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Spring Stays and Rainy Days

As spring unfolds its kaleidoscope of colours, inviting us into a world of blossoming flowers, chirping birds and the promise of brighter days, Kent stands as a testament to the bountiful beauty that characterises this season. 

Penshurst Place

From the stunning gardens of historic houses to imaginative seasonal menus bursting with the fresh flavour of springtime produce, The Garden of England offers a myriad of ways to immerse yourself in all the glories of the season. For those rainier days better off spent indoors, the county is home to a haven of sanctuaries that come in the form of luxury holiday homes complete with log burners for cosying up next to, magnificent hotels with supreme spa facilitates and cultural venues that promise to enthral with a multitude of exhibitions and theatrical performances. For those of us that crave all the excitement and activeness of the outdoors but without having to face the elements, Kent also has a plethora of covered sports venues to keep us entertained too.

The leafy spa town of Tunbridge Wells is the perfect antidote for brightening up any dull spring day, with its vibrant Pantiles alive with plenty of hustle and bustle. Find shelter under this historic and covered colonnade that comes lined with shops, galleries and cafes. The Pantiles provides a charming atmosphere even on rainy days, with plenty of places perfect for pit stops and pick-me-ups. For those in search of a tasty avocado and poached eggs on sourdough brunch, stop by at The Pantiles Café, and for those parched for a pretty cocktail as the afternoon goes on, head to Charlotte’s on The Pantiles for some of the best in Kent, all served in decadent, stylish surroundings ideal for any Instagram pictures. For those wanting to extend their retail therapy experience, while still staying dry, head over to Royal Victoria Place. This glittering shopping centre offers a range of shops, from fashion to homeware, providing the ultimate sheltered space for a rainy day spree! 

As well as shopping and foodie spots, Tunbridge Wells offers a whole host of culture and history to discover. Check out Trinity Theatre for a variety of performances including plays, concerts and film screenings. It’s a great way to spend a rainy day while appreciating the arts. This March, theatregoers can choose from screenings of Priscilla; multi-award-winning and trail-blazing comedian Paul Foot’s tour, Dissolve; a performance from The Upbeat Beatles; and many more acts and exhibitions. History buffs need not be left out when exploring Tunbridge Wells either – discover the local history and art scene at Tunbridge Wells Museum and Art Gallery. Here, learn more about the town’s heritage, the enthralling story of how it came to be and why it was so loved by royalty and aristocrats. 

The Kentish Hare

On the outskirts of the town, the glorious Kentish countryside can be appreciated in all its beauty. Stop by at the Bidborough Ridge, which is known for its sweeping views of the West Kent countryside. Offering excellent opportunities for walking and hiking, Bidbourough Ridge is perfect for exploring the picturesque surroundings, enjoying the fresh spring air and taking in awe-inspiring views. Escape any spring showers by paying a visit to St. Lawrence Church in Bidborough, which is known for its historical significance and architectural charm. The church itself dates back to the 13th century and is a notable landmark in the area. After you’ve finished exploring, stop by at The Kentish Hare to feed your appetite. This gastropub has been awarded various accolades including two AA Rosettes, a Bib Gourmand by the highly respected Michelin Guide in 2021 and voted in at number five in the Estrella Damm Top 50 GastroPubs awards. Chris and James Tanner have assembled a great professional team focused on delivering the best of local food complemented by a specially selected range of wines, beers and spirits. You will be assured of a warm welcome in delightful stylish surroundings with wonderful food and service. Care is taken both in sourcing and cooking, and dishes are boldly flavoured and beautifully presented – certain to be showcasing the best of Kent’s spring produce.

Cart Lodge

For those wanting to extend their stay in Tunbridge Wells in their very own cosy home-away-from-home, look no further than Bloom Stays’ Cart Lodge. Cart Lodge has been beautifully renovated to provide a spacious holiday home all on one floor and ideal for couples or small families. The open-plan lodge gives an air of space and tranquillity, with wonderful views over the surrounding countryside making it the perfect place for a spring staycation. The living space combines a cosy seating area where you can snuggle up to the roaring wood burning stove, which can also be enjoyed from the bedroom as it sits in the middle of both rooms. In the evenings, really make yourselves feel at home by cooking up a storm in the well-equipped kitchen.

