Category Archives: Kent

The season to be jolly

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We didn’t have a white Christmas this year – it has been quite mild, really, with temperatures above 10C – but ice rinks across the country take care of bringing a bit of the magic of Christmas (if you are used to it in the North Hemisphere) to us all. 

We have never been to Winter Wonderland, in central London, and we never took the girls to one of the many ice rinks across London. The trip and the crowds just don’t attract me. So it was great to find a place not too far from us, with an outdoor, but covered, ice rink. It is in Ruxley Manor Garden Centre, in Sidcup, Kent. The garden centre was a nice discovery; it’s not only a for all things for the garden but it also has a nice food market with some yummy looking fruits and veggies and other food. There are two restaurants, shops, etc. Durimg school holidays, there are activities for kids (a Circus during February half term). 

Not something for tourists though.

   
   

Eynsford, Kent

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This post is a bit late, as I was hoping we would be able to go back to Eynsford before I published it. Nopes, it didn’t work.

We went to Eynsford (Dartford, Kent) when my mum was still here. The idea was to visit Eagle Heights, a wildlife park that we thought Laura would love. But we got there before it opened, so we decided to visit the little centre.

The place is cute as most of England’s small medieval towns, with very well preserved cottages and historic buildings, narrow roads with little or no sidewalks and a stream cutting the town, where locals and tourists come to cool down and “fish” in summer. Laura simply loved it, she made friends there and didn’t want to leave to go to Eagle Heights. We ended up spending the whole day by the river, had a coffee a small coffee shop nearby and had lunch in a gastro pub across the road. The food in both places was good, but a bit expensive. We had Sunday roast at the pub, which was as good as a roast lunch can be (I’m not particularly fan of roasts) and the portions were huge.

So, we will try to go back before winter strikes back, to visit Eagle Heights and the ruins of Eynsford Castle, built in 1088, Lullingstone Castle, which is in fact a Manor House, originally built in the 15th century, and Lullingstone Roman Villa, which is essentially a roman villa as the name says. So plenty to see and do there. 🙂

Note to self: ALWAYS take bathing suite for Laura in ANY day out in summer.

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On the right, the stream, on the left the gastro pub, in the middle “the grass beach”. Empty because it was still 10am. It was completely packed by lunch time.

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The water was cold, but Laura (and all kids and dogs) couldn’t care less.

Detail of the window of the coffee shop

Detail of the window of the coffee shop

Cottage next door to the coffee shop we were - I couldn't take a decent picture because there were people in the house

Cottage next door to the coffee shop we were – I couldn’t take a decent picture because there were people in the house

The Plough - the pub we had lunch

The Plough – the pub we had lunch

Good to know:

How to get there: there are trains to Eynsford from Blackfriars station (via Elephant and Castle and Bromley South). Everything seems to be quite close to each other, but I don’t think it is easy/safe to walk around to the places, especially if you have small children. If going by train, check buses and mini cabs companies that can take you to the places.

Map of the area, with the attractions in blue

Map of the area, with the attractions highlighted in blue

Eynsford Castle:
Entrance: FREE
Opening times: 29th March to 30th September, from 10am to 6pm / 1st October to 28th March, from 10am to 4pm. It closes in certain bank holidays

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Ruins of Eynsford Castle. Source: English Heritage website

Eagle Heights:
Entrance: adults – £9 / child 3 to 14 – £5.50 / Students and Senior Citizen – £7.50
Opening times: summer from 10:30 am to 5pm and winter from 11am to 4pm. Check the website for animal encounters and shows times.

Lullingstone Castle and The World Garden:
Opening times: from 29th March to 30th September
World Garden Open: Fridays (except Good Friday), Saturdays and Sundays plus Bank Holiday Mondays: 12 noon – 5pm.
House Open: Either every Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 2pm only, for a 45-minute guided tour (included in the ticket price). Or every Bank Holiday Weekend (except Good Friday) from 12 noon to 5pm (last entry at 4pm; no guided tour).
Prices: Adult £7.00 / Child £4.00 (5-15 yrs old) / Senior citizen £6.50 / Family £18.00 (2 adults & 2 children or 1 adult & 3 children)

Lullingstone Roman Villa:
Opening times: 29th March to 30th September, 10am to 6pm. 1st October to 3rd November, 10am to 5pm. 4th November to 16th March, only opened Saturday and Sunday, from 10am to 4pm. Other special opening days apply, always check the website before going.
Prices: adult £6.50 / child (5-15): £3.70 / Students and Senior citizen: £5.60

This post is part of the Kent, the garden of England series. To read more, click here.

Kent, the garden of England

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I get very confused with England’s regions, counties, etc., and I’m too lazy to try to understand how it works, but after a very super quick look on wikipedia, I found out that Kent is one of the 8 home counties in England (see map below, taken from Wikipedia), which are basically the counties in Southeast England that surrounds London. Not sure why this info is useful and why I’m posting it here, but there you go.

The counties surrounding London

The counties surrounding London

Weirdly enough, my address says I live in Kent, but technically I live in the London Borough of Bromley. Today we decided to go on to the Sevenoaks Wildlife Reserve by car and the sign of “Welcome to Kent, the garden of England” was quite far from where we leave, so I don’t understand why we live in Kent when we are actually quite far from the border. Never mind.

Dear reader, Kent is that big area on the Southeast coast of the map above and it is considered the garden of England because of its abundance of orchards and hop gardens. It has also a nominal border with France and because of its location (between London and France), it has staged several important battles, Hastings being one of them.

And because we live in, aham, Kent, nothing more natural than explore our county, right? So far, we’ve visited Leeds Castle, in Maidestone, went to Dover and visited Dover Castle (check photos from Hastings and Dover here – Hastings is in East Sussex), went shopping in Greenhithe and the most recent day trips were to Eynsford (post in progress) and Sevenoaks (we have actually been to the reserve twice, I’ll write a post about it soon-ish). There are still dozens of places I would like to visit – I want to go back to Dover and visit the White Cliffs, Canterbury (I can’t believe we haven’t been there yet), and visit a bit more of the coast. But these places are a long drive away from us and we have to leave the house really early.

So, hopefully, before the summer comes to an end, we will visit a couple of other places and share some photos here.

Dover Castle

Dover Castle

Leeds Castle

Leeds Castle