Vacation Rental for 10

Barnfield House Kent

Family-owned 5-bedroom holiday rental • Sleeps 10 • 2-acre gardens • Glorious views

Our Top Recommendations

There are so many places to see and things to do when on holiday in Barnfield House. In no particular order, here are some of our favourites — ideas that will appeal to adults and kids of all ages. 

1. Great Dixter Gardens

We’re lucky to have England’s most famous gardens within a short drive — the kind that attracts visitors from around the world. My favourite is Great Dixter Gardens an eight-mile drive away in Northian, East Sussex. 

“A place of pilgrimage for horticulturalists.  from across the world”, Great Dixter is a riot of colour in the summer months, but is fascinating any time of the year. You can also visit the Tudor house, extensively restored by Edwin Lutyens. Allow time for a tea break in their enchanting garden cafe. And do check out their events calendar of talks, tours and workshops. 

2. Camber Sands

Just half an hour from Barnfield House, this miles-long beach of golden sand is gorgeous in all seasons —this photo was taken on Boxing Day. We take bracing walks along the promenade, or on the beach at low tide. Kids love building sandcastles, paddling in the shallow water, and exploring the sand dunes. And there’s excellent kite surfing for the water sports enthusiast.

camber sands vacation

Camber Sands is a lovely place to experience a typical day at the seaside. Kent and East Sussex offer many more beaches, but this is our favourite.  On the way, do visit Rye, and explore the maze of cobbled lanes lined with medieval, Tudor and Georgian buildings (many now pubs and tearooms). We also recommend that you take a short detour to Winchelsea, one of the Cinque Ports built in the 13th Century, once a medieval hub for the wine trade — you can book a tour of the medieval cellars in the summer, —and now the smallest town in England to have its own mayor.

3. Bodiam Castle

The 14th Century Bodiam Castle is just what you’d imagine a medieval castle should be: four castellated towers complete with arrow slits reflected in the encircling moat, further protected by a portcullis, and in a fairytale countryside setting. One of the most photographed castles in Britain today, this National Trust site it’s only five miles from Barnfield House. Do visit! 

bodiam castle

This pint-sized castle is picture-perfect from all angles. Walk around the outside, feeding the ducks that have made the moat their home. Then cross the short causeway into the castle itself; the interior is in ruins, but it’s worth clambering up the steep spiralling stone steps for the stunning views from the battlements. There’s a busy calendar of activities at Bodiam during the school holidays, from archery to falconry to medieval battle enactments. And getting there can be as adventurous as you want. Arrive by car, or by steam train from Tenterden or Northian (Kent & Est Sussex Railway), or by boat along the River Rother (Bodiam Boating Station).

4. Kent Villages

Barnfield House is an excellent base for exploring the many beautiful villages of the Weald of Kent. Within walking distance of the house is Hawkhurst, with its Victorian weather-board shopping colonnade and pubs (among them the historic Oak & Ivy Inn, from where the notorious 18th Century Hawkhurst Gang ran their smuggling ring).

Cranbrook windmill

Cranbrook four miles away is blessed with the medieval St Dunstan’s church, 15th century cottages, a fascinating museum, and the tallest working mill in England. Glorious countryside drives from Barnfield House reveal more picturesque villages with quaint tearooms, cosy pubs, insta-perfect pastoral settings and poetic names that roll off the tongue – Biddenden, Beneden, Rovenden, Smarden, and Tenterden. Plus lots more ‘hursts’ (meaning wooded area) including Goudhurst, Lamberhurst and Ticehurst.

5. Countryside Walks

Our area is not called the Garden of England for nothing! Being in beautiful countryside is one of the charms of a stay at Barnfield House, and you can access a network of paths a five-minute walk away that lead across farmland — one by a field full of Alpacas!

A five-minute drive away is Bedgebury Forest — a beautiful place any time of the year and our favourite walking spot, with walking, cycling, mountain biking and horse-riding trails criss-crossing 2,000+ acres. It’s free, or pay for entrance to Bedgebury National Pinetum, which has the most complete collection of coniferous trees anywhere in the world, from Californian Redwoods to conifers from Taiwan.

