One thing we like doing here in the UK is to pick up the car and drive around to explore new places.
As we live in South East London and we are closer to Kent, we tend to go there quite often.
You would be amazed as to how many little cute villages there are at the “Garden of England” as Kent is best known.
And because I’m a National Trust Member (more info here), I usually look at my handbook or their website to decide where to go for a day trip.
One of the discoveries was the tiny little village of basically one street, the Chiddingstone Village, one of the oldest in Kent.
The village is owned by the National Trust, apart from the school, the castle and the church. And it is described as being “the best surviving example of a Tudor village”.
Over 70 per cent of the buildings in the village are longer than 200 years old.
Unfortunately the day we went to, the castle was closed, so we just strolled around the street, stopped for a cake at the cute Tulip Tree Shop and a pint at the Castle Inn of course.
The Tulip Tree is believed to be the oldest working shop in the country, dating back to 1453.
Nowadays, it is a gift shop, a grocery store and a delicious tea room and coffee shop with an excellent array of cakes.
I’m not sure if it is true, but apparently, the building has once belonged to Sir Thomas Bullen, father of Anne Boleyn, the most famous of the 6 wives of King Henry VIII. All I could find was that he had property at the village, so if you know more info, please let me know.
The Castle Inn managed by the owners of Botley Hill Farmhouse is one of the 60 pubs owned by the National Trust.
The first mention of the inn dates back to the early 15th century, giving this building a real sample of a traditional English inn.
Another thing to see in the village is the fascinating ‘Chiding Stone’.
The rock formation dates back millions of years, and it is believed to be the inspiration behind the village’s name.
Rumour has it that this bewitching stone was treated as a sacred site by ancient druids. More recently, it was used to reproach (chid) nagging wives and wrongdoers hence the name of the town.
There is also the beautiful Grade II St. Mary the Virgin church from the 13th Century.
How to get there?
There is no train station in the village so you will have to go to Penshurst Rail Station in Chiddingstone Causeway and from there, it is 2.5 miles (5km), that you can walk or cycle.
You can take the bus 232 from High St in Edenbridge TN8 5AD towards Chiddingstone Village.
The best way, in my opinion, is driving around the scenic routes in Kent. Just follow the Post Code TN8 7AH and enjoy the views. All parking is on the street for free.
What else to see and do?
If you still have time, you can visit some close by places like:
– Hever Castle, once owned by the Boleyn family (2.1 miles)
– Chartwell, the home of Winston Churchill (5.7 miles) – read more here
– Knole Park, also owned by the National Trust (9.2 miles)
– the stunning Sheffield Park (18.5 miles) – read more here
– Ightham Mote – read more here, and many more places.
I hope you have a lovely day!