The Simple Things

Tudor revival



We were badly in need of an escape when we arrived at Providence Cottage near Cranbrook in Kent. Luckily for us, we found a retreat from the modern world in every sense: a 500-year-old, grade-II listed Tudor cottage that wraps you up in its magic and takes you back to a simpler way of life. Just the place to switch off and unwind.

Owners Darren and Ellen have done a fantastic job of respecting the cottage’s heritage, using simple fittings and allowing original features to do the talking. If only the walls could talk! It’s a place that has seen quite some history – it was once owned by John Calcott Horsley, who designed the first ever Christmas card.

Downstairs, a large living and dining room centres around a huge inglenook fireplace. Upstairs, a writing nook, bathroom and double bedroom feature ancient beams, sloping floors, low eaves and exposed brickwork.

Although some might balk at the lack of central heating, television or standing shower, we embraced it. We took long soaks in the bath, spent evenings by fire and candleligh­t, played old vinyl on the record player

and games of dominoes. It’s a place to truly hunker down. We made rounds of warming tea, and at the end of the day, sunk into a beautiful cloud of linen.


After a slow start on our first morning, we headed straight to Sissinghur­st Castle Garden, one of my absolute favourite National Trust properties. The gardens are world-renowned, the work of poet and writer Vita Sackville-West (see page 75), who began transformi­ng the derelict ruins in the 1930s. It might have been winter but it was still a magical place to be, and fascinatin­g to see the intricate bare bones of the ornamental borders. Before leaving, we climbed the castle tower for a wonderful view over the estate and miles of beautiful Wealden countrysid­e.

Later that day we drove a little further on to Tenterden, a former Cinque Port, now stranded inland, with a tree-lined high street and working steam railway. Here we pottered around taking photos, exploring the many independen­t shops, and stopped for a particular­ly good coffee at The Nutmeg Deli and Coffee Shop This series comes from online UK travel guide This is Your

Kingdom, whose handpicked contributo­rs explore favourite places, special finds and great goings on. You can read about one we love here each month and more at thisisyour­

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 ??  ?? From far left: Cranbrook and its smock mill; the inglenook fireplace and timbered exterior at Providence Cottage
From far left: Cranbrook and its smock mill; the inglenook fireplace and timbered exterior at Providence Cottage
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