Let's All Live Here...Brenchley
30 September 2022
Let’s All Live Here! Introducing…Brenchley!
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…
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 15 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…? Brenchley, that’s where!
Situated 6 miles east of Tunbridge Wells and with easy road access to the A21 (and from there the M25), Brenchley is a classically pretty Kentish village with a good community feel. Surrounded by farmland and with apple orchards a-plenty this is popular walking territory.
IN LOVE WITH LOCAL
The village itself has a GP surgery, dentist, Post Office and a small local butchers (there’s also a convenient Waitrose a few miles away in Paddock Wood) or Heath Stores in Horsmonden.
Then there’s The Little Bull café right on the High Street and a real hidden gem that offers great food and coffee by day and the odd supper club on Friday nights.
Next door you’ll find The Bull at Brenchley. What was once a quirky Victorian English pub that has now been converted into fabulous, 5-star luxury self-catering accommodation for up to 16 people across 8 bedrooms, (most are en suite), plus there’s a large dining area for gatherings and a basement media room. If guests would like the owners to organise a catering service so they don’t have to lift a finger, then just say the word.
Brenchley has its own Playground and a War Memorial field which is a park (pictured above) that’s popular with dog walkers. Greys Café in the village Memorial Hall, is larger inside and more low-key – but being just opposite the primary school it’s perfect for an after school drop off meet with fellow mums.
In the heart of the village, on one side of the War Memorial field/park you’ll also find Brenchley Tennis Club, a small, friendly club which has brilliant Holiday Tennis Camps for the kids (and offers lessons for grown-ups too).
There is also a squash club – a small, secret little gem that charges £3 for 45 mins use of the court – absolute bargain. Or for more sedate exercise there is also the friendly Bowls club, always happy to greet new members.
The old golf course is no longer in use but now makes a perfect spot for long country dog walks.
Brenchley even has its very own baby masseur and doula to help you in those amazing, but tiring, early days and months; Diana Beaumont, who comes highly recommended.
The village merges with the chocolate box Matfield where you’ll find a very pretty village green and a couple more pubs, including foodie-favourite, The Poet pub and restaurant.
Take the ten minute drive into Paddock Wood station and you can commute into London Charing Cross or Canon Street, by direct train in 55 mins.
Brenchley sits minutes away from the A21 which is one of the main transport arteries in Kent. To the north it takes you to Tunbridge Wells, Tonbridge, Sevenoaks and then onto London. Drive south and you’ll find the coast, Hastings and Rye with the gorgeous Camber Sands beach.
Brenchley has its own village primary school and pre-school. Or, if you’re looking at preps, there’s Somerhill School close by, sitting in an exceptional setting. In Tunbridge Wells there’s Holmewood House a co-educational, non-selective school for boys and girls aged 3-13 years, or Rose Hill School which is currently offering Y7 & Y8 Awards providing strong financial incentives to pupils.
For secondary schools there’s an abundance of good independent and grammar schools in Tonbridge, Tunbridge Wells and Sevenoaks. In the nearest town, Tunbridge Wells, there’s all-ability, The Skinners Kent Academy (rated Outstanding, non-fee paying independent education in stunning £21.4 million facilities), plus excellent Secondary faith state schools, such as Bennett Memorial Diocesan School or St Gregory’s Catholic School – both rated Outstanding.
For independent senior schools the closest is Kent College Pembury (both Prep and Senior) just a few minutes up the road. Plus, top insider tip, the Paddock Wood train line is used by lots of kids at Sutton Valence (Senior) School every day who take the 15 journey to Headcorn where they can jump on a school bus waiting for them.
OUT & ABOUT
Tunbridge Wells is the nearest town, just 15 minutes away, with its shops, cafés, bars, restaurants, cinema and theatre. One highlight is the particularly popular and pretty Georgian colonnade of shops known as The Pantiles (pictured above).
Brenchley also ticks the boxes for family day-trips and active folk, being only fifteen minutes away from Bedgebury Pinetum and Forest a brilliant outdoor woodland area perfect for family walks, cycle rides, running and even Go Ape. Recently listed as of one of the UK’s most beautiful sites, Bedgebury Forest has a whole host of health, fitness and wellbeing opportunities.
Nearby too, there’s brilliant Bewl Water, a big, beautiful reservoir offering a fantastic range of outdoor activities – from cycling to water sports, open air cinema, children’s parties and in the summer, the Aqua Park. Oh and a decent restaurant too!
There’s also a few National Trust goodies in the area, like Scotney Castle with it’s pretty castle ruins or Sissinghurst Castle, with its famous gardens – both less than 15 mins drive away and offer activities for families in the school holidays.
Prices: Average house price (paid) over the last 12 months is £420K.
WHAT WE LOVE
Being only a short drive to the A21 you are so well connected here. You can head into the towns of west Kent that all fall along this main road – and London beyond it. Or drive down to the beach in the other direction.
There’s a strong selection of schools nearby (see above) – all accessible by this main transport route.
You’ve got the shops and culture of Tunbridge Wells on the doorstep but equally you can enjoy country-living escapism and stunning apple orchards in your every day life. Visit in the summer and you know you’re in the Garden of England – making Brenchley the very definition of the Best of Both Worlds.