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British Isles Slow Travel

The best B&Bs in Kent

From medieval pubs to former Georgian rectories.

7 Longport

7 Longport, Canterbury, CT1 1PE

This charming B&B occupies a cosy 15th-century cottage hidden behind an 18th-century townhouse. Cosy up to the log burning stove in the living room and enjoy sitting in the courtyard garden, shaded by a mature magnolia tree. Also available are two neighbouring self-catering properties in Georgian-era terrace houses on nearby Love Lane that sleep up to five people each. The location is just east of the cathedral and around the corner from St Augustine’s Abbey.

Bear’s Well

10 St George’s Road, Deal, CT14 6BA

Nicola and Peter are the hosts at this charming B&B with three rooms in a beautiful double-fronted Georgian home that is a short walk from Deal’s seaside and five minutes from the train station. Each of the spacious rooms is en suite with two facing the lush garden to the rear, and one facing historical St George’s Church at the front.

Beechborough

Park Lane, Bishopsbourne, CT4 5HY

In an attractive village, six miles southeast of Canterbury, this characterful home has two boutique hotel-worthy bedrooms, one of which is en suite, both with king-sized beds dressed in Egyptian cotton sheets. Enjoy breakfast that includes house smoked bacon and other local produce. There’s a minimum two-night stay on weekends.

Belvidere Place

43 Belvedere Road, Broadstairs, CT10 1PF

A Grade II-listed Georgian townhouse, a short walk inland from Broadstairs’ beach, has been transformed into this boutique B&B with a highly sophisticated and photogenic atmosphere. The five guest rooms are decorated with unique pieces of statement furniture, such as an antique French bed or a Chinoiserie cabinet, with beds dressed in Egyptian cotton linen and contemporary bathrooms stocked with upmarket toiletries. Breakfast features foods from local producers that are both seasonal and sustainable.

Bramley House

Rogers Rough Road, Kilndown, TN17 2RJ

Friendly couple Linda and Ray Carter offer two stylishly decorated en-suite rooms in their charming home that captures the rustic chic look of a glossy interior design magazine. The rooms don’t have TVs, but there’s one in the large sitting room which has an inglenook fireplace. Guests are also welcome to relax in the well-kept gardens. It’s the ideal overnighter if you’re booked into the nearby gastropub The Small Holding, or visiting other sights in this border region of Kent and East Sussex. 

Churchill Guesthouse

6 Castle Hill Road, Dover, CT16 1QN

In the heart of town, a short walk from both the port and the castle, this guesthouse offers seven classically designed rooms with nice touches such as pretty bedspreads and quality rugs. The romantic Clementine King has a four-poster bed, antique writing bureau and teal velvet upholstered sofa, while the Victoria Double has the added benefit of a private outdoor patio. There’s also a self-catering apartment on the lower ground floor.

Copperfields Vegetarian Guest House

11 Queens Road, Broadstairs, CT10 1NU

Julie and Neale Taylor run this three-room B&B in a handsome Edwardian house with three guest rooms – if it looks familiar you may have caught it on a 2107 episode of the Channel 4 reality TV series Four in a Bed. The rooms have a relaxed, unpretentious style. They prioritise use of local and ethically sourced products, and the breakfast is vegetarian. 

Ferry House Inn

Harty Ferry Road, Leysdown, ME12 4BQ

A 16th-century restaurant with pleasantly decorated rooms, some overlooking the Swale Estuary in the peaceful hamlet of Harty on the Isle of Sheppey. There are six more modern rooms in the newly built coach house behind the pub. Ingredients for the restaurant are harvested from their large kitchen garden and family-owned farm. The same team also run the nearby self-catering Mocketts Farm Cottages.

Hever Castle B&B and Medley Court

Hever, Edenbridge, TN8 7NG

The childhood home of Anne Boleyn was restored and added to by the American tycoon William Waldorf Astor in the early 20th century. It was under his stewardship that the Edwardian wings of the castle where added so that there were modern accommodations for his guests. Those Astor and Anne Boleyn wings now house Hever’s luxurious and award-winning B&B of 28 rooms decorated in classic plush style. There’s access to the wood panelled lounge and billiards room. If you prefer to self-cater, there’s the spacious and handsomely decorated Medley Court cottage with four bedrooms and which comes with a generous welcome food hamper that includes everything you’ll need for a good breakfast.

