Biddenden, (6 miles N of Tenderden on A262) lovely village attractive for its picturesque High Street crammed with pubs, restaurants and antique shops housed in fine half-timbered buildings. The Old Cloth Hall, a superb six gabled building for the weavers workshops, marked the center of local cloth trade in medieval and Tudor times. Beautifully maintained All Saints church (Saxon, 13th century).
The Three Chimneys (FP) dates from 1420s and retains its original small-room layout, with old settles, floors and warming fires. It offers Adnams, Masterbrew, Spitfire, Harvey’s Best freshly cooked to order menu to choose from 10 starters and mains. During the 7-years war (1756-1763) French prisoners from Sissinghurst Castle were allowed to promenade in the “3 Chimneys” (= 3 Lanes) which has been translated back into English as the “3 Chimneys”.
Castleton’s Oak, (Biddenden, 1 mile outside the village on a cross-road); extraordinary pub sign: At age 70, Ebenezer Castleton, a local carpenter, made himself a coffin from a huge oak felled by a storm; he had to live another 30 years before he could use it. “Judge not the play, before the play is done.”
The pretty village of Rolvenden, (3 miles SW of Tenderden on A28) with its white weatherboarded cottages, its 12th century church and some grand houses Great Maytham Hall (its walled garden inspired Frances Hodgson Burnett to write “The Secret Garden”) and Hole Park mansion.
Every Thursday from 10 to 12 Rolvenden Farmer’s Market takes place in the church (13th century) and the new Village Hall opposite. In 20 to 30 stalls local farmers, smallholders and producers have an opportunity to sell directly to the public: organically grown seasonal vegetables, fruit and meats, fresh milk products, very finest quality smoked foods, fresh fish, vegetarian parmesan, bread, juice and wool.
The Star Pub on High Street offers good Ale and simple pub food.
The Motor Museum features C.M. Booth unique collection of historic Morgan 3 wheeled cars (1913-1935) . Most of the cars are in working order and participate “on the road” in vintage rallies or pleasure motoring
At Rolvenden Layne (suburb) you can visit the Ewe & Lamb Pub or Woodentops tea rooms for good lunches.
The long village of Sissinghurst (8 miles NW of Tenderden on A262) has many old-fashioned white-painted weatherboard houses built by prosperous weavers.
Sissinghurst Castle Garden (TNT £7.80 Mo/Tu/Fr-So 11-4, Sissinghurst) one of the world’s most celebrated gardens around a surviving part of a large Elizabethan mansion ruin. Writer Vita Sackville-West & her husband Harold Nicholson purchased a ruin (housed 3000 French prisoners during the Seven Years War, decades of neglect) and attempted partial renovation; created a series of small enclosed garden compartments in Elizabethan style, designed intimate in scale and romantic in atmosphere, like rooms each having a different theme and colourful throughout the year.
The Bull Inn (on main road through Sissinghurst) built in 16th century, with two bars; a private bar so called because women could go into that area. Women were not expected to go to the public bar, although some did; language could be rather coarse, and working men went into the public bar straight from work, with gumboots and dirty overalls on. For the private bar, a better standard of dressing was required.
Greene Cross Inn (FP, AA pick of the pubs 2005) at Goudhurst ph 01580 212905, is a food-oriented pub/restaurant with seafood specialties, with all dishes cooked to order and incorporating the freshest ingredients; serves Harveys Best, Shepherd Neame MasterBrew, Larkins
The Star & Eagle Hotel (FP, AA****), High St, Goudhurst in a 14th century listed building with pleasing timber , gables and relics; patio (400 ft ) offers magnificent views across orchards, hop gardens and meadows; the bar and refectory menu offers imaginary international dishes; serves Flowers Original & Bass Bitter, Adnams Bitter.
Scotney Castle Garden & Estate (Lamberhurst, TNT £5.20 We-Sun 11-6) one of England’s most romantic garden in a beautiful wooded estate; designed in the Picturesque style around the ruins of a 14th-century moated castle, the garden has spectacular displays of rhododendrons, azalea and kalmia in May/June, wisteria and roses rambling over the ruis in summer, and trees and ferns providing rich colour in autumn; fine walks through the estate.
