Friday, 4 August 2017


Back to Anne H this week - as both Anne C and I have been in separate countries for pretty much the last two months!  I am continuing my trips round the UK, this time spending a week in Kent to attend a friend's son's wedding and then taking in some of the sights of the beautiful "garden of England" county. Above is the outfit I wore to the wedding which was held in Princess Diana's old school West Heath, a fabulous venue for such a special day. I am wearing a dress purchased from Fenn Wright Manson - the Montpellier design - and which is now in the sale at £118. The shoes are from Carvela Kurt Geiger and I teamed them with a clutch and pashmina from Simply Devine in Tadcaster. 


On our first foray into the tourist hotspots of Kent, we visited Hever Castle on a beautiful sunny day. I am a great lover of country houses and have always had a particular interest in the Tudor period, so the chance to visit Anne Boleyn's family home was not to be missed.

It is a visit I cannot recommend enough, from the fabulous cafe to the gardens, and of course the house itself, there is so much to see and enjoy. The history and ownership of the house spanning more than 700 years is amazing and includes not just the Boleyns but Anne of Cleves as well.

The American William Waldorf Astor purchased the property in the early 1900s and was responsible for refurbishing the house and the creation of the gardens, including the beautiful 38 acre lake which was built by 800 men in under 2 years ....just a mind boggling feat. The Italian Garden was created to house Astor's amazing collection of Italian sculptures and overall he allegedly spent £10 million on the house and gardens (£1 billion in today's money!). The lake and gardens alone were reputed to have had £1 million spent on them (£110 million today). Hard to imagine that anyone could invest those sort of funds these days, but he must have been thrilled with the final result.

The walled rose garden was particularly beautiful and now reaching its full maturity.  The first flowering will have been in June but the colours are still amazing and the sheer number of plants staggering. I wouldn't want to dead head this lot!

There are beautiful walks and different gardens throughout the estate and even mazes - a yew and a water one.


I also made my first ever visit to the Wimbledon tournament with tickets for court Number 1 for the quarter finals of the women's tennis. It was a great day out and only marred by the weather - one of the few days of rain in the whole of the 2017 tournament. So sadly there was minimal tennis, although we saw one full match and three-quarters of the second including watching the overall winner Garbine Muguruza play.   


We made our way to Penshurst, which is less than six miles from where we were staying in Tonbridge, to eat at The Bottle House Inn and restaurant where we had a brilliant meal. I was particularly taken by the pub sign which was really imaginative and has been designed by the son of the owner and handmade by Adam Aaronson Glass Studio.  

The Inn itself reflects the style of building often found in Kent with red roof and white clapper board cladding, cosy interiors and a really friendly and helpful staff to boot.

Having enjoyed a hearty meal we headed down into Penshurst to wander round the pretty churchyard and village which had established itself around Penshurst Place - the ancestral home of the Sidney family. Sadly the house itself was closed as it was evening time but the local hotel The Leicester Arms was open so we popped in for a coffee before heading back.  


On our final full day in Kent we ventured by train to Rye which is located in East Sussex. This pretty town with cobbled streets and medieval black and white buildings reminded me of York and in particular the Shambles. In medieval times it was an important Cinque Port and indeed was surrounded by the sea although now the harbour is some 2 miles from the town itself.

The parish church of St Mary's dominates the town and includes some beautiful stained glass windows and is well worth a visit. 

Voted one of the prettiest streets is Mermaid Street which is home to The Mermaid Inn,  notorious for its links to smugglers who are said to still haunt the premises.  The cellars of the inn date back to the 12th century although much of the current building was primarily from the 16th century, so lots of low ceilings and beams abound in this fantastic building.

It has been a delight to see yet another corner of our beautiful United Kingdom and I look forward to venturing to some more new destinations in the coming months.  If you could guarantee sun in the summer months, there really would be no point in venturing further afield!



  1. I absolute love Rye! We love the UK, I would rather live there then here, and we visit Rya at least twice a year! And Hever castle is one of my favorite castles. And those gardens! Oh so pretty! I really enjoyed reading this post, it brings me a bit back to the UK!

  2. How lovely to hear about your love for this area. It's ridiculous that this was my first visit to Kent. Why is it is so often the case that we are so busy going abroad on holiday that we don't explore our own country? I hope you make it back soon xx


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