A visit to Edenbridge in Kent immerses vacationing hikers, historical buffs and families in the English countryside. This picturesque town on the winding River Eden, one hour southwest of London’s hectic pace, is located along the 24-mile Eden Valley Walk and minutes from the family fun of the island water maze at Hever Castle, Anne Boleyn’s girlhood home. Edenbridge and its surroundings offer a wide variety of comfortable accommodations, from full-service, historical hotels to charming bed and breakfasts.
A Petchley Leisure Portfolio establishment seven minutes from Edenbridge Center, Hever Hotel once served as Lord Astor’s dairy farm. Each of the 64 accommodations in its English Heritage-listed buildings had its own function; rooms 7 through 13 were kennels for hunting dogs. Rooms 14 through 30 housed pigs and calves. The three room types include Hotel Units and Club Suites for two guests. One-bedroom apartments with kitchenettes accommodate four. All have Edwardian decor and satellite television. Sweeping lawns, mature perennial gardens, on-site tennis courts and the adjacent Hever Castle Golf Club's nine-and 18-hole courses provide outdoor enjoyment, and one of the longest golfing holes in Europe. In the converted stables, the Stables restaurant serves three daily meals, drinks and snacks.
The King's Arms
In Westerham, 12 minutes north of Edenbridge, the Automobile Association (AA) three-star King's Arms borders on Winston Churchill's home Chartwell. Part of the Old English Inn chain, the 17-bedroom, Wi-Fi-equipped hotel boasts that Sir Winston often dined at its restaurant during Chartwell's renovations. As Westerham’s former jail, the cellar bar once hosted guests of a different sort. Today's patrons feast on entrees like pan-seared Barbary duck breast with balsamic vinegar and wild blueberry sauce, served on a bed of baby spinach with Dauphinoise potatoes. Vegan dishes and lighter fare are available. Two children younger than 16 stay free sharing a room with two adults. Room prices include breakfast; designer toiletries are available for an additional fee.
The White Horse Inn
On Holtye Common six miles southwest of Edenbrige, the 3-star Enjoy England White Horse Inn abuts the Holtye Golf Club’s nine-hole course. Guests of the 11-room, 16th-century coaching inn can enjoy a round of croquet before indulging in a Gallery Restaurant lunch or dinner of such locally-sourced dishes as pan-roasted chicken breast with sage and apricot stuffing, seasonal vegetables and creamed potatoes in pan gravy. The hotel bar serves lighter lunches. Each twin, double or family room has flat-screen television with DVD. Kids will love the hotel's proximity to Winnie-the-Pooh's stomping grounds in nearby Ashdown Forest.
On East Grinstead's High Street 20 minutes southeast of Edenbridge, the Gothic House bed-and-breakfast stands among 14th-century, half-timbered buildings. This four-star Enjoy England establishment has one twin, one double and one four-poster room. Each features elegant antique furnishings, Wi-Fi and television with DVD. Other luxurious touches are decorative fireplaces and freestanding bathtubs. On-site CJ's coffee bar serves sandwiches, desserts, and Mediterranean inspired tapas. Two miles south of the hotel is Standen House, a National Trust Victorian home of the Arts & Crafts style.
- Hever castle image by Kimprebble from Fotolia.com