(Royal) Tun(bridge) Wells: is one of the youngest towns of Kent making a late entry; after Lord North shared his discovery of the chalybeate springs with the Royal Court, the Royals camped on the forest grounds by the spring. In 1735 Beau Nash, famous for his fashion dominant role in Bath, turned this place into a real town where Royals came constantly visiting; got its prefix from Edward VII in 1907. Its still a prosperous looking town which has managed to retain its charm and the green open spaces. The elegant Pantiles features an interesting arcade of restaurants and stylish shops (It was originally called the Walk and was grassed when Princess Ann’ son slipped and hurt himself on a visit in 1699; after her complaint, the town paved the Walk with square pantiles leading to its new name.) Some of the best Regency architecture can be found on the gracefully curved Calverly Park crescent.
Tunbridge Wells Museum & Art Gallery(free, Mo-Sa 09:30-5pm, Su 10am-5pm)
Carluccio’s, 32 Mount Pleasant Road, ph 01892 614968 Carluccio's occupies a Victorian building made out of Bath stone, which was previously a bank, first built in 1901. The design of the café has been influenced by the beautiful original building. The award-winning Carluccio's menu allows diners the flexibility of enjoying a single dish, a light antipasti or a full three course meal with wine and, with all recipes developed by Antonio Carluccio: lunch £16, dinner £26
The Grove Tavern, oldest pub in town
Spa Valley Railway: (just off A26 S of Tun Wells center, 10:00-15:00; £2.75, ph 01892 537715): originally closed down in 1985, now runs steam (weekends, school holidays) and diesel trains from old West Station to High Rocks Station & Inn and Groombridge (located on B2110 4 miles S of Tun wells) Groombridge Place Gardens & Enchanted Forest offers 200 acres of magnificent, traditionally walled gardens against the backdrop of a 17th century moated manor offers travel back in time through beautiful countryside
The Blue Boys, (Kipping’s Cross, Nr. Pembury, 3 miles East of Royal Tunbridge Wells just off the A21, Tonbridge to Hastings road) Inn sign refers to postillions on George IV coach clothed in royal blue.
Beltring, (11 miles NE of Tun Wells) boasts Whitbread Hop Farm, the largest number of Oast Houses in one field is just one of the features at The Whitbread Hop Farm which has become a major attraction in this area with its famous Whitbread Shire horses.
The Crown Inn, Groombridge, Nr Tunbridge Wells, Kent TN3 9QH ph 01892 864742 On tap serves local real ales 'Harveys' and 'Larkins', as well as the better known 'Abbotts' and 'IPA' bitters.
Opera House (88 Mt. Pleasant Rd, Weatherspoons, 018 9251 1770) is a theater café.
Thackeray's Bistro, 85 London Road, Tunbridge Wells, Kent, TN1 1EA, ph 01892 537559, and
Thackeray's House Restaurant, 85 London Road, Tunbridge Wells, Kent, ph 01892 511921
0.3 miles from Tunbridge Wells (Kent) located in the 17th century building, home to William Makepeace Thackeray in the 19th century, has been given a modern, minimalistic look which is complemented by an intelligently creative menu which uses the very best local produce to provide fresh dishes that sparkle with flavour.
The Hare-on Langton Green (Langton Rd, Tun Wells) is a Victorian pub, with wooden floors, & bric-a-brac. 01892 862419), is in its second incarnation, having been rebuilt in 1901 following a fire. It has a classic village pub atmosphere and a menu that is strong on fish, although one of its best sellers is shoulder of lamb.
Ightham Moat (5 miles E of Sevenoaks off A227; Mote Rd, My Hatch, Sevenoaks TNT £8.50 Mo,We-Fr,Su 10-5:30) is a superb 14th century moated manor house, a gem of a medieval building set in a narrow valley.
The Plough (High Cross Rd, Ivy Hatch, Sevenoaks ph 01732 810268) is a stone-and-shingle pub with welcoming interior, high ceiling conservatory, excellent imaginative kitchen with freshest ingredients.
Ightam (pronounce “item”; 4 miles E of Sevenoaks on A227) core village has a lovely group of half-timbered houses and crooked lanes leading out.
The Chequers Inn, Heaverham, (Watery Lane, Heaverham, 01732 763968 off the A25 near Seal in Kent), a classic 16th century English country pub, restaurant with a very large beer garden; serves a range of Shepherd Neame's ales and lagers.
