The Simple Things
SEE, DO, STAY, LOVE THE UK. THIS MONTH: A SIMPLE, ANCIENT COTTAGE IN KENT
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.
SEE & DO
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 thisisyourkingdom.co.uk.