Out and About in the Country
Penshurst Place is one of England’s oldest family homes, the medieval manor house and estate has been owned by the Sidney family since 1552. It passed through the hands of two of Henry IV’s sons before it became the property of Henry VIII who used it as a hunting lodge.
Henry VIII gave it to Anne of Cleves as part of her divorce settlement. Edward VI, son of Henry VIII and his third wife Jane Seymour, gave the estate to his steward and tutor, Sir William Sidney.
In 1599, Queen Elizabeth I visited Penshurst Place for the first time.
The current owner Philip Sidney, 2nd Viscount De L’Isle MBE, Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of Kent, inherited the estate in 1991.
The Gardens at Penshurst Place are among the oldest in private ownership. They were first laid out in the 14th century and cover eleven acres of individual rooms to provide a succession of colour and interest throughout the seasons.
Venture into the historic parkland and you will be rewarded with a landscape that has hardly changed for hundreds of years flaunting manicured trees, topiary hedges and neat as a button flowerbeds as well as a mix of wildlife and habitats. There are two walking trails across the estate, call into the gift shop to purchase details of the Parkland and the Riverside Walks.
You can enjoy a light lunch or afternoon tea in the Garden Restaurant or The Porcupine Pantry.
On your return to Royal Tunbridge Wells enjoy a glass of some the very best wines from around the world, quality beers and spirits, or a cocktail at the Townhouse Wine and Tapas Bar on Calverley Road.
For dinner, try one of these restaurants:
– Thackeray’s in London Road – this fine dining restaurant offers modern French cuisine accompanied by meticulous presentation and service. Spend a little more for a five star memorable meal;
– Vittle and Swig, Camden Road – this restaurant and bar is perfect for relaxed drinking and dining from a menu offering contemporary British Cuisine;
– The Barn, Lonsdale Gardens, just off Mount Pleasant – excellent food and drink at great value prices, combined with ‘the barn’ character and informal atmosphere, it’s a place to chill out with friends and family. This venue has been run by the same family for more than 25 years and hosts weddings too.
Alternatively go out, be adventurous and find your own special place. There is a vast array to choose from!