Sevenoaks country market town appearance in commuter belt
Puddleduck Quilters (116 St. John’s Hill ph 01732 743642; at north end of Sevenoaks on the A225 next to Sevenoaks hospital) where visitors enter through ordinary shop front doors into the colourful and enchanting world of quilts and wallhangings; sell fabric and tools for patchworkers & quilters.
Vine Cricket Ground: first recorded game played between Kent and Sussex in 1734.
The Royal Oak Tap, 3 Upper High St 01732 458783) intriguing mix of customers, inside is open lan, with stone floors, a large inglenook fireplace and old carvings on the bar frontage; serves good selection of cask ales and substantial lunches.
The White Rock Inn , (FP, Underriver , S of Sevenoaks, 01732 833112) is a traditional pub set
in the hamlet with excellent beer, food menu that menu changes with the seasons, service and most of all, fun; serve up dishes comparable to the finest of restaurants here in our traditional pub
surroundings; it serves traditional ales,
including Harveys, London Pride, Black Rock Bitter; also serves up homemade, freshly cooked food for you to enjoy. Our landlord here at the White Rock Inn is a keen fisherman which means you can expect a wide selection of mouth-watering fish dishes as well as traditional pub food.
Knole (south of Sevenoaks town center, off A225 Tonbridge Rd; TNT £7.50 We-Su 11-4) show mansion in magnificent 1000 acre (Sika and Fallow) deer park dating back to 15th century but preserved its 18th century version; displays the treasures of royalty & aristocracy in 13 magnificent state rooms (silver, china, upholstered furniture, beds, carpets, tapestries, paintings); over 200 000 trees have been replanted in the park since the Great Storm in 1987; shop and tearoom.
Brasted (5 miles W of Sevenoaks on the A25) snug, cosy village reflecting the miniature of the river Darent. The White Hart Inn (; High St, Brasted ph 01959 560651) was built as a coaching inn in 1825, has been modernised tastefully with many of the original features remaining, e.g. the beautiful old-fashioned fireplaces with mirrors, polished wooden floors, scrubbed oak tables, memorabilia, photographs and books on RAF pilots staying here during the Battle of Britain; serves Great British Food
Emmetts Garden (6 miles SW of Sevenoaks off the B2042; Ide Hill, sevenoaks; TNT £5 We(Th/Fr)Sa/Su 11-5 ) is an interesting 5 acre garden on a peaceful hillside with year-round features, Lubbock influenced by his friend landscape gardener William Robinson. In the late 19th century exotic and rare trees and shrubs from all over this world were planted within a natural landscape on this hill providing an informal garden with spectacular views at all times and beautiful colours throughout the season; the Great Storm of 1987 caused considerable damage to many great oaks and beech trees; extensive replanting in-progress; name tags on some species; tearoom.
Westerham (9 miles W of Sevenoaks on A25) historic center on main street and tiny green features number of old buildings, Churchill and Wolfe statues on The Green, St. Mary’s parish church (fine stained glass windows including one from Burne-Jones for Wolfe, Last supper mosaic, 14th century wooden staircase to tower) including two venerable coaching inns.
Quebec House (TNT) in memoriam of General James Wolfe, victor of te decisive battle between the English and French at Quebec in 1759
The Old House at Home, Quebec Square, vicarage Hill) is a warm country hostelry, serving a range of real ales and Neame.
The Coffee Garden (19 High St, 01959 561706) is a cosy spot for a light lunch or reviving pot of exceptional tea or coffee; country kitchen atmosphere, non-smoking, patio
The Tudor Rose Restaurant, (resto & tearooms ,8 The-Green, Westerham ph 01959 562391 Open all day until 5pm) serving home-made meals i.a.w. traditional, old English recipes.
The George and Dragon, (Chef & Brewer pub, Market Square, Westerham ph 01959 563071
Chartwell (7 miles SW of Sevenoaks off the B2042; Mapleton Rd, Westerham; TNT £10 We-Su 11-5; Note: to avoid queues and overcrowding, entry to the house is by timed ticket; limited number of visitors enter in batches every 15 minutes, no limit on time spent in the house) a Victorian house with Tudor origins was the family home of Sir Winston Churchill from 1924 till 1965; the rooms with furniture, books and memorabilia remain much as they were, providing insight into his personal and political career and hobbies of this great statesman; dining room and patio overlooking the terrace landscape gardens; garden studio and kitchen garden with Golden Rose Avenue (Golden wedding gift from his children); knowledgeable guides; large tea rooms
Staffhurst Wood (10 miles W of Sevenoaks off B2026): The Royal Oak (Staffhurst Wood, Oxted ph 01833 722207) is a quintessential English pub, with leafy vines trailing down the shigled upper storey and a timber-frame gable; inside a lovely mix of French and English culture, with darts and open fires, serves real ales and Gallic-inspired dishes.
