Things To Do in Kingston: Feel The Community Spirit in Cleave’s Almshouse.

September 12, 2016

I took a Kingston walking tour the other day which included Cleave’s Almshouse as one of our stops. I’ve been passing by this row of houses since we moved to Kingston and never realized the importance of this building until I took the tour. It’s one of the reasons why I joined the free walking tour, to know the story behind the numerous beautiful and dated buildings around the area.

Luckily, the walking tour coincided with the Heritage Open Days of Kingston which provides free access to significant buildings that are not normally open to the public or usually charge an entry fee. After the walking tour, I went inside Cleave’s Almshouse where I was immediately assisted by a very friendly gentleman who explained what the place is all about in detail.


Cleave’s Almshouse is one of the many almshouses dotted around the country. Almshouses are charitable housing provided to elderly people who can no longer work to earn enough to pay rent. They are often very dated buildings which makes almshouses significant in the community not only because of its charitable nature but also because it makes a contribution to the national heritage of the country by maintaining ancient buildings.


Almshouses are normally in the center of town, close to the local community and accessible to shops and amenities. The first recorded almshouse dates back to the 10th century founded by King Althestan in York and to this date, there are about 2,600 almshouses around the country still operating.


Inside Cleave’s Almshouse, there’s a beautiful garden in the middle of the rows of houses. It was very well-kept and maintained, to be very honest – I wasn’t expecting such beautiful landscape inside. People living in Cleave’s almshouse pay their own utility bills (water, electricity etc.) and a small amount of fee for maintenance.

There is no waiting list in Cleave’s Almshouse as they do not operate on a first-come, first-serve basis. They do however, screen the applicants and base their decision on whoever needs it the most. To qualify, one must be of retirement age, of limited financial means and must be able to live on his/her own.


It was a great opportunity for me to see Cleave’s Almshouse to know what this building is all about and not just pass by it without really paying attention to it. After taking the tour, I realized how strong the community spirit is in Kingston. It made me happier that we moved here.

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  • Reply Dash the Map September 16, 2016 at 16:47

    Sometimes it’s fun to be a tourist in your city. The Cleave’s Almshouses look very cute. Were you able to go inside? Did you do a walking tour with a guide or audio?
    Dash the Map recently posted…Review: Bill Speidel’s Underground Tour of SeattleMy Profile

    • Reply Pinay Flying High September 17, 2016 at 14:48

      No because it would be rude for the residents to go in their homes.

  • Reply Cass September 16, 2016 at 11:07

    What a gorgeous little spot and such a wonderful place for the residents! Nearly four years in London now and I haven’t managed to get out to Kingston yet, but I’ve heard lovely things. Guess I need to add it to the lists STAT!

  • Reply Anne September 16, 2016 at 08:48

    I am seriously in love with the photos in this post, the colours are just incredible! I’d actually never heard of almshouses before I read this!

    • Reply Pinay Flying High September 17, 2016 at 14:50

      Thank you Anne, I’ve never heard of almshouses as well until that day that I visited it. 🙂

  • Reply Danielle September 16, 2016 at 08:25

    What a beautiful building! And so nice to see such a great community spirirt for helping the elderly 🙂

    • Reply Pinay Flying High September 17, 2016 at 14:51

      It’s really nice isn’t it? I fell in love with it more when I learned what it’s for. 🙂

  • Reply Bryony Clapperton (travelsandmore) September 16, 2016 at 07:38

    Aw I love reading anything about Britain makes me feel all patriotic and proud!

    • Reply Pinay Flying High September 17, 2016 at 14:51

      You should be Bryony, it’s a beautiful country. Kingston is still like a dream for me, the community spirit here is truly outstanding!

  • Reply Soraya September 16, 2016 at 01:38

    Wow what a gorgeous place, and I love the cause. It’s wonderful to see how they are still helping the community by providing quality accomodation to senior citizens, while also educating the general public about their cause through the free walking tours. I also love hearing that Kingston has a strong community feel. That is something I really love, because many bigger cities are loosing that spirit. Thanks for sharing about this.

    • Reply Pinay Flying High September 17, 2016 at 14:52

      You do have a point and that’s the reason we chose to live out of the city center of London itself. Choosing Kingston as a place to live in the best decision we ever made. 🙂

  • Reply Samantha O'Brochta September 15, 2016 at 19:07

    That looks like an adorable place to visit! I love old homes.

  • Reply Punita Malhotra September 15, 2016 at 18:46

    These heritage houses are just so adorable. I always end up time-travelling and imagining myself living close by , as a neighbour or something…you know , just get so immersed in it all.

  • Reply Soumya Nambiar September 15, 2016 at 18:30

    Such a cute looking almshouse. It is so nice to see that the community provides such good support for the senior citizens of the community. I love walking tours exactly for this reason since they give us so much information about the city.
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    • Reply Pinay Flying High September 17, 2016 at 14:54

      I’m a big fan of walking tours specially if your guide is very informative. I always end up seeing the place in a different light after the tour. 🙂

  • Reply Diana September 15, 2016 at 17:34

    What a cute little place (both the house and the yard)! I would’ve loved to spend time chatting with the residents there – I’m sure they all have some great stories from all their years!

    • Reply Pinay Flying High September 17, 2016 at 14:55

      I would love to do that but the residents were mostly inside their homes. 🙂

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