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. Next up: Plaxtol!
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 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…? Plaxtol, that’s where!
One of the few villages that is not a ‘through village’ Plaxtol is extremely peaceful with a definite centre. Drive down a long, meandering lane, following a never ending, beautiful brick wall on your right and rolling fields on your left and you will know you are home.
Plaxtol is believed to derive from the Old English for ‘play area’ and there used to be a large green where children would play after Church on a Sunday. The Church, dating from Cromwell times, still sits proudly at the top of the village but sadly the green is no longer.
A great location, location, location Plaxtol is situated roughly 5 miles from both Sevenoaks and Tonbridge, with bus links to both towns and on to Tunbridge Wells.
A 10- 15 minute drive will get you to the A21 and also the motorway network of both the M25 and M26.
And around 10-15 minutes will also get you to Hildenborough train station which is then a 40 minute direct train journey into London Bridge, Waterloo East and Charing Cross.
IN LOVE WITH LOCAL
Named in simpler times… ‘The Street’ is the centre of the village and home to the Plaxtol Village Shop, which has a farm-shop feel (plus post office), with its own coffee machine and selling frozen COOK meals (a freezer essential).
And on ‘School Lane’ (can you guess?) there’s a ‘Good’ Ofsted rated village primary school.
Your own excellent local Papermakers Arms pub, also on The Street, means you don’t have to walk too far for a warm welcome and refreshing drink.
Plaxtol has it’s own popular cricket club, playing in the Kent County Village League, along with a thriving youth team.
And what other village has its own pottery painting studio? Potterarti offers you the chance to flex your creative muscle.
OUT AND ABOUT
Here you’ll be spoilt for choice – surrounded by stunning Kent countryside, with beautiful walks and close to many amazing National Trust properties.
Ightham Mote, a 14thcentury moated manor house steeped in history with lovely gardens, café and shop. Old Soar Manor, a 13 the century manor house, originally owned by the Culpepper family. Or not far away in Sevenoaks is Knole House and medieval Deer Park, 600 year old estate, owned and still lived in by the Sackville family.
Looking for a charming family-friendly pub, a beer garden to soak up the sun and a wondersome walk? Look no further, than The Chaser Inn, in neighbouring Shipbourne. Or, also on your doorstep, is the newly refurbished pub The Plough at Ivy Hatch, with 2019 MasterChef winner, Freddie Innes at the helm.
A little further afield, but still within easy driving distance is The Leicester Arms, a brilliantly located pub in the heart of Penshurst village, with a view of the entrance to stately home Penshurst Place from the front and stunning fields from the beer garden at the back.
Riverhill Himalayan Gardens – woods, walks and play areas for children in a stunning gardens setting. Expect hills and occasional sightings of their friendly Yeti!
There has been a small primary school in Plaxtol since 1847 and it continues to offer a lovely pre-school and primary school for local children with the emphasis on education, family and community. It maintains a Good Ofsted report and for such a small school, it has its own wildlife area, library and swimming pool!
Being located so brilliantly between Sevenoaks and Tonbridge you have wide and varied access to some of the counties best independent schools (Sevenoaks School, Tonbridge School, Kent College Pembury and Walthamstow Hall) and Grammar schools (The Judd School, The Skinners’ School, Tunbridge Wells Grammar School For Boys, Tonbridge Girls Grammar School, Weald of Kent Girls Grammar School and Tunbridge Wells Girls’ Grammar School).
Hugely sought after as it is a small village and properties so rarely come on the market. Large or small, homes in Plaxtol range from very pretty to totally gorgeous, with many different period properties.
Desirability results in high house prices with the average house price just under £800,000. Any houses coming ono the market certainly carry a premium, definitely a reason to use a proactive buying agent!
WHY WE LOVE IT
Er, have you been paying attention? Picture perfect, nestled in glorious Kent countryside, surrounded by lovely walks, Kentish pub hospitality, top schools and away from the madding crowds. A true village community where everyone knows everyone and looks out for each other. What’s not to love?