Saturday, 2 May 2015

Days Out: Tenterden, Kent

I lived in Tenterden between the ages of 12 and 16. I never appreciated it then as I do now. Back then we thought it was a sleepy little town, full of antique shops and tea rooms and not much else. My friends and I wandered the little country lanes after dark, swung on the swings in the rec. singing songs and talking about boys, hopes and dreams.

Now, I see Tenterden as a sweet, quaint little town, tucked in the heart of Kent. Still full of antique shops and tea rooms but also lots of amazing independent businesses, coffee shops and craft shops. This high street is seemingly untouched by recession. There are no pound shops, not too many charity shops and just the right amount of up market chains to make it posh but not stuck in the past.

So, seeing as we only live a few miles from Tenterden now we decided to take Roo off on a little adventure and a trip down memory lane.

Of course, first up was finding somewhere to sit and eat lunch. There's plenty of eateries to choose from and the best thing about Tenterden is you have to go somewhere nice because there are literally no fast food chains anywhere. We sat down in The Lemon Tree. The portions are massive, the prices reasonable and the staff are brilliantly friendly and helpful. Roo managed to polish off a jacket potato with tuna, side salad and a bowl of ice cream from their kids' menu - I've never seen her eat so much! But if you're looking for somewhere to have a nice cream tea then I believe this is the place (though I'll never know for sure given my dairy allergy!).

Feeling rather full from our slap up meal, the next place you have to visit if you're going for a wander around Tenterden is, of course, the steam railway. We just went down for a little look around and to take some pictures but one day, if I plan better, I would love to take Roo on a little steam railway trip. They have dining carts, Santa trips at Christmas, Thomas the Tank trips and special Father's Day and Pensioner trips so there really is something for everyone. When you get there it's like stepping back in time!

If you're a knitter, then you will love Hoop Haberdashery. When this shop opened a couple of years ago it was exactly what Tenterden needed. In fact, in terms of decent haberdasheries, I'd say it was exactly what Kent needed! Their displays are beautiful and inspiring and they run some amazing looking workshops throughout the year. If you're a crafty girl, I'd say Hoop is worth the visit to Tenterden on its own!

Another lovely independent shop that we came across was a tiny chocolatiers called Truffles. Now, I'm allergic to milk so normally I would avoid even the nicest of chocolate shops, but my husband insisted on drawing me inside. The best thing about this place is that they make all their chocolates on site so they can tell you exactly what goes into each bar of chocolate. If you're worried about cross-contamination then probably best to avoid, but if you just want to avoid milk ingredients then the knowledgeable staff can advise you accordingly and will even take orders to make chocolates to your requirements. Apparently chocolate shops don't do so well during the summer months so if you want to see these places come Christmas, make sure you support them all year round!

There's plenty of other shops to note - I love Kensal and Gretal for party bits, The Merchant Chandler is always a good bet for homes, and if you're in love with Annie Sloane paint you will want to visit Dottie Diva. Next time we go we will also want to visit Honey Beez as I noticed they were advertising a selection of gluten and dairy free cakes!

So, if you want to check out some nice independent shops and cafes, mooch around an old high street and enjoy some sunshine then visit Tenterden. We had a lovely day and I don't know why we don't go more often!


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  1. Wow - this seems like such a lovely place to visit with children (actually or without) - love the steam railway and chocolate shop. Thanks for linking to #traveltales. I've added this post to our pinterest board x

  2. Ahh, Tenterden - that's a name that rings a bell. I have a really fuzzy memory of riding the steam trains when I was a kid many years ago!

    Unfortunately I can't actually remember more detail but I'm assuming as I know the name I must have enjoyed it :D

    The town itself, with it's little shops sounds lovely though - definitely something I wouldn't have appreciated as a kid but would as an adult. Kent isn't too far from me so I've added it to my 'to visit' list for future days out :)



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