Search

Review: Remote Kent getwaway is million miles from London chaos

14:33 20 June 2015

Wingham is a delightful hamlet complete with village church

Wingham is a delightful hamlet complete with village church

Archant

A retreat in England‘s garden can be just the ticket, says Jon Dean

Witherdens is a series of villas dotted around a converted barnWitherdens is a series of villas dotted around a converted barn

Kent, known as the garden of England, truly is a cheeky getaway from London.

In just 50 minutes from St Pancras, you too can be in the heart of this sylvan paradise; slow country lanes, sun-dappled villages and picturesque church spires poking through lovely hillside copses.

Gateway to this deciduous utopia is the ancient cathedral city of Canterbury, which is a short taxi ride away from myriad hamlets nestled in the green hillocks - Wickhambreaux, Littelbourne, Bramley - all a million miles from the chaos of the capital, despite their relative proximity.

We stayed at Witherdens Hall, the most mellow of retreats on the outskirts of a little place called Wingham.

Kent: Truly the garden of EnglandKent: Truly the garden of England

After we eventually found the place (satnavs struggle to find it) and crunched up the gravel path, we were greeted by nothing so much as a pack of friendly pooches, who wandered up and gave us bit of a sniff by way of a hello.

Despite wandering around for some time, our four-legged companions were our only welcome, until a lady popped out from one of the cute little cottages to check us in.

That’s the kind of place Witherdens is - supremely relaxing, informal, accepting and basically chilled as you like.

It’s the brainchild of a former city banker and erstwhile globe-trotting musician who fancied a change of pace - now they give others the opportunity to do the same.

Once we’d got our bearings, we found Witherdens was a made up of few little villas dotted round a converted barn, with chickens clucking away in a coop, and a plunge pool being prepared for the summer.

Our quarters were in a part time yoga studio - so while the bedroom was small, the front room was massive (class size) and the place featured a steam shower, massage chair, thermal heat sauna; basically everything you need to sooth those aching travel bones.

It’s wonderfully isolated, encouraging you to do little more than saunter around, get massaged, catch up on a bit of reading, explore the nearby village and stroll through the rolling countryside - a great way to recharge the batteries.

Of course, a remote location can be a double-edged sword. Wingham is lovely, but limited, and if you want to get around without a car (as we did) it’s taxis all the way.

Cash point? £20. Train station? £20. Trip to a restaurant? £20. Basically resign yourself to forking out a bit on cars.

But that’s OK - you don’t really want to leave the compound anyway.

Our one real trip our was to the lovely town of Sandwich for a bite at a gorgeous riverside boozer called The Bell.

The town was medieval and very pleasing to the eye - despite the odd incongruous bus load of overseas tourists - while the pub was full of countryside charm and had a cracking little menu.

But apart from that evening excursion, there was very little we wanted to do but chill out at Witherdens, amid the company of friendly dogs and a relaxing, parochial atmosphere until it was time to go home - inevitably far too soon.

Latest Islington Stories

Yesterday, 17:00
Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley star in Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie. Picture: David Appleby

In the interest of fairness and balance: I’ve never seen an episode of Absolutely Fabulous.

Yesterday, 14:03
The chocolate shop in Camden Passage

Got a sweet tooth? Look no further than Camden Passage, home to world- famous chocolatier Paul Young’s first ever store.

Yesterday, 12:02
The girls after their success at the regional finals

An all expenses trip to Abu Dhabi is at stake on Wednesday when a team of girls from the Dania primary school on Northampton Road travel to the final of a Formula 1 design competition.

Yesterday, 10:06
Cllrs Richard Watts and Kaya Comer-Schwartz

Earlier this week, a father and son walk through an Islington park. They see a man with a loaf of bread, feeding ducks in a pond. The boy is curious. The father asks the man if his son can take a slice. They get chatting. The bread man asks the father where he is from. Syria, he replies. He is one of a handful of refugees to have recently fled the turmoil of his home country to make a new home in Islington. The bread man, with tears in his eyes, says: “I want you to know how welcome you are here.”

Yesterday, 08:00
The Book Club will become Absolutely Fabulous. Picture: David Appleby

Sweetie darlings, prepare yourselves, because beloved 90s sitcom Absolutely Fabulous is finally hitting the big screen – and to celebrate, one Shoreditch bar is getting in the Bolly for a takeover night.

Thu, 15:00
Children play in the street at the recent event

Play time brought traffic to a stand still on June 24 as Thornhill Primary school shut off a section of Lofting Road in Barnsbury to give its pupils a play time to remember.

Thu, 15:00
Jessica Regan and Michelle Terry as Montjoy and King Henry. Picture: Johan Persson

Shakespeare’s ever-topical examination of national identity and international relationships feels extraordinarily pertinent right now.

Thu, 13:00
Love doctor Cate Mackenzie

Love doctor Cate Mackenzie has been teaching singletons the art of romance in her energetic workshops at the The Joker of Penton Street pub.

Newsletter Sign Up

Most read

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Competitions

Copyright: Erich Spiegelhalter/Schwarzwald

Embark on a three day round trip (including flights) during which you will taste local specialities such as the famous Black Forest Gateau, discover nature, absorb vibrant city culture, learn about technological innovations, indulge yourself in the plentiful wellness spas, take some shots on the golf course, and enjoy family fun at Germany’s largest theme park.

£15k prize bundle

Imagine having the opportunity to win an incredible £15,000 bundle of some of the most amazing prizes available. Well, for one lucky contest entrant that dream could soon become a reality because we at MyOffers are offering an incredible free prize bundle that will make even the most hardened person wild with excitement.

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Islington Gazette
e-edition today

Subscribe