With less than a week to go to Christmas Day, we’re in the mood for mulled wine and a festive meal. So for day 19 of our #KentAdventCalendar we’re heading to The Eight Bells, a traditional English pub in Hawkhurst, Kent.
No weekend escape or summer week in Kent would be complete without a visit to a few celebrated centuries-old inns in the historic villages of the High Weald. The Eight Bells is a favourite, both for us and for our holiday rental guests. This quintessentially English pub looks onto the Moor just south of Hawkhurst, with a pretty village duck pond and the 14th Century St Laurence’s church as near neighbours – that’s the church spire you can see from Barnfield House a five-minute drive or 25-minute walk away.
The Eight Bells has the ambience and architectural details you’d expect of an 18th Century hostelry – think head-grazingly low ceilings, a wealth of exposed oak beams, and blazing log fires. This creates a delightfully warm and welcoming setting for a pint or two in convivial company – there’s an excellent selection of local and national real ales as well as a good choice of wine. It is also an excellent choice for a meal out… and you can expect so much more than the usual pub grub. James and Annie Rogers, who recently took over the Eight Bells, have done wonders in the kitchen, creating a loyal following for their fresh locally sourced seasonal fare, changing menus and surprisingly competitive pricing. The set lunch menu in particular (served Tuesdays to Saturdays) is a steal at £10 for two courses, £13 for three; check out the sample menu here. In addition to a tempting Sunday lunch and a la carte menu, there are also some popular weekly specials: Tuesday’s Build-your-own-Burger Night, Wednesday’s popular Steak Night, and Fizzy Friday where beer battered cod is served with homemade chips and a glass of bubbly.
If you are staying at Barnfield House in the winter, cosy up by the open fire with a steaming mug of mulled wine. In summer head outdoors to the beautiful beer garden for an alfresco tipple. And to get into festive spirit, just take a look at their Christmas set lunch and dinner menus. Venison, pheasant or Kentish roast turkey and all the trimmings, anyone?
All photos courtesy the Eight Bells