Leeds Castle

Broomfield, near Leeds, ME17 1PL

Set in 500 acres of grounds, 5½-miles east of Maidstone, Leeds Castle is an incredibly photogenic property with over 900 years of history. It’s popular year-round as a tourist attraction but to have the grounds and gardens to yourself after the day visitors have gone, you’ll need to stay over in one their accommodation options. The B&B rooms are in either the Stables Courtyard which was built in the 1930s and which has hosted many famous people – from Charlie Chaplin and Errol Flynn to Winston Churchill and John F Kennedy. The 16th-century Maiden’s Tower also has five spacious en-suite B&B rooms. Also scattered throughout the grounds are seven holiday cottages ranging from the cute and cosy Weir Cottage for two, to the grand, five-bedroom Battel Hall. From mid-May to September the Knight’s Glamping area is set up with eight striped pavilion tents inside of which are four-poster beds and wood-burning stoves.

Molland Manor House

Molland Lane, Ash, CT3 2JB

An avenue of lime trees lead up to his 13th-century manor house, 3½ miles west of Sandwich. It has five large, classically furnished en-suite rooms and many original features including beams with Tudor roses. Guests can share the manor house’s lounge which has an honesty bar and an enormous flat screen TV hooked up to Sky and BT sports. The house is surrounded by gardens which include a hot tub and a separate lodge that can be rented as a self-catering unit sleeping up to six.

North Downs Barn

Bush Road, Cuxton, ME2 1HF

Four miles west of Rochester, and within walking distance of the Ranscombe Farm Nature Reserve, this rustic B&B offers three spacious double en-suite rooms. There’s a large gallery lounge and you can relax in the surrounding gardens. As its name suggests it’s just 220yds from the North Downs Way.

Number 37

37 The Street, Ash, CT3 2HH

In this historic village, 3½ miles west of Sandwich, there are four en-suite rooms above a great little café. Each of the rooms is cosy, characterful and great value. The old Georgian building was originally a gentlemen and ladies outfitters with milliners making hats on the top floor. 

Read’s Restaurant with Rooms

Macknade Manor, Canterbury Road, Faversham, ME13 8XE

Sitting in leafy grounds with mature trees and a kitchen garden, Read’s offers six en-suite guest rooms in an elegant Georgian manor house. The spacious rooms are named after the trees they overlook. Decoration is traditional – think antiques, floral curtains and pastel tones. One of the pleasures of staying here is to dine at the restaurant of the owner and celebrated chef David Pitchford. 

Rocksalt Rooms

4–5 Fishmarket, Folkestone, CT19 6AA

Rocksalt, one of Folkestone’s top restaurants, has a prime position overlooking the picturesque harbour. In a nearby building you can stop over in one of their four stylish rooms, two of which offer harbour and sea views. They are all compact but nicely furnished with antique bed frames, Egyptian cotton sheets, Nespresso machines and walk-in wet rooms.  

Shepherd House

56 Preston Street, Faversham, ME13 8PG

A very short walk from Faversham station is this former Georgian rectory which has been transformed into a very boutique B&B. There are three brightly painted and contemporary decorated guestrooms with freestanding baths and king-sized beds. Guests are welcomed with a glass of champagne to be enjoyed in the sitting room or out in the large rear garden.

Ship & Trades

Chatham Maritime, Chatham, ME4 3ER

Overlooking Chatham’s chic marina, this former warehouse has been converted into a modern and lively gastropub (run by Kent’s Shepherd Neame brewery) with 15 reasonably priced, nautical-themed guestrooms. Go for the Feature Doubles as they have balconies overlooking the marina.

Sissinghurst Castle Farmhouse

Biddenden Road, Sissinghurst, TN17 2AB

You can hardly get closer to Sissinghurst Castle and Garden than this superb B&B occupying a handsome Victorian farmhouse with its own lovely gardens and Anna, one of the owners, who is a Cordon Blue cook. Each of the eight rooms are beautifully decorated in classic style and have en-suite bathrooms some with monsoon rain showers. Check their website for details of a luxury two-night package they’ve put together with nearby winery Chapel Down, that includes a guided tour around the vineyard, a three-course lunch and tickets for Sissinghurst garden.

Sun Inn

10 West Street, Faversham, ME13 7JE

Another heritage pub in the Shepherd Neame family of boozers, the Sun Inn has been in the heart of Faversham since the 14th century. Ponder the history of the place as you gaze up at the centuries-old wooden beams from your bed in one of the dozen rooms located over the pub. The Feature Room has a roll-top bath in the bedroom as well as a separate shower and toilet.

The Corner House Canterbury

1 Dover Street, Canterbury, CT1 3HD

This restored medieval pub with an excellent restaurant is immediately to the east of Canterbury’s city walls and a short walk from all the key sites. There are five comfortable, characterful rooms sporting original wooden beams, modern bathrooms and sturdy furniture. It is on a busy main road, though, so if traffic noise is an issue for you enquire about the Becket Room at the back of the building.

The Duke William

The Street, Ickham, CT3 1QP

Six miles east of Canterbury, this well-regarded gastropub comes with four chic, contemporary-furnished rooms, each named after celebrity British chefs Rick Stein, Gordon Ramsay, Michael Floyd and Marco Pierre White. There are metal frame king-sized beds, Nespresso machines and graphic prints and furnishings in each of the rooms. 

