Kent, known as the ‘Garden of England’ is a beautiful place to visit at any time of year, particularly in summer/autumn as the countryside changes from lush green to autumn golds. There are some surprisingly accessible & out of the ordinary places to visit. Here’s our latest finds:

Kent Countryside is a Beautiful Lush Green & Rightly Called The Garden of England
Kent Countryside is a Beautiful Lush Green & Rightly Called The Garden of England

Two restaurants of note,

…are owned and operated by Will Devlin, 2020’s ‘Chef To Watch’ from The Good Food Guide – The Curlew and The Small Holding, are located 8 miles apart. The Small Holding is in Kilndown on the Kent/Sussex border and The Curlew is in Bodiam, E. Sussex. The Small Holding has an acre of land and they provide ‘farm to fork eating’ for both venues without being too pretentious as Grace Dent from The Guardian says

‘The Curlew was almost as lovely as this job gets. Good, diligent, passionate yet unobtrusive service. Tables spaced so gloriously far apart, I felt a bit like I’d bought the pub…..(an) à la carte affair divided into plain-speaking groups: snacks, meat, fish, vegetables and “whole”. When they say “whole Creedy Carver duck”, they really do mean it….’

With regard to accessibility The Curlew told us,

‘Our restaurant is easily accessible as there are no steps at the entrance which allows for disabled access to the restaurant. There is a small step inside the restaurant however we tend to seat any wheelchair users in the front of the restaurant to avoid this. Finally, we do not have a separate disabled toilet but the toilets are accessible. ‘ (We assume that means you can get in but there are no grab rails etc.). As a Result they can only get 2 provisional BBS Ticks for style and accessibility.

The Small Holding has a tasting menu rather than the free to choose menu of the Curlew. Set in an acre of land it also has ‘a unique connection between farm and table’. The Michelin Guide have awarded them a green star for ‘gastronomy and sustainability’  and they’ve also won 2 AA Rosettes. The tasting menu changes daily and looks pretty and again Grace Dent says they provide ‘self-sustaining, fun fine-dining’. She rates them 9/10 as ‘They’re just a group of folk growing amazing things, then pulling them out of the ground, sometimes knobbly and lumpy, then cooking and serving them. It’s perfectly imperfect’.

The Small Holding told us this re their accessibility,

‘We do have a concrete slope at the side of the building which allows disabled access to the restaurant through the side fire exit door which leads straight into the restaurant area.

In order to gain access via the main entrance, there is a small step from the slope to the decking area. There is also a step between the restaurant and bar area.

We do not have a separate disabled toilet but our toilets are accessible.’ So again they can only get a provisional 2 BBS Ticks.

If you want something special to do in Kent you could visit The Chapel Down Winery,

where you can see where the fine wines are made. Their sparkling wines are created at the same latitude and climate as the Champagne region of France therefore they are as good as any champagne I’ve tasted.
They confirmed this regarding their accessibility,

‘Is there flat access?– yes, ground is slightly uneven in the vineyard but you only stand on the edge during the tour so is no problem for a wheelchair.

Is there a disabled toilet? – yes

Do you allow assistance dogs? – yes

Are their facilities for those with impaired hearing? – not especially, but we have had people with impaired hearing on tours in the past.’

Having been there myself we give them an audited 3 BBS Ticks – an interesting and boozy place to visit.

Finally we searched for a cool place to stay,

Sissinghurst Castle Farmhouse appeared to fit the bill. Situated in the grounds of the Sissinghurst estate, it’s a luxurious B&B and a National Trust property dating back to 1855. More like a grand house than a farmhouse it’s located near all the attractions of Kent in Cranbrook. We were pleasantly surprised to see they had a fully accessible bedroom with pictures on their website!
They confirmed,
‘We do have a fully accessible room called Buckhurst that is situated on the first floor and we have a lift to all the first floor rooms’.
We give them a grand unaudited 3 BBS Ticks for their stylish accessible rooms in an ‘old building’  – some hoteliers get the fact that the ‘purple pound is worth attracting!!

If you’ve been to any of these venues or know of others we should add then contact us.

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