Set up by PhD research and development chemists Andy Reason and Norman Lewis, this artisan gin distillery produces Anno Kent Dry Gin in a small batch copper pot still called Patience, using a blend of traditional botanicals with local hops, lavender from Downderry Nursery, samphire from Romney Marsh and wild flowers. Time a visit for a distillery tour and tutored tasting.
The Barrow House Egerton, Kent, TN27 9DJ
The personal touch
Having rescued Sissinghurst’s local pub from closure in 2013, the team behind the hugely successful The Milk House have transformed the fortunes of another Kent pub, the former George Inn in thriving Egerton. Renamed The Barrow House, after a local Bronze Age barrow, the striking white weather boarded and timbered building dates from 1576 and stands in the heart of the village close to the church. Having been closed and unloved for over a year, Dane and Sarah Allchorne pushed open the doors to a throng of enthusiastic (& parched) locals in September 2016, who praised the reincarnation and refurbishment, which includes three comfortable en suite bedrooms. Expect to find a comfortable lounge with real fire (note the signatures from war pilots on the listed chimney breast), a spacious spruced up bar area with heavy beams, stone floor, wood-burning stove, and scrubbed old dining tables, and two further dining rooms, replete with wood floors, exposed beams and brick and Farrow & Ball turquoise walls, painted tables, comfy cushions and quirky antler chandeliers.
Expect a warm welcome towards children; small people menu (baby cheese burger; spaghetti & cheese toastie; gingerbread dinosaurs, for example); baby-changing unit in disabled toilet; cots & z-beds available for kid’s to stay overnight.
Dogs are welcome in the bar but not in the dining room or bedrooms.
Make the most of the three-tiered side terrace and small garden on sunny days – dine alfresco with views across village and the Weald of Kent.
Egerton is also a vibrant bustling hub known for its clubs, sports and established summer music festival. From the Friday Farmers’ Market to cricket matches in the summer, there’s always plenty going on.
The Barrow House Egerton, Kent, TN27 9DJ
Do not disturb
Upstairs are three spacious and very comfortable rooms (Bell, Bowl & Disk), each one beautifully decorated in a simple, stylish and uncluttered way, with soothing heritage hues, the best linen and down on big beds, contemporary fabrics, upholstered armchairs, a mix of pine and painted furniture, fresh flowers and Roberts radios, and touches of bronze. Modern tiled bathrooms boast rain showers (two over baths) and Romney Marsh soaps and lotions. Disk is situated in the oldest part of the building and oozes character with dark beams and wonky walls. Bowl and Bell boasts views across the Kentish Weald on a fine day.
Fresh coffee (Little Coffee Company); fresh milk; homemade cookies; Romney Marsh soaps & toiletries; huge towels; power showers
Smart TVs; Roberts radios; hairdryers
What’s for Breakfast?
Homemade muesli, berry compote, natural yoghurt; croissants, butter & jam; bacon & sausage bap; eggs on toast; Barrow House full cooked breakfast; ‘veggie’ breakfast (free-range eggs; sautéed potato; grilled mushroom; tomato; wilted spinach; toast)
The Barrow House Egerton, Kent, TN27 9DJ
Mastering the menu
Chef-owner Dane oversees the kitchen at both The Milk House and The Barrow House and following the success of The Milk House, championed for its imaginative, crowd-pleasing menus, from pizzas, pub classics and grazing dishes to more inventive dishes, he has created an equally exciting seasonal menu at The Barrow House, one that trawls the globe for inspiration and offers something for everyone at different times of the day. Choose from sharing platters, soups, salads, sarnies and starter/small plates (feel free to mix and match), or tuck into a brilliant handmade burger, fish and chips with lemon-thyme tartare sauce, or one of the eclectic main dishes – jerk chicken; veal schnitzel with spaghetti tomatoes and chilli; salmon with tabouleh and lemon. Dane’s passion for food extends to sourcing quality produce from within a 20-mile radius of Egerton, the rich local larder delivering artisan bread, handmade charcuterie, succulent rare breed lamb, amazing asparagus, and even a boutique gin.
On the menu
(Starters: £6-£10; Main Courses: £10-£24; Desserts £6-£8)
French onion soup; Fried duck egg, black pudding & sough dough crumble; Grilled scallops, fennel slaw, lemon oil, cracked black pepper
Liver & bacon, mash, watercress; 48-hour slow-cooked brisket, creamed corn; Whole sea bass, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaf, ginger, coriander; Kale & beetroot frittata, carrot & orange salad; Chicken & bacon burger, chunky chips; 30-day aged beef sirloin
Marmalade Bakewell tart, mascarpone; Salted caramel brownie, vanilla ice cream
Hot salt beef & sauerkraut sandwich
Fisherman’s feast (to share) – gravadlax, mackerel pate & smoked mussels
Marinated Tuscan vegetables, grilled artichokes, feta & lemon (to share)
Rare roast sirloin of beef, maple & poppy seed roast root vegetables, duck fat roasted red potatoes, winter greens and red wine jus
Time to Eat
Breakfast: 8.30am – 10.30am
Lunch: 12 noon – 3pm (4.30pm Sunday)
Dinner: 6pm – 9pm (no food Sunday evening)
Local, Local, Local
Anno Gin, Marden (see Food Trail)
Moons Green Charcuterie (www.moonsgreen.co.uk)
Claire’s Bread (Frankie’s Farm Shop – see Food Trail)
Park Farm Butchers, Staplehurst (see Food Trail)
Chapel Down Vineyard, Tenterden (see Food Trail)
Herbert Hall Vineyard (www.herberthall.com)
Old Dairy Brewery, Tenterden (see Food Trail)
Rye Bay Coffee (www.ryebaycoffee.co.uk)
Bardsley Farms Juices, Boughton Monchelsea (www.bardsleyfarms.co.uk)
Behind the bar
Carefully squeezed in behind ancient standing timbers, the swish oak counter is the focal point of main bar, nicely spot-lit to draw the eye to the three hand-pumps, the brass font, and the unique back shelving created from iron rods that are more often used in strengthening concrete. Here you’ll find the beautiful Anno Gin and Vodka bottles, superb spirits distilled in nearby Marden, amongst the usual collection of spirits and huge kilner jars of bar nibbles – olives, pickled onions and Bombay mix, for example. Beer lovers will be more than happy with Harvey’s Sussex Best, Dark Star Hop Head, and the Barrow House Brew, brewed by Tonbridge Brewery, and the Curious IPA Brew from Chapel Down in Tenterden. There’s also a fridge stocked with the trendiest craft cans from Brooklyn to Brewdog. In addition, there’s premium lager and Aspall’s Cider on draught, local Turners farm cider, and some excellent juices and ginger beer from Fentimans, Kingsdown and Bardsley Farm. The short, well-selected list of wines favours France.
