LAURA WILLAN IS THE ORGANISER OF THIS MONTH’S WEALDEN LITERARY FESTIVAL. HERE, SHE TELLS US WHY SHE LOVES WHERE SHE LIVES…
Where do you live?
I live in a farm cottage between Biddenden and Frittenden with my husband, Andrew, and our golden retriever, Penny.
How long have you lived there and what made you decide to move there?
I was born in Kent and spent most of my childhood just outside Woodchurch. When we were living in London, we spent most weekends escaping to the countryside, so decided to return to Kent on a permanent basis a couple of years ago.
What’s your favourite shop locally?
I’ve recently discovered the clothes shop Cordelia James in Hawkhurst which I love when looking for something a bit different. We are also lucky to live down the road from West End House Gallery in Smarden, which exhibits some very lovely artists, and is very hard to resist popping into when passing.
Where’s the best place to go for a Sunday stroll?
We live a mile or two from Sissinghurst Garden which is a great place to take the dog for a swim in the ponds and to walk around the beautiful National Trust grounds.
The best place to get a cup of coffee?
I’m not really a coffee drinker but Nutmeg deli in Tenterden does the best hot chocolate and cakes!
Where do you take people when they come to visit?
I like to take people to Boldshaves Garden. It is a bit of a hidden gem and just happens to be the home of Wealden Literary Festival. The gardens are surrounded by amazing ancient woodland and can feel like a bit of an oasis, particularly at this time of year.
What’s the night life like where you live?
It’s not exactly Ayia Napa, but we’re spoilt for choice in terms of pubs around us. The Bell & Jorrocks in Frittenden is one of the friendliest pubs I know and, very conveniently, is walking distance from home.
Where’s your favourite place to eat locally?Epicius in Cranbrook for a treat, The Milk House in Sissinghurst for a midweek pizza.
Are there any nice views nearby?
I was born in Bilsington which is on the edge of the marsh. We got married in the tiny church there, and one of my earliest memories, and still one of my favourite views, is from here looking out over the marsh, particularly in spring when the lambs have arrived.
Where’s the best place to meet friends and socialise?
Somewhere that has either a fire in the winter or a garden in the summer. I’ve also recently come across the Three Legs Brewery in Brede which is a really great place to while away an afternoon.
What do you do when you spend a weekend or day off in the local area?
My perfect day off would involve a very leisurely breakfast, followed perhaps by a bit of yoga and a chance to catch up with friends and family.
Why do you love where you live?
Kent is very much home for me and there’s a definite sense of community where I live. As an added bonus, the local strawberries are unbeatable!