For a unique and somewhat quirky stay, The Kentish Chapel in the pretty village of Horsmoden in the glorious Weald of Kent, boasts a stunning conversion of an Anglican chapel-of-ease, originally built in 1869. The spectacular, sympathetic conversion has resulted in a beautiful three bedroom holiday home with plenty of the wow factor!
Horsmonden is a countryside, picture postcard idyll surrounded by hop gardens, orchards and dense woodlands. Horsmonden has played a central part in the weaving, iron, gunfounding and hops industries in the past. It is famous for its annual Gypsy Horse Fair held on the second Sunday in September. The village enjoys a large green, known as The Heath, which is brimming with unique shops and pubs. The nearest towns are Tunbridge Wells 8 miles away, Tonbridge, 10 miles to the west and Cranbrook, 8 miles to the east.
The Kentish Chapel is a truly luxurious countryside haven. The architects and interior designers have retained the chapel’s original features including the painted decoration of the chancel roof, its polychrome brickwork and original arched stained glass windows. You will be mesmerised by the living area’s double height, vaulted ceiling and its bespoke, glass panelled staircase. So many jaw-dropping features! The living area is open plan in design offering a cavernous space befitting the chapel’s original character. With underfloor heating throughout the ground floor, guests can laze on the impressive chesterfield sofas and wingback chairs warm and snug. There is a Sonos sound system so that you can relax and listen to your favourite songtracks. A vast brick arch leads you through to the smart dining area with its beautiful stone flooring and traditional dining suite that matches the surrounding wood panelling. The bespoke kitchen sits alongside the dining table under the chancel roof, a mighty achievement blending it in beautifully with the sensational building. It would be very easy to lose the kitchen in this space but it definitely makes itself count with its gorgeous curves, smart cabinetry and fabulous worktops. The anthracite grey cabinetry blends beautifully with the warm tones of the brickwork. There are two ovens, an induction hob, an integrated microwave, a dishwasher and two fridges. Even the most discerning of chefs would be very happy to muster up a delicious feast here. A separate utility room is home to your washing machine, tumble dryer and freezer. Glass doors lead to a gorgeous subterranean snug with its cheerful orange sofas, armchair and smart television. There is also an additional television room, perfect if anyone in your group wants to disappear to watch a film or enjoy their holiday read.
The bespoke, absolutely stunning staircase with its slightly industrial feel transports you to the three outstanding double bedrooms. The top floor master boasts an incredible ceiling, a lavish king-size bed, a floor-to-ceiling glass wall with curtains, a dressing table, wardrobe and a fabulous en-suite bathroom that sits just a few steps up. Like the bedroom, it oozes luxurious appeal and offers spectacular views from the freestanding, double ended bath. There is an impressive shower too. You will surely marvel at this dreamy, luxurious space counting your blessings for your totally unique stay. The second bedroom with its exposed brick walls, magnificent windows and sumptuous king-size bed is another wonder. The remaining carpeted bedroom enjoys two luxurious single beds beautifully adorned with luxury linens and attractive soft furnishings. These two bedrooms share a very contemporary shower room.
Guests staying at The Kentish Chapel enjoy a delightful, enclosed garden with a smart patio area and garden furniture for alfresco dining. It is a very peaceful spot which you will remember for a very long time.
Horsmonden is a peaceful, pretty village deep in the Kent countryside between Tunbridge Wells and Cranbrook. The village boasts a well stocked village shop with a deli and bakery counter and a charming pub, The Gun and Spitroast. There are plenty of other characterful villages close by, mostly with pubs. These include The Goudhurst Inn in Goudhurst, The Small Holding in Kilndown and The Vineyard in Lamberhurst, all enjoying wonderful menus and lovely beer gardens.
The Bedgebury Pinetum and Forest is nearby, perfect for long walks or cycle rides. Younger visitors enjoy the brilliant Go Ape high wire park. Bewl Water is another outdoors attraction with a stunning reservoir where you can enjoy watersports, cycling, an open air cinema and a restaurant.
There are numerous stately homes, castles and other National Trust properties close by. Sissinghurst Castle Garden, 15 minutes from The Kentish Chapel, is historic, poetic, iconic, a refuge dedicated to beauty. Vita Sackville-West, poet and writer and Harold Nicolson, her diplomat and author husband, fell in love with Sissinghurst Castle and created the famous gardens. Harold’s architectural garden planning and Vita’s colourful, abundant planting reflect the romance and intimacy of her writing. Sissinghurst Castle Garden was the backdrop of a colourful history from a time as a prison in the 1700’s to a home for the women’s land army. The gardens are so popular entry is by timed ticket so you need to plan in advance. The National Trust’s 14th century Scotney Castle enjoys a romantic moat and a beautiful garden, all in a gorgeous wooded estate. Again, it is only 15 minutes from The Kentish Chapel. The picturesque garden enjoys the fabulous backdrop of the fairytale castle and its Victorian country mansion. There are over 770 acres of beautiful parkland, woodland and hop gardens. Not far away, you can visit the magnificent Hever Castle, at Hever, just outside Edenbridge. It enjoys a history spanning more than 700 years. The original medieval castle was built in 1270 and in the 15th and 16th centuries was home to the one of the most powerful families in the country, the Boleyns, who added the Tudor dwelling within the castle walls. The castle is famous for becoming the childhood home of Anne Boleyn, King Henry VIII’s second wife who became Queen for just 1000 days. Hever passed into the ownership of Anne of Cleves and from 1557 it was owned by a numer of families. Today it is magnificent with glorious rooms open to the public, many events and wonderful trails and activities in the stunning grounds. Penshurst Place offers another wonderful visit. The 14th century manor house, once the property of King Henry VIII was left to his son King Edward VI and granted to Sir William Sidney in 1552. It has remained in the Sidney family and is a stunning family house with truly remarkable gardens, well worth a visit.
If you want a beach day, you can head to the Sussex coast and visit the wonderful town of Rye, a medieval citadel huddled against invaders and sea. The town is home to a myriad of art, curiosities, boutique hotels, trendy restaurants and cosy pubs. Built of smuggled secrets and timeless tale, Rye has plenty of nooks and crannies to explore and distant views across Romney Marsh to ponder.
In the opposite direction, you can explore the wonders of Canterbury, another historic town. Visitors flock to the incredible Catherbury Cathedral which houses the famous shrine of Thomas Beckett. St Augustine’s Abbey and St Martin’s Church are also spectacular historical sites that earned UNESCO status. There is a Canterbury Tales attraction plus a popular zoo, Howletts Wild Animal Park, home to gorillas, lions, tigers and elephants.
Wine lovers are thoroughly spoilt in this area. The most famous vineyard is the Chapel Down Vineyard, close to the picturesque market town of Tenterden. It is open to visitors throughout the year. You can enjoy tastings, tours and masterclasses. It is a wonderful day out though you may have to draw straws to see who is driving. The nearby Hush Heath Winery is a family run local vineyard that produces award winning wines. You can easily book an expert-led tour through their beautiful vineyards, apple orchards and ancient oak woodlands. Also popular are the Biddenden Vineyard, the Mount Vineyard, the Chartham Vineyard and the Terlingham Vineyard. There are also many local farm shops selling local produce.
Hythe, the coastal market town on the edge of Romney Marsh offers a delightful beach, the lovely Brockhill Country Park and the famous Port Lympne Reserve. The authentic safari experience is unlike a normal zoo. Over 90 species and 766 animals roam within the 600 acres. There are big cats, gorillas and primates roaming free.