Bacon bits, marmalade; Smoked onion rings, paprika salt; Devilled crab & crayfish cakes, chargrilled lemon
Time at the bar
12 noon – 11pm (6pm Sunday)
Take it back home
Tour the brewery that brewed your favourite pint, visit the shop on the farm that reared your delicious Sunday roast beef, and seek out the roadside stalls selling the local crab and samphire on the inn’s menu, the Food Trail features the local artisan producers and suppliers where you can buy to enjoy at home.
Change of scenery
Looking for a pub for lunch following a country walk, a different venue for dinner, or a good café for coffee, light lunch or afternoon tea, then the best in the area are listed below. If you find a new and exciting eatery in the area that’s worthy of a mention on the Food Trail, then please to do let us know – firstname.lastname@example.org.
1 Inn Location - The Barrow House
'Fine ales from the garden of England' is the tagline for this exceptional brewery housed inside two World War II Nissen buildings just off the High Street. As well a core range of beers such as Gold Top and Copper Top, there are seasonal ales and specials such as AK 1911 brewed to a century-old Kentish recipe. The Brewery shop is open Monday to Saturday and brewery tours run on Thursdays and Saturdays.
In a converted barn just outside St Michael’s, this exceptional farm shop sells a range of top quality organic meat and dairy produce from land farmed by the Fenton family for the past 25 years. Rare breed beef, pork and lamb is on offer alongside organic vegetables, and you can refuel at the Silcocks Cafe, which uses the same produce from the farm.
In the heart of Rye and close to the coast, this lovely pub specialises in local seafood including Hastings smoked prawns, smoked mackerel and pickled cucumber and fish cakes made from the day's catch. Wash it down with Kentish ciders or Hastings-brewed First In Last Out Gold ale.
Established in 2001, this wonderful shop sells high quality free-range and grass-fed beef, pork and lamb reared by Andrew and Anne Clarke who farm some 300 acres of Wealden farmland in the parish of Hawkhurst. The farm participates in an ongoing conservation and education programme and also offers open days by prior arrangement.
As well as its own superb smoked fish, meats and cheeses, this award-winning deli just off the A21 carries a huge range of local, British and international fine foods including pastas, chocolates and wines. There's also the Kiln Room brasserie serving light lunches, coffees and afternoon teas.
Open since 2012, this well-stocked farm shop is situated next to award-winning Staplehurst Nurseries, which supplies local garden centres and London markets. The farm shop sells a range of freshly baked bread, preserves, condiments, fresh fruit and vegetables, cakes, hams and chocolates. The cafe serves deli tasting platter, light lunches and takeaway sandwiches.
With celebrity supporters, including Gordon Ramsay and Jamie Oliver, Chapel Down is widely regarded as England’s leading wine producer, with award-winning still wines, sparkling wines and craft beers produced amongst the 22 acres of vineyards at Tenterden. The winery and restaurant is open all year round, with guided tours offered between April and November.
Housed within The Corn Exchange in the lower Pantiles, this cookery school from celebrated chef Rosemary Shrager runs a full range of courses and classes for cooks of every level in the state-of-the-art kitchens.
1 Inn Location - The Barrow House
On the borders of Kent and East Sussex and a stone's throw from the Queens Inn, this is a perfect location for keen anglers. There are four main angling lakes and three junior course ponds. Expect carp, tench and golden orfe - among other fish.
Opposite The Colonnade, the Kino Digital Cinema offers a great boutique entertainment venue with HD projection and sound. Kino is the first purely digital cinema in the UK.
Bewl Water, near Hawkhurst, offers a multitude of things to do. There are walks and cycle rides, fishing, watersports and many family-friendly activities, plus a range of great events throughout the year.
Chart Hills is challenging, beautifully laid out course, designed by Nick Faldo, set in a stunning spot in the Weald, with peaceful views across its 200 acres of parkland, complete with oak woodlands and lakes. It is one of finest courses in the South of England.
The picturesque line weaves between Tenterden and Bodiam for 10.5 miles. Experience travel and service from a bygone age aboard beautifully restored coaches and steam locomotives dating from Victorian times.
Headcorn Airfield is the place to head for pleasure flights across the Weald, Downs and coast. Alternatively, you can take a trial lesson with an experienced instructