English wines have been the focus of a good deal of ribbing amongst our European counterparts in years gone by, but in the last decade or so have come into their own and are regularly winning awards all over the world for their outstanding quality. Here, we highlight three beautiful Aga Cottages in one of the most prolific wine regions of the UK – Kent, the Garden of England.
Beyond The Bluebells
Drive through and beyond, (as the name suggests), beautiful woods, scattered in season with bluebells and you will find this enchanting farmhouse, comfortably furnished and fully-equipped to provide a relaxing, rural, family sized retreat. Beyond the Bluebells looks like it should be featured in the pages of an ideal home magazine. Sleeping up to thirteen family members, (maximum ten adults), this house oozes rustic charm with plenty of outdoor games and a Jacuzzi and solar shower to enjoy in the two acre grounds. And in the kitchen? An electric Aga and all the equipment you need for a holiday in the country. A dream home by any standards, Beyond the Bluebells is only a short journey from the historic Cathedral City of Canterbury and the Kent coastline.
Beyond the Bluebells is also a nippy twenty minutes by car from Barnsole Vineyard, an award-winning boutique estate producing quality English wine and selling direct to the public from the winery door. Whether your taste is for crisp, dry white or fruity reds or bubbles, Barnsole can accommodate your tastes at very reasonable prices. There are also winery tours and tastings from May to September. For more information please visit:
Another house perfect for a family celebration, and big enough to accommodate the whole family under one roof is the majestic Birch Pavilion in the picturesque village of Frant near Tunbridge Wells. Sleeping up to fifteen in seven bedrooms, Birch Pavilion is over 200 years old and is mentioned in the Doomsday Book. It is set in 3000 acres of parkland and features 30 foot high windows and stunning oak beams throughout. Perfect for a winter break with deep, squishy sofas around an inglenook fireplace or a summer fiesta taking advantage of the outdoor tennis courts and outdoor seating, family groups can also enjoy outdoor pursuits nearby such as clay pigeon shooting and trout fishing. A large electric Aga takes centre stage in the kitchen and provides a warm focus for family feasts.
An added bonus for wine lovers holidaying at Birch Pavilion is the Kent Vineyard which is a 25-30 minute drive away in Colliers Green. The vineyard opens it’s gates to visitors several days a year for ‘Cheery Days’ on which members of the public can get a taste of running a vineyard and insight into caring for vines from pruning to harvesting, with a choice of activity depending on the season.
For details of Cheery Days in Kent please visit:
A little further afield is the world class Chapel Down Vineyard, only 20 minutes away by car, which runs all year round tours and tastings in the delightful village of Tenterden. Chapel Down may be most well known for its multi-award winning range of wines but the vineyard also produces the Curious range of beers and cider.
Article by: Rebecca Russell
Main image: Chapel Down Vineyard