Love where you Live Wealden


Where do you live?
In Sissinghurst, a village in the beautiful Weald of Kent.

How long have you lived there and what made you decide to move there?
We moved from Highgate in North London in July 2004. Fed up with the traffic and pace in town, we stuck a pin in a map and decided to look in Kent. An estate agent in Tunbridge Wells showed us our house which was out of our search area and over budget but we fell in love! Another family offered on the house but sadly for them it fell through on the day of exchange. Lucky for us though as six weeks later we moved in!

What’s your favourite shop locally?
Stoneydale in Cranbrook is an Aladdin’s cave for makers and crafters of any persuasion. I visit almost daily for ribbons, cake boards, boxes and icing and the children are always buying thread, yarn and art supplies.

The best place to get a cup of coffee?
I’m torn between Cocolicious in Cranbrook which has great coffee, milkshakes and cake (always a treat when someone else makes it) and Lou Lou, the proprietress is very welcoming. Hartley Farm Shop and Café is also lovely and our favourite panini stop after dog walks in Bedgebury and horse riding on a Saturday.

Where do you take people when they come to visit?
Sissinghurst Castle is a 15 minute walk through the woods from our house. It’s one of the National Trust’s busiest properties and has beautiful gardens, woodland and lakeside walks with secret doors to spot and activities all year round.

Where’s your favourite place to eat locally?
The West House in Biddenden is superb. The food is always sublime and I love the cosy, family-run atmosphere which make the Michelin starred food and great choice of wine even more delightful. My husband also runs his own business so every year just the two of us hold our company Christmas dinner at the West House (complete with an employee of the year competition, much to everyone’s amusement…)

Are there any nice views nearby?
Goudhurst is beautiful. The views from the Goudhurst Inn pub across to Brenchley and Horsmonden are vast and green.

If you’re looking to relax and unwind, where’s your favourite place to go?
Kino in Hawkhurst is a cinema unlike the usual. It’s small and intimate but shows a great variety of films and more cultural experiences such as Glyndebourne and National Theatre performances streamed live to the big screen. You can also take a glass of wine or a latte in which is very civilised. Popcorn and rustling sweet packets are banned (they provide paper cups to decant your sweets into) which keep both me and the children happy.

Where’s the best place to meet friends and socialise?
The Milk House pub in Sissinghurst, run by Dane and Sarah Allchorne is a brilliant venue for meeting friends for a quiet drink (or a few loud ones)! I always bump into friends from far and wide and you can have a smart dinner in the dining room or more casual food in the bar area. In the summer, pizzas from the wood fired pizza oven are an after school treat on a Friday, and I don’t have to cook!

Why do you love where you live?
The 13 years I’ve spent in Sissinghurst have been the happiest of my life. We got married, set up two businesses, had three children, three guinea pigs and two dogs (some sadly, no longer with us). We’ve met wonderful people, fabulous friends and I smile every day when I peek through the long window on the landing and see sheep, trees and Sissinghurst Castle in the background.