August Bank Holiday week still available!! Or why not book for the October half term?

Kent Advent Calendar – Day 5 – Castle Farm Lavender

Field of lavender in Kent

For day 5 of #KentAdventCalendar we’re celebrating a farm that has changed the colour palette of Kent. Every year in late June, vast swathes of the North Downs burst into a haze of purple as the spectacular lavender fields of Castle Farm begin to flower. This corrugated carpet of lavender undulating across the Kent countryside is breath-taking – a reward for all the senses.

Lavender growing at Castle Farm Kent

During the short season – usually until the end of July – The Hop Shop at Castle Farm runs public and private tours. This is a chance to go behind the scenes at the UK’s largest lavender farm, learn why lavender is grown, how it is harvested and the oil extracted, and what it’s used for… while immersed in billowing rows of perfumed blooms. On certain summer evenings you can book a BYO pop-up sunset picnic right in the lavender fields – but be quick off the mark, as tickets for these outrageously popular events are only announced a few days in advance and sell out quickly.

Lavender season in Kent

While the lavender season is short, the Hop Shop itself is open all year round, selling seasonal produce from the family farm. With Christmas around the corner, now is a great time to visit and pick up some decorative hop bines and wreathes for the home, as well as special gifts for all the family: edible treats, lavender candles and essential oils, and their own Natural Sleep range – Sleepy Scent, Sleepy Balm, Sleepy Tea and Sleep Pillow. These are also available to purchase online.

The Hop Shop at Castle Farm is just north of Sevenoaks near the pretty village of Shoreham, a 40-minute drive from Barnfield House. Find out more here.

Photo credit: The Hop Farm at Castle Farm

Kent Advent Calendar – Day 2 – Blighty’s

Shop window in Cranbrook

For day 2 of our #KentAdventCalendar, we’ve chosen Blighty’s, a quintessentially British gift shop in the historic Wealden village of Cranbrook just four miles from Barnfield House. Camilla Cogger, who manages this fabulous independent family-run gift shop, loves spotting and supporting talented artists, designers and craftspeople, and makes a point of only sourcing products designed and made in Britain. A fabulous place to pick up a gift, it is overflowing with gorgeous Christmas-themed items right now, from scented advent candles to 3D advent calendars to ceramic star Christmas tree decorations.

Camilla Cogger at Blighty's gift shop CranbrookCamilla has recently launched the own-brand Blighty’s Collection, starting with stunning scented candles hand-made close by in Tenterden, and a beautiful ceramic heart featuring Cranbrook’s famous Union Mill, hand-made in Gloucestershire by Broadlands Pottery – super gifts for our holiday renters to purchase as a souvenir of their stay! Blighty’s – an informal term for Britain coined early in the 19th Century – is also a ‘Just a Card’ superhero, supporting a campaign encouraging people to shop local and independent. And if you can’t shop local, you can always shop online . at


Kent Advent Calendar – Day 1

Spring flowers at Sissinghurst

There is so much to experience in Kent that we decided to celebrate our corner of the world with a Kent Advent Calendar. Every day in the run-up to Christmas Day, we’ll be sharing with you photos of some of our favourite places, people and products in Kent and across the border in East Sussex — village pubs, woodland walks, ancient castles, famous gardens, indie boutiques and artisanal fare.

For the first day of our #KentAdventCalendar we’ve chosen world-famous Sissinghurst Castle Garden — the quintessential English garden  less than seven miles from Barnfield House. Wonder if poet and writer Vita Sackville-West could have imagined that her life’s exuberant creation would become arguably England’s most beautiful garden as well as the top attraction in the Weald of Kent?

A birdseye view of Sissinghurst Castle Garden

This year Sissinghurst Castle Garden, which lies less than seven miles from our family holiday rental, will open during winter for the first time. This gives visitors the chance to view the much-loved garden through a different lens, and appreciate the classic structure and layout created by Vita’s husband Harold Nicolson. What better way to experience the Garden of Kent’s colourful changing seasons than at this National Trust treasure!