raised £376,171 through a Seedrs crowdfunding campaign. The track is anticipated to cost approximately £20,000 in total, with the whole site expected to amount to an overall investment of £1m over the next five years.
The venue is hoped to attract a mix of outdoor enthusiasts, cyclists and families, with plans for organised sporting events once the track is laid. Further down the line it could expand to pop-up events with Silo chef Doug McMaster, a children's adventure playground and accommodation such as glamping/camping or lodges or treehouses.
Speaking to The Caterer, Cornwell said: "We're getting cyclists stop in for their coffees and sandwiches. Yoga classes have had a huge take-up because it's the most beautiful setting. The café is naturally busy, which is great. And we've been inundated with wedding and party bookings."
There are also plans to launch another, more rewards-based, crowdfunding campaign, to drum up local support and awareness. Cornwell said: "I think we've got a year's worth of polishing and getting the site looking really stunning. It'll be a lot easier when we've got a track there. We need to establish ourselves a bit more first, create that following."
He added there could be more Kingdoms in the future that would not necessarily be cycling-based. "Kingdom is an outdoor brand, the next one could be surfing or mountains," he said.
Cornwell has a majority stake in the venture, however the vision for the building came from former owner Mike Westphal, who retains a stake in the business but sold the majority of his share.
Photo credit: Marcin Bialas Photography
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