AN HISTORIC landmark in Cobham will open to the public after months of rescue and restoration.

The Darnley Mausoleum in Cobham Woods has been painstakingly restored to its former Neoclassical glory by volunteers, heritage organisations and locals.

It is now opening for visitors on Sundays from noon to 4pm.

Built in 1783 by fashionable architect James Wyatt, it was designed to be the final resting place for the Earls of Darnley, but suffered years of neglect and was devastated by vandals who set fire to it.

Restoration was completed in 2007 but this is the first time it will be open regularly for visitors.

The National Trust, which took over the land from Gravesham Council last year, is also opening South Lodge Barn in Lodge Lane from 11am to 5pm to welcome walkers to find out about the Mausoleum’s history and enjoy a guided walk up to it.

The National Trust’s Bernadette Gillow said: “After a challenging history, we are delighted that Mausoleum is now fully restored and in the care of the National Trust. “It will be opening regularly to visitors with my team managing this unique and very special property.”

The grade two listed wood where the Mausoleum sits is also run by the National Trust and is a Site of Special Scientific Interest in the Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Entry to Cobham Wood is free from dawn to dusk. Entry to the Mausoleum costs £2 for adults, £1 children and is free for National Trust members. Donations are welcome.