South Kent and East Sussex Tour


A number of the twelve in our group said this to me on their arrival at Sissinghurst Farmhouse, the very smart B&B where we based ourselves for our three day tour of south Kent and East Sussex.

We all met up at the farmhouse in time for a magnificent tea – plus scones and clotted cream and jam and delicious cakes – on Sunday evening. We had each made our visits to the adjoining Sissinghurst Gardens (Vita Sackville-West and all that) beforehand.

Patrick and Sue Russell-Jones’s 1952 Citroen Light 15

John and Anne Auber’s 1953 R Type Bentley 
Chris and Liz Kettle’s Mercedes SL 280
Miles and Jane Preston’s 1933 Rolls Royce 20/25 Sedanca de Ville.

That evening we headed off to an excellent nearby pub, The Three Chimneys at Biddenden, for our first dinner together.

Dinner at The Three Chimneys, Biddenden, on Sunday evening.

On Monday, we drove to Bodiam Castle where we spent about an hour before making a short visit to the beautiful hill top town of Rye. From there we drove to Appledore along the route of the old military canal before getting to The Ferry, a remote pub sitting in the Romsey Marshes, for lunch. We then moved on to Smallhythe Place, former home of the actress Ellen Terry, where we had a private guided tour (this property is not open to the public on Mondays so we were very lucky to be able to have the place to ourselves). 

Most of us then visited Chapel Down Vineyard, which is only a stone’s throw from Smallhythe, before returning to Sissinghurst Farmhouse for another tea (!) and then supper. It was a beautiful evening so we were able to sit on their terrace before and after our evening meal.

Drinks on the terrace at Sissinghurst Farmhouse on Sunday evening. 
Left to right: Eileen and Tim Coltart, Anne and John Auber  Patrick and Susan Russell-Jones, Wolfgang and Anne Steffny, Chris and Liz Kettle and Jane Preston (Miles took the photo!).

On Monday, we awoke to the sounds of thunder and torrential rain. Fortunately, this had cleared by the time we set off on our last day’s visits. The first of these was to the fantastic gardens at Pashley Manor and we then moved on to Bateman’s, the home for many years of Rudyard Kipling.

After having some lunch together in the house’s cafe, we all dispersed at about 3pm to find our ways back to our respective homes.

Cars parked in front of  Sissinghurst Farmhouse.

This had been a full three days but very enjoyable and we all got on exceptionally well. Not only ‘What a beautiful place’ but ‘What a lovely bunch of people!’

Miles Preston

SDC, Chairman