The kitchen at Cart Lodge

Known as ‘the heart of Kent’, Kent’s county town of Maidstone also comes awash with entertaining things to discover. Explore Fremlin Walk, a shopping and leisure destination that will shelter you from any rain. You can spend time browsing through a variety of shops, boutiques and cafes, all under cover. For those that would prefer more sports-style activities, pay a visit to The Climbing Experience, an 18,000-sq ft indoor bouldering and fun wall climbing centre complete with coffee shop. For those looking for indoor fun that requires some logical problem solving, why not visit escape room experience Escape Hub? A thrilling and engaging indoor activity that can be a lot of fun for groups, families and friends of all ages. 

The Climbing Experience

Culture vultures need not feel left out in Maidstone, either. As a historic town, Maidstone offers plenty of cultural venues that celebrate the town’s arts scene and heritage alike. Check out the Hazlitt Theatre for live performances including theatre productions, comedy shows and concerts. This March, choose from the likes of Oh What A Night! and The Addams Family. Want to discover more of Maidstone’s history? Visit the Maidstone Museum, which houses a diverse range of exhibits covering art, history and culture. It’s a great place to learn about local heritage and enjoy a day of indoor exploration to improve your knowledge.

Hazlitt Theatre

Maidstone’s geographical position also lends itself to being surrounded by swathes of beautiful Kentish countryside. With this countryside comes picturesque villages and therefore some of the county’s cosiest country pubs that offer a warm hearth and hearty food ideal for visiting on rainy spring days. One such example is The Red Bull in the village of Eccles. Surrounded by ancient walks and vineyards, the refurbished Red Bull enjoys a perfect position by the Pilgrims Way. A cosy family and dog friendly sixteenth century pub , cosy up by the open fire as hundreds of travellers have done for centuries, or, on sunnier days, enjoy a refreshing drink and bite to eat on the outdoor terrace or garden. The Red Bull pride themselves on their delicious modern and reinvented pub classics with quality meats, game, vibrant vegan dishes and fresh fish specials, sourcing locally and using their own inhouse smokers and dry-ageing fridges. The delicious dishes promise to be packed with the very best of Kentish springtime produce, one example being The Red Bull’s meat farmer, who raises his stock in fields just the other side of the River Medway

Chilston Park

For those wanting to extend their stay in Maidstone, while adding in even more indulgence with a historical edge, then look no further than a stay at Chilston Park. A classic British country house hotel located in beautiful rural surroundings, Chilston Park boasts an abundance of style and charm. Guests can really indulge in a stay here when they opt for a ‘Feature Bedroom’ – luxurious suites designed to enthral, these would have been the original rooms for the Lord and Lady of the house. Huge exposed beams, intricately carved timber bed frames, warm wooden floorboards and other opulent furnishings make the feature bedroom an incredible stay that’s sure to be remembered. 

The Chilston Suite at Chilston Park

Another historic town that comes full of culture through its theatre and museums is Canterbury. With no less than three individual theatres, show lovers of all kinds are certain to get their drama fix when they spend some time in this thriving city. One of insideKENT’s favourite theatres to visit is The Malthouse Theatre. This March, get ready for some serious laughter at Comedy Ladder, an hilarious show featuring some of the very best comedians on the circuit. Fancy something more musical? Then A Country Night in Nashville might suit you. Those looking for a spine-chilling play will love the gripping adaptation of Dickens’ most haunting work The Haunting, and for those with little children, There Was An Old Lady That Swallowed A Fly would be the perfect pick.