Bewl Water is also beautiful; walk the entire 17-mile circuit if you’re feeling active. Another favourite is the two-mile parkland trail at Scotney Castle.

 

6. National Trust Attractions

We are so lucky to have an amazing selection of National Trust-run historic houses, castles and gardens within a 25-mile radius — the closest being a 10-minute drive away.   

Bodiam Castle – (see above) 5 miles

Sissinghurst Castle Garden – renowned gardens created by Bloomsbury poet Vita Sackville-West and Harold Nicholson. 6 miles

Scotney Castle – country house, moated castle and wooded estate. 7 miles

Batemans — Jacobean house, home of Rudyard Kipling. 8 miles.

Smallhythe Place – Victorian actress Ellen Terry’s 16th century house and cottage garden. 13 miles

Lamb House Rye – Georgian house with literary associations. 15 miles

Stoneacre — medieval yeoman’s house and garden. 17 miles

Chiidingstone Village – one of the oldest and most beautiful villages in Kent. 23 miles

Ightham Mote — 14th century moated manor house. 24 miles

Old Soar Manor — remans of a 13th Century knight’s dwelling. 24 miles

Knole — historic house and 1,000-acre wild deer park. 25 miles

Coldrum Long Barrow — created 1,000 years before Stonehenge. 25 miles

Alfriston Clergy House — medieval thatched Wealden hall-house. 27 miles

Sheffield Park & Gardens — historic parkland, woodland and landscaped gardens. 28 miles
Chartwell — family home of Sir Winston Churchill, 30 miles

7. Visit a Vineyard

Why not book a private tour and wine tasting experience at a local vineyard? Many are award-winning, producing sparkling and still wines that punch way above their weight in both national and international markets. Some of the best are no more than 13 miles away…so you could even book a taxi in anticipation of the tasting!

Just seven miles south of Barnfield House is England’s oldest organic wine estate and one of the main tourist attractions in the ‘1066 Country’ region, attracting some 5,000 visitors  every year. Seddlescomb Organic Vineyards ‘ award-winning range comprises whites, rose, red and sparkling wines – all Soil Association certified organic and registered with the Vegan Society. Book a gided or self-guided tour — there’s a range of special packages to chose from — and enjoy their Woodland Nature Trail too. www.englishorganicwine.co.uk

Nine miles from Barnfield House is Kent’s oldest commercial vineyard, Biddenden Vineyard, where 11 different grape varieties are  grown on 23 acres to produce an array of award-winning white, red, rose and sparkling wines. This family-run business offers both private and charity tours that give visitors  a “personal insight  into all the goings on in the vineyard” as well as tastings of a selection of wines, and an optional sharing platter of Kentish cheeses. www.biddendenvineyards.com

England’s leading wine producer Chapel Down near Tenterden 13 miles away offers guided tours (from March to November) that include a visit to the vineyards and winery followed by a tutored tasting of their award-winning range of sparkling and still wines. Foodies take note: they have recently launched a Cheese & Wine tasting experience which looks interesting — a tutored tasting paired with local English cheeses in the Wine Sanctuary tasting room overlooking the vineyards.

8. Sports

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9. Recommendation 9

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10. Recommendation 10

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Suspendisse accumsan sapien sed lectus ultricies malesuada. Vivamus sit amet semper purus, sed rutrum odio. Integer sollicitudin pellentesque turpis, id pellentesque urna fringilla id.

Curabitur aliquet ligula nibh, fermentum fringilla ligula molestie sed. Suspendisse potenti. Aliquam varius risus purus, quis molestie purus feugiat vel. Vivamus efficitur pulvinar vestibulum. Sed consectetur eget nulla sed lacinia. Phasellus lacus tortor, mollis nec suscipit in, rhoncus a urna. Sed fringilla mi nulla, vitae tempor enim egestas id. Mauris ornare bibendum ex, vel cursus felis cursus quis.

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