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She's well positioned, with a strong connection to the horsey set. Come canter around this cottage!

She’s well positioned, with bags of character and a strong connection with the horse racing set. No, it’s not the leading lady from a Jilly Cooper novel, but Yew Tree Cottage – an exceptionally charming character property. Sitting pretty in Shipbourne, she’s a Grade II listed former hall house believed to date back to the 16th Century. Wanna sneak a peak? Tally-ho!


The cottage once formed part of the local Fairlawne Estate and word is that for many years it was inhabited by jockeys of the Fairlawne steeplechase yard (where the Queen mother kept horses and visited often dontcha know). So alongside all the period features there’s other quirky touches, like one of the beams in the entrance hall which has old coins wedged into it, presumably by the jockeys, traditionally for luck.


The property is attached to a small, discreet and very attractive village hall/meeting room. But don’t worry, there are several restrictions on what this building can be used for, by whom and at what times and there are restrictions on noise levels. The gardens are well screened from the hall.

Here, take a nosebag around the kitchen, drawing room, dining room, garden room and morning room. If period features are to your taste you’ll want to note the AGA, vaulted ceilings, exposed beams, drop latch wooden doors and large inglenook fireplaces…

Having formerly been two cottages, there are two staircases to the property, although both the accommodation is linked on both floors.

She’s a 5-bedroom beauty, tastefully presented throughout. The former detached garage was converted by the current owners into an insulated outhouse – perfect for a studio office, place to lock up the kids, granny annexe or hiding the stablehand.

And down the stretch they come… (yup still running with the horsey theme…) So need a couple more clues? Well if you don’t know the area Shipbourne is positioned right between Sevenoaks and Tonbridge both very commutable (direct and fast train to London) both towns literally bursting with great state, grammar and independent schools…

This property overlooks Shipbourne Common and sits centrally in the village with views out to the church opposite.

Outside is a stunning rear garden, which has various areas to enjoy, like a part-walled garden area, lawn with central ornamental pond, picket fenced kitchen garden with raised vegetable beds, several ornamental and fruit trees including apples, medlar and cherry blossom. It’s got almost as much character as the inside of the property.

So, fellow nosey parkers – don’t spit the bit – how much do you think it’s on for then? Find out here, while I make a fast track to a sunny corner and start interviewing the crack-team of buff gardeners you’ll be needing to hire (I’m so thoughtful like that.)

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The Urban Guide to the Countryside - Kent