The wonderful weather we have been having caused me to become a little balcony-phobic. The ultimate remedy was a last-minute trip to the country. As a huge admirer of Landmark Trust, we booked with them a little tower on the edge of a cricket pitch in rural Kent.
Prospect Tower on the Belmont House Estate is the perfect weekend escape. This little bit of heaven is only an hour and twenty minutes from Central London. Kent is often overlooked as a weekend destination and instead regarded as a commuter belt between London and the White Cliffs of Dover with only an express tunnel to Paris as a notable feature. We forget that in this beautiful county you can pick cherries and Ma and Pa Larkin chose to raise their brood.
Our drive to the tower took us though picturesque lanes, the evening sun casting long shadows on a few surviving pheasants cluck-clucking in the hedgerows. We drove through some smart but not grand gates up a drive with metal estate fencing full of anticipation. Our little tower was some distance from the main house, nestled snugly to the left of the immaculate cricket pitch. A folly that in its previous life had been a summer house, a cricket pavilion (the wood on the stairs still showing the indentations of the players’ shoe spikes) and a garden store.
Once inside, and up the stairs of the little tower, the first door leads into a not quite Spartan but certainly not twee bedroom; further up the stairs was our little sitting room with a fireplace and a tiny kitchen. The room was furnished simply with little chairs and bookshelves loaded with cleverly selected literature on the area, the Tower’s history, and cricket. This is something Landmark Trust does so very well. Even the housekeeper’s note is in perfect calligraphy. One more flight of the tower stairs took us to the roof and presented us with an incredible view!
From the top of the tower, we could see rolling hills, lush green trees and fields filled with sleeping, lazy cows and in the hazy distance: a shimmer of the sea. We brought with us a picnic that would make the Famous Five proud, with the addition of a magnum of rosé and a disposable barbeque. We spent a perfect Friday night toasting our escape and watching the most beautiful sunset.
On Saturday, we explored Faversham, found a fantastic farm shop and returned to our Tower for more barbequing. On Sunday, we had a live cricket match, although this coincided with the tennis from Wimbledon, which we watched, glued to on an iPad perched on a castellation.
Music floated over from the nearby walled garden and invited a last exploration. A hedged avenue of walnut trees took us to an enchanting walled kitchen garden. This combines a wonderful mix of flowers with really spectacular roses, vegetables, fruit trees all organized beautifully behind box hedging and interspersed by lawns and secret walkways with a marvelous archway of apple trees.
Repunziling, we returned for a last sunset.
Book though Landmark Trust: http://www.landmarktrust.org.u...
Magnums of rosé