My Favourite Places - Cranbrook
10 February 2023
She founded Fiona Penny Bespoke Home Finders 15 years ago and knows both the housing industry and this area of the country inside out. So we asked property guru Fiona Penny to spill the beans on her favourite places in Cranbrook. Notepads at the ready!
All that is great about a farm shop, can be found here. There’s local products, the freshest of fruit and veg, artisan Kent cheeses, freshly baked breads from three local bakers and meat sourced from a local Kent farm.
Fashion boutique, in Cranbrook, (and the online store) is a gem owned by Gemma Holmes. She offers free style consultations either in store or on a Zoom call and is ace at boosting your confidence through clothing – whatever your shape or size. (We have it on good authority that she dresses some well-known TV celebs).
For all things fragrant! I love these luxurious, vegan friendly candles, diffusers, lotions and room scents, inspired by the Kent and Sussex origins of the owners. They make a lovely artisan gift so I always stock up to give to friends when I can.
Like the idea of gifting something with purpose? Brighten up someone’s home (or yours) with a stunning plant from this gorgeous store which is packed with interior goodies and also involved in local social enterprise. Every single one of the plants from The Glasshouse in Cranbrook is nurtured, potted and beautifully packaged from East Sutton Park prison for women in Kent. It’s a brilliant scheme that has an incredible success rate – plus you’ll just fall in love with everything in the shop!
This one’s a rarity these days! A fantastic, family run, independent sports shop that you can browse at leisure or order same day click and collect for all your little darling’s sporting emergencies …. ‘Muuuum, where’s my gum shield???’
E C Wilkes & Sons Butchers
Use them or lose them as they say. And luckily for us the locals do! Because it’s a great, independent butchers offering top quality locally sourced meat at good value prices.
Best food and drink
An independent café offering speciality teas and coffees, alongside cakes that are home-made on the premises. Go anytime: breakfast, brunch, lunch and afternoon tea!
A fantastic venue in the High Street that, long before Covid, offered flexible working and social spaces. Open 7 days a week for co-working, hot desking, networking, meeting rooms – plus refreshing and socialising in the open-to-all Coffee Lounge.
It’s Cranbrook’s one and only micropub. An independent, family run venue selling mainly local ales, ciders, wines and spirits – with a cute beer garden out the back.
A privately owned, ancient mixed woodland that is fully open to the public – it’s part of the High Weald Landscape Trail yet only a 5 minute drive from Cranbrook. With wider paths for pushchairs and wheelchairs or strike off into the unknown! Perfect for dog walks, exercise and meeting friends.
Best historical spot
An iconic site locally, this pretty windmill is the tallest ‘smock mill’ in the UK (so called due to its sloping weatherboarded sides). Grade I listed and fully restored to working order it stands very proudly at the end of the High Street.
Best cultural spots
It’s a small, welcoming church so worth visiting for traditional hymns and classical worship but alongside that, it is also worth visiting for the stunning, contemporary ‘Four Seasons’ stained glass windows, by local artist Mike Woodford.
Located within Cranbrook School, it can seat over 350 people and stages a wide range of performances both on stage and in the round. Located in the heart of Cranbrook and a real community theatre.
One of the biggest attractions for families is this secondary school for pupils from 11 – 18 years, sitting on a 75 acre campus in the heart of the Kent countryside.
The offering here is pretty unique – it’s one of the few co-educational grammar schools in Kent and one of only a few in the whole country that offers boarding as well. Day pupils and boarders alike do not pay for their education, fees for boarders are purely accommodation costs. This is a popular, selective school and always over-subscribed – but living in the Cranbrook Catchment Area is a good start.