Kent, so-named the ‘garden of England’, is home to some of the UK’s most fruitful vineyards, top-quality farm shops, and locally sourced fish.
For British fare and rolling hills just a short journey from the centre of London, it’s hard to beat. The Pig at Bridge Place brings elements of the local area in while staying true to the group’s wholesome, charismatic hospitality approach.
Earthy by nature with a focus on home-grown food and boasting an aesthetic that captures British eclecticism in its most endearing form, The Pig at Bridge Place embodies locality and serves it up on a (literal) plate. Food and drink are a focus – the group coins itself a restaurant with rooms – but there’s so much more to this endearing spot than the menu.
Locals and out-of-towners pepper the property in equal volume, creating a constant buzz and a homely atmosphere without it ever feeling crowded. Lounge areas ooze ‘come in, settle down and stay as long as you like’ vibes; they’re filled with plush sofas and roaring open fires as well as dark wooden chests stacked high with board games.
Make your modus operandi to enjoy the tranquility of the surrounding countryside and the hotel’s comfortable, laidback atmosphere, and you won’t be disappointed.
Rooms come in all shapes and sizes with little uniformity between them. It’s intentional, as owners Robin and Judy Hutson aim to design the interiors in the way they would a home. The two ‘Extremely Small’ rooms are appropriately named, but there are plenty of larger options between these and the Lodges, which feature fully functioning kitchens and two bedrooms designed for family getaways.
What’s consistent is the level of charm behind each door, whether its a bedroom in the main house or the Hop Pickers Hut – a unique hideaway pitched on stilts in the garden. Comfort is key: beds are piled high with beautiful sheets, blankets and the kind of pillows you’ll never want to lift your head from. Bathrooms are stocked with delectable bath products. Waffle gowns are par for the cause, and roll-top baths make the larger rooms even more tempting to hole up in, especially during winter months.
THE FOOD + DRINK
Every Pig hotel boasts a 25-mile menu, which changes almost daily and features fresh produce from the on-site kitchen garden. In warmer months, guests can enjoy al fresco afternoon snacks: stonebaked flatbreads and veggie side plates, freshly made in the outdoor oven.
Inside, the restaurant epitomises relaxed luxury: there’s nothing pretentious about The Pig but the quality – both food and service – is top notch. Jarred pickled veg decorates the shelves from floor to ceiling, herb pots act as table centre-pieces and mis-matching tables, chairs and glassware make it feel as familiar as home. It’s all best enjoyed with a glass of local wine – Kent’s famous Simpsons vineyard is just 2 miles away – or a cocktail shaken by one of the expert mixologists.
THE LITTLE EXTRAS
Personal touches can enhance a hotel stay in ways that surpass grandeur, and The Pig staff go out of their way to ensure every guest feels valued. Special occasion listed on the booking? Expect a hand-written note in the bedroom. Interested in the creativity of the cocktail menu? They’ll take the time to educate you. Wellies and brollies are stacked at the door so wet-weather walks remain an option for unprepared city-dwellers, and spa treatments are available to book.
The latter is absolutely worth the investment. Taking place at the Potting Shed and offering a plentiful list of massage and facials using sustainable Voya products, it’s the ultimate way to wind down.
THE TO-DO LIST
If you’re booked for more than a night and have a desire to explore, head to the nearest seaside towns: Whitstable, Deal or Margate. Each offers something unique.
In Whistable, stop for fresh oysters in the town’s smallest but most famous restaurant, Wheelers, whose pink facade and loopy logo might be something you recognise from Instagram. In Deal, take a walk down the beach before heading to two-story art gallery, Linden Hall Studio for a dash of local culture, and if you venture to Margate, be sure to browse the vintage treasures in at Handsome Freaks.
Alternatively, local walks are a picture-perfect way to enjoy the surrounding area. Stick to a short sub-mile stroll and make your way to Tadpole tearooms for a scone or a hot chocolate, or make an afternoon of it and walk the 5.8 miles to Gibsons Farm Shop. Be prepared though – you might end up carrying bags of tempting buys back if you’re keen to take a taste of Kent’s delicious fare all the way home.
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