The Malthouse

Canterbury offers plenty of pre- or post-theatre meal offerings with its vibrant foodie scene. The brand new Canterbury Riverside is home to two of the city’s trendiest and most aesthetic restaurants: Sekkoya and The Korean Cowgirl. Embark on a culinary journey of Pan-Asian flavours like no other at Sekkoya, where you will find an astounding sharing menu created by celebrity chef Jay Morjaria, which includes delectable dishes prepared on their bespoke Japanese robata grill. The mixologists will awaken your senses with exquisite cocktails and their chic ‘vibe dining’ experience will take you late into the night. At Korean Cowgirl, experience reimagined flavours of East meets West, where the best of both sides of the globe brings a restaurant that delivers a unique blend of subtly spiced Oriental cuisine and the big, brash smoked BBQs of the Texas Panhandle.

Sekkoya

Extend your experience in Canterbury by staying at your very own countryside retreat: The Hayloft from Bloom Stays. Perched on the edge of a picture-perfect meadow and with mesmerising views of rolling hills and the North Downs, The Hayloft is the perfect place for enjoying all the wonders of springtime. Newly renovated, the owners have worked tirelessly with their Scandinavian interior designer to create a space that is luxurious, modern and homely in one of Kent’s acclaimed National Landscapes.

Korean Cowgirl

The beautifully furnished open-plan living area on the first floor, complete with woodburning stove, has wonderful views with one wall almost entirely glass. It opens onto a large sun trap terrace, complete with comfortable outdoor sofas and dining area from which the surrounding countryside and sunsets feel even closer. Steps lead down to a patio and private hot tub – the perfect place to unwind – even in the rain.

The Hayloft

Each of the three ground-floor bedrooms has architectural windows or sliding doors, providing charming outlooks onto the greenery around you. The master suite is particularly indulgent, with its super-king bed, six-metre wide sliding doors and luxurious freestanding bath. Situated on a small country estate, the house has its own private piece of fenced meadow with a gate leading you into the rest of the nine-acre field, which guests are welcome to roam around and enjoy, as well as directly onto a footpath with endless opportunities for rejuvenating rambles.

The Hayloft

As well as plenty of self-catering, home-away-from-home style stays, Canterbury offers more of a luxury hotel experience in the form of Cave. Cave has a glamorous persona that is sought after by those that love bags of style alongside a sumptuous stay. With 41 opulent guest rooms, spa facilities, the Firepit restaurant, decadent cocktail lounge and a 6,591 yard golf course, a stay at Cave is promised to be a luxury experience – no matter what the weather.

The Cave

Expect a truly indulgent stay, with rooms that boast the likes of huge wraparound balconies, stand alone UFO baths, rainfall showers and plush super-king beds. With mattresses provided by the same brand appointed to royalty, 65-inch television screens, coffee makers, fluffy cotton robes, super high-tech features and adjustable mood lighting that even includes a ‘romance’ setting, any spring showers outdoors will certainly not be a bother to you. If the rooms alone don’t deliver enough indulgence and relaxation, guests can immerse themselves in the saline hydrotherapy pool, 12-seater jacuzzi or the warmth of the sauna. 

The Mulberry Suite at Rowhill Grange

Kent truly comes with an abundance of luxury hotel stays certain to brighten up any rainy spring day. One of Kent’s best spa hotels comes in the form of Rowhill Grange, an award-winning, four-silver-star hotel and spa, and part of the acclaimed Alexander Hotels Group. Priding itself on its pièce de résistance: the Utopia Spa, Rowhill really is an oasis of calm. Featuring 19 treatment rooms, iconic Romanesque split-level pools, saunas, steam rooms, whirlpools and more, guests are invited to nurture and fortify their bodies with heat, water and scent. After your treatments, spend the day unwinding in your soothing, fluffy robe while you enjoy a drink at the bar, delicious dining in the Elements Bar and a wander around the pretty grounds that surround the hotel.

Utopia Spa at Rowhill Grange Hotel

Add a little more to your stay at Rowhill, by venturing out to enjoy the arts at Orchard West Theatre. This March, Orchard West will be showing the likes of An Evening with Anton Du Beke and Friends, The Sooty Show and Tony Blackburn’s Back to the 60s, as well as many other shows and performances.

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