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Let’s All Live Here!

Thinking about upping sticks? In our regular report, we snoop around one of the hidden property hotspots in the Muddy ‘hood to get the local lowdown. Introducing Tenterden!

Photos: @thebestofkent

Love to daydream about moving house? So do we! That’s why we created this regular column, in which we take our ogling addiction to the next level. 

Outside the bigger tempting towns, our county is bursting with rural or suburban sweet spots – often with exceptional shops, restaurants, schools, transport links and community spirit.

So we asked our expert Fiona Penny – who founded Fiona Penny Bespoke Home Finders 13 years ago and knows both the property industry and this area of the country inside out – to lift the curtain on these Kent destinations. 

Where to this week…? Tenterden, that’s where!

Photo: @thebestofkent

THE LOWDOWN

This one’s a really pretty Kentish market town with more than its fair share of local independent shops, cafés, bars and restaurants.

Think picture perfect High Street which is tree lined with tons of historic buildings – including an 11th century church – and a strong sense of community. This huge dollop of community spirit is never more evident than Christmas time when the folk of this Chocolate Box town truly get behind the festive celebrations.

Outside of Covid-times there’s a beautiful Christmas market – a major three-day event which involves all the local stores, lots of creative stalls and a Father Christmas Grotto. And the town is so stylishly festooned for the season with Christmas lights, trees and twinklings galore.

And for year-round fun, you’re surrounded by other pretty villages and rambling walks in the Garden of England, on the edge of the High Weald, easy day trips to the beaches of the South Coast and yet with easy access to excellent transport links of Ashford. Oh, tell us more, we hear you cry!

TRANSPORT

Tenterden itself does not have a station but both Headcorn (into Charing Cross) and Pluckley (into St Pancras) are around a 20 min drive away and both offer around a 1 hour commute.

Or there’s Staplehurst station, which is a 25 min drive away but a similar commuting time and has a really large car park and a taxi rank!

A 25 min drive will also get you to Ashford International Station with quick train links into the city and London St Pancras only 36 minutes away on the high-speed train. 

And in the other direction, driving to France couldn’t be easier – with the Channel Tunnel less than 15 miles away.

If access to the lovely South coast is your dream, the beautiful town of Rye is a mere 25 minute drive away and the sandy beaches of Camber and Winchelsea just another 5 minutes in the car.

20 minutes will get you onto the M20 to take you into London or down to Folkestone and Sandgate on the coast.

IN LOVE WITH LOCAL

Tenterden is a lovely, bustling and thriving town with a great combination of both high street favourites and local independents.

Right to left: Ibbidi Bobbidi Boo and Love Figis Boutique

A great Waitrose just of the high street, a local Boots and all your clothing needs met with Mint Velvet, Whitestuff, Fatface & Crew Clothing alongside lovely quirky independents such as Love Figis Boutique and Ibbidi Bobbidi Boo (worth a visit for the name alone). 

Tenterden House Interiors

If interiors and home furnishings are your thing then you will be in heaven with the amazing Kagu Interiors, Woodcocks of Tenterden and Tenterden House Interiors being well-established, local favourites as well as newly opened Blossom (beautiful vintage inspired homeware store) and Snug (trendy home interiors & lifestyle store).

Webbs of Tenterden is one of those fantastically traditional ironmongery/hardware shops that sell everything you could ever need or want.

Right to left: The Vine, The Woolpack, The William Caxton and Webb’s

The Vine, The Woolpack and The William Caxton are all situated on the lovely long High Street so you’re never far from a great pub serving great local brews and pub fare!

Hoof & Hook

Restaurants include Ozgur for a great Turkish meal, Montalbano for authentic Italian, Hoof and Hook and The Lemon Tree restaurant for British cuisine.

There’s coffee shops, delis and even a brand new bakery/patisserie, called Artisserie, run by Graham Garrett chef-owner of The West House in Biddenden and Chris Underwood executive pastry chef at The Cadogan Hotel, Chelsea.

OUT AND ABOUT

Silcocks Farm Shop offers the sort of traditional local produce that all farm shops should have. Small, but perfectly formed, with a dog-friendly café that sells great cakes and coffee.

Chapel Down‘s award-winning vineyard is close by, located in the heart of beautiful Kent countryside, offering guided tours, wine tasting and the amazing Swan Wine Kitchen restaurant.

National Trust gems like Sissinghurst Castle, Bodium Castle, Scotney Castle and Smallhythe Place are all within an easy drive to explore. For family fun, the Rare Breeds Centre has all you could want from farm animals, falconry, a butterfly tunnel and – who wouldn’t want to witness this – pig racing!

Tenterden Golf Club offers a beautiful course, nestled in Kent countryside and catering for all levels of swing (so we hear).

Step back in time for a memorable experience on the Kent & East Sussex Railway a stunning, steam train that travels between Tenterden, Northiam and Bodiam, with various events taking place throughout the year, like the sell-out Santa Specials.

EDUCATING MUDDY

Tenterden is well positioned for easy access to some excellent prep schools; Saint Ronans, Dulwich Prep Cranbrook and Marlborough House School are all within an easy drive. And for independent secondary schools, north of Tenterden, towards Maidstone, Sutton Valence is an excellent co-ed school and Benenden School for girls is even closer still. Find out more on our Best Schools Guide here.

HOT PROPERTY 

Average house prices for 3 beds are £340k and for 4 beds it’s £540k.

There are most certainly a lack of larger houses in Tenterden in general so those that do come onto the market are expensive and much sought after. And fought after…which is why a property finding service can be so useful of course!

WHY WE LOVE IT

Deep in the heart of the Weald of Kent, Tenterden has a reputation as a scenic, well-to-do country town. With its friendly feel, traditional weather-boarded buildings and a High Street so pretty you’ll fall in love. But that’s not all; this little town is surrounded by some of Kent’s best attractions and schools – and boasts a strong community spirit.


EXPLORE: CranbrookWest MallingHorsmonden and Plaxtol

Fiona Penny Bespoke Home Finders is a property finding service that can help you find your dream property in Kent and East SussexRead more here.

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