30th April 2024

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48 hours in the Garden of England

30th April 2024

48 hours in the Garden of England


We’re kick-starting our ’48 hours in…’ series with a two-day trip to Kent, (lovingly known as the Garden of England) as Sales Manager, Kate Cheetham, takes us through her eats, sleeps and must-do’s from her recent trip to Tenterden with a sleepover at the White Lion.

Over to Kate…

Off we go

We packed up the car and set off from our South West London base at 9:30 on Saturday morning, for what was set to be a 2-hour-ish drive. We managed to catch a glimpse of the early spring sunshine although some atmospheric clouds welcomed us at our first stop off, Down House – the home of Charles Darwin – it’s a little bit out of the way but well worth a visit, with beautiful gardens and steeped full of history. If you’d rather opt for a more direct journey but still want to fit in some history then Sissinghurst Castle is another perfect option and has beautiful gardens in the summer time.

After filling our heads with facts (did you know that Charles Darwin’s grandfather was Josiah Wedgewood founder of the famous pottery?) we headed back to the car and set off again towards Tenterden.

The rain had started by now (those clouds were pretty angry) so it was lovely to be able to park up just out the back of the White Lion and head straight into the warming atmosphere of the pub.

Let’s unpack

We arrived at around 5pm and check-in was super speedy as we checked-in online whilst en-route. Before we knew it, we were opening the door to our lovely ‘Bigger Comfy’ room – these are a little on the roomier side, and ours overlooked the high street – which I loved.

I love to get to know the area I’m staying in so we threw on our waterproofs and hopped out to explore. Tenterden is a classic market town and as we strolled along I was making a mental note of all the shops I’d be popping into over the next two days. If you’re into crafting (like me), then I would highly recommend ‘Hop, Stitch & Jumper’ – it’s filled to the brim with everything you could possibly need. If you’re into retail therapy, the high street is jam-packed with cute little boutique shops (another love of mine).

The eats & drinks

We headed back to the pub as the sun started to set and freshened up before the quick trip down the stairs and into the dining room – Id recommend booking to ensure you nab a table, although there was plenty of space in the bar area too.

We ordered some cocktails to start (my go-to is a Malfy Spritz).  I’m a pescetarian, so I went for the  goats cheese and red onion hand-stretched pizza and my other half went for the aged West Country 8oz bavette steak. Both were delicious and paired perfectly with the bottle of Cloof Inkspot – a rich plummy South African red wine (perfect for when the British Summer is looking a little gloomy and giving you curl-up-and-get-cosy vibes).

We just had room for dessert (becuase there’s always room, right?) before retiring upstairs to the comfiest bed. zZzZzZzzzz.

The must-dos

Kent is the perfect base to settle in for some exploration. The main reason for our trip was to head to Tillingham Vineyard. It’s a stunning natural winery, just a 20/30-minute drive from the White Lion (it was a taxi for us). We went for the day tour and lunch, which consisted of 4 different wine tasters, having a snoop at where the grapes are grown (and where the wine is made), before heading into the restaurant for a three-course lunch. If you’re not a huge wine-lover, it’s still worth the trip just for the food as it has a Michelin Green Star.

We also visited Smallhythe Place with its beautiful sprawling rose gardens as well as the Ellen Terry Museum – they even have a working theatre that opens for the summer season. We had planned to go to Rye for a little day trip but time ran away from us – possibly because the bed was so comfy it was a little difficult to wake up in the mornings – but it’s firmly at the top of the list for when we visit again.

If breakfast is the most important meal of the day for you (it’s definitely mine), then the White Lion will set you up for the day with their cooked brekkie’s. But if more of a grab-and-go person, then head to Cranbrook Bakery – it’s just a few doors down from the pub and has something from everyone. We didn’t visit on this trip but we did stumble on another fab find – a beautiful looking tea room, Peggotty’s, which would be a lovely place to spend an afternoon after some shopping in the high street (another one for my next visit)!

Top tips

If you’re only in Tenterden for 48-hours, I’d recommend you don’t miss out on visiting one of the many vineyards nearby. If natural wine at Tillingham isn’t your thing then Chapel Down is closer and offers tours, tastings and lunch. Sissinghurst (which I have visited on a previous trip) is stunning during the summer and well worth the trip even if you’re not a history-lover.


Next up

Although the White Lion is high up on our re-visit list, next on our wishlist is a trip to Dunstan House in Burnham on Sea. Just on the Somerset coast, it’s the perfect base for a trip to Wookey Hole, Cheddar Gorge and Mendip Hills for spot of hiking.

Featured Pub

If you like the sound of Kate’s two-day trip to Kent and want to recreate her itinerary (she’s thrown in some great reccy’s) then first-up, you’ll want to book your stay at the White Lion.

And if you’re after any more top tips, the team will be more then happy to share their faves.


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