The Friars

Aylesford, ME20 7BX

This Carmelite priory and spiritual retreat, with a history going back to Medieval times, is set in 40 acres of grounds and woodlands beside the Medway River, 3½ miles north of Maidstone. Some of the 80 bedrooms at this handsome complex are in the oldest parts of the building, others in newer but all are simply and pleasantly decorated and extremely good value. There’s an extra charge if you want a room with en-suite facilities. A self-service breakfast is available in the 13th-century Pilgrim’s Hall located in the Great Courtyard. 

The Front Rooms

9 Tower Parade, Whitstable, CT5 2BJ

In this restored Victorian townhouse, a block from the beach, are three bright guestrooms, decorated in shades of heritage white. Two of the rooms are en suite, the other has a separate private shower room. The largest room has a balcony overlooking the road. All come equipped with fluffy towel, robes and luxe toiletries. 

The Milk House

The Street, Sissinghurst, TN17 2JG

This old coaching inn has been converted into a pleasant modern pub and restaurant with four guest rooms for overnight stays. The comfortable rooms are decorated in appropriately creamy colours. The largest room, Byre, sports a rolltop bathtub and has the quietest position overlooking the orchards to the rear of the pub.

The Old Post Office Boutique Guesthouse

5 High Street, Hythe, CT21 5AB

This pleasant guesthouse occupies a handsome former post office at the end of High Street, built in 1910. It has three rooms decorated in pastel seaside colours with post office artefacts referencing the building’s original function. Rooms have fridges, microwaves and tea and coffee making facilities. A catered breakfast isn’t on offer, but there are plenty of good cafés nearby. 

The Reading Rooms

31 Hawley Square, Margate, CT9 1PH

Genteel Hawley Square was once the apogee of upmarket Georgian Margate. Owners Louise Oldfield and Liam Nabb kept this heritage in mind during the renovation of their Grade II-listed building, retaining original architectural features and colours and allowing the patina of time to shine through. Take your pick between two parquet floored rooms – the first-floor Salon in what was once the house’s grand reception room with floor to ceiling windows overlooking the square, and the third-floor Attic which has views over the rooftops and out to sea.

The Vineyard

The Down, Lamberhurst, TN3 8EU

In the pretty village of Lamberhurst, 7½ miles southeast of Tunbridge Wells, the Vineyard is stylish pub and restaurant which also has four guest rooms. These are located in a converted 13th-century coach house with modern spiral staircases leading up to the bedrooms. The ground-floor lounges have king-sized sofa beds and open out into a courtyard garden. Nearby are top Kentish Weald sights including Scotney Castle, Bewl Water and Bedgebury National Pinetum.

The West House

8 High Street, Biddenden, TN27 8AH

Owner and chef Graham Garrett switched his drumsticks and playing in stadium-filling rock ’n’ roll bands in the 1980s for heading up the kitchen at this multi-accoladed restaurant based in one of Biddenden’s 16th-century weaver’s cottages. It is a restaurant with rooms – four of them, each with a different theme. Scandi is all cool natural tones and materials with a Nordic paired-back design; Art Deco has parquet flooring and vintage furniture; the ground-floor Serenity opens out on to private garden; and Rock ‘n’ Roll offers seductive glamour with a black four poster and outdoor hot tub. 

The Wife of Bath

4 Upper Bridge Street, Wye, TN25 5AF

The historical and picturesque village of Wye sits within the protected North Downs area, 4½ miles northeast of Ashford. One of the nicest places to eat and stay here is the Wife of Bath, a Grade II-listed building with exposed beams, and bags of character. There are six stylish guestrooms, four over the restaurant and two in the cottage annex. All are named after characters in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales with Sir Thopas being the pick of the six with its cathedral ceiling and super king-sized bed.

Twentieth Century B&B

102 Minnis Road, Birchington-On-Sea, CT7 9NX

Kat and Spencer have gorgeously restored a 1935 Art Deco villa, a few minutes’ walk from Minnis Bay beach, injecting fun themes into its four rooms, each named after characters with connections to Thanet. The 1935 Art Deco Baron and Lady Carson suite is the largest, with a spacious balcony and king-sized bed. The mid-century modern style Tudor Gates room is named after a writer who was previous resident of the house. Channelling the late 1930s is the Amy Johnson room, with a wonderful map of the world and photo portraits of the aviatrix who was last seen bailing out of her plane near Herne Bay. David Bowie, who played in Margate in the 1960s, features in the smallest room which has a groovy 1970s Ziggy Stardust vibe.


More information

For more information, check out Simon Richmond’s guide: