FRANCESCA WATSON IS THE FOUNDER OF THE SEVENOAKS MUMS WEBSITE. HERE, SHE TELLS US WHY SHE LOVES WHERE SHE LIVES…
Where do you live?
In Plaxtol, about five miles away from Sevenoaks.
How long have you lived there and what made you decide to move there?
We moved here in the summer of 2011. We wanted to be in a pretty rural village but access to London was a key part
of the decision for my husband Richard’s daily commute.
What’s your favourite shop locally?
Plaxtol has one fabulous village shop/post office handily opposite our house and quite the place to find out the local goings on! Further afield, there’s a fantastic ladieswear shop in Sevenoaks called Devine on Dorset Street, run by a lovely lady called Elaine who always has a great selection clothes and shoes to dent the credit card.
Where’s the best place to go for a Sunday stroll?
There’s a gorgeous walk behind Shipbourne Church up the hill to Ightham Mote across the ridge and round again. We usually have a refreshing drink in the Chaser Pub once we’re done.
Where do you take people when they come to visit?
For a walk across the Fairlawne Estate which surrounds Plaxtol. It’s a beautifully kept estate with some great views.
What’s the night life like where you live?
Depends who’s hosting!
Where’s your favourite place to eat locally?
The pubs in Plaxtol, Shipbourne and Ivy Hatch all do great food or we love the steak in El Matador in Sevenoaks.
Are there any nice views nearby?
Lots! Doing a loop of Plaxtol you can see right across the Bourne Valley or we head over to Riverhill Himalayan Gardens in the spring to climb up through the bluebell woods and up to the top for a view across the Weald.
If you’re looking to relax and unwind, where’s your favourite place to go?
There’s a day spa, Reynolds Retreat, in Borough Green, so a treatment or maybe a swim and relax around the pool is a rare treat.
Where’s the best place to meet friends and socialise?
Sevenoaks has lots of restaurants for mum meet ups or dinner with my husband. For child friendly gatherings, we like the Poacher and Partridge in Tudeley. It is particularly great in the summer as the beer garden has comfortable seating and a playframe to keep the kids amused.
What do you do when you spend a weekend or day off in the local area?
I don’t really have a day off as such as I the website takes up a lot of my time and the children are still small so we might go to Knole Park to see the deer or visit friends.
Why do you love where you live?
Our community, most definitely. I’m a West Country girl from Somerset, and I barely knew anyone here when we first moved to Kent in 2008. We’ve been so lucky to make some fabulous local friends.