Limpsfield Chart (10 miles W of Sevenoaks off A25): Joyces-on-the-Chart ( Post Office Row, Chart, Oxted, 01883 722195) tearoom, romantic setting, tranquil garden, wide range of best-cooked food for miles around!!!
Hever, a lovely small village (13 miles W of Tun Wells off B2026) in an unspoilt countryside, with orchards and woodlands prominently show-cases Hever Castle & Gardens (Apr-Oct 12:00-6, £9.80) of 1272 (massive Gatehouse, outer walls and double moat; many memorabilia on ill-fated Anne Boleyn, second wife of Henry VIII; award-winning gardens incl. Italian, Rose and Tudor gardens with yew maze and water maze; acquired by millionaire William Waldorf Astor in 1903, restored and adding the “Tudor village”, garden and lakes for his VIP guests. Jousting Tournaments in July/Aug
Edenbridge (15 miles W of Tun Wells on B2026)
Kentish Horse , (Mark Beech, South of Edenbridge B2026; 01342 850 493), turn left at the top of Stick Hill opposite The Queens Arms. With its quality Ales like Larkins and Harveys and local fresh cooked food the Kentish Horse is the perfect place to while away a lazy summer’s afternoon, or to enjoy a great gourmet meal. The Kentish Horse holds monthly folk music and quiz evenings.
The Queens Arms
The White Horse Inn (64 High Street, Edenbridge, 01732 862208) offers a
friendly atmosphere and good selection of fine ales. Now with a newly renovated bar and restaurant area, it is serving regional English food cooked with fresh produce.
Mo - Sa 11am - 2.30pm & 5.30pm - 11pm, Su 12pm - 2.30pm & 7.30pm - 10.30pm
The year 1574 and two pairs of hand shears celebrates the union of Rafe Shears and member of the Holmden family whose father gave them the land on which to build. Timber framed building faced with brick in the 18th century. Daily coach to Westerham started here in the early 19th century.
Old Eden Inn, (121 High Street, Edenbridge, 01732 862398) with its traditional beams and inviting ambience, The Old Eden is the perfect location for an evening out or a daytime lunch stop.
Ye Old Crowne Inn (High Street, Edenbridge. 01732 867896), dates back to 15th century, bridging sign across the street, bar serves Tetley’s, Greene King IPA, Charles Wells Bombardier and attractive, bright and airy restaurant offers a tempting menu of freshly prepared, home cooked evening meals, made from local produce. There is a large selection of continental and traditional English dishes, some mouth watering desserts, and an extensive wine list.
Penshurst (5 miles NW of Tun Wells off B2026) features historic Leicester Square (two-storey Tudor house with bulging walls and crooked beams serves as lych-gate to church,
The Leicester Arms (ph 01892 870551)is among the most picturesque pubs in Kent.
The Fir Tree tearooms (Leigh Rd) offers afternoon teas
The Quaintways tearooms
The Bottle House Inn
Penshurst Place & Gardens, home of the Sidney family since 1552, ( ph 01892 870307, £7.50 end March till end Oct, house 12-4 pm, garden 10:30-18:00)) is a medieval sandstone castle-like manor house, built in 1341 with tasteful mix of architecture styles representing sturdy medieval, handsome Tudor or modest Victorian; magnificent Baron’s Hall with its 60ft high chestnut roof; adjoining state rooms offer fascinating collections of armour, tapestries, furniture and paintings; large estate with 10 acre 16th century formal garden of Elizabethan design – 11 acres of gardens within gardens; toy museum, venture playground.
Chiddingstone (6 miles NW of Tun Wells off B 2027) the single street village shows prosperous half-timbered houses of 16th/17th century is maintained by TNT(?); Chiddingstone Castle is a mock-Gothic rework of an older mansion (in 2006 closed for renovation);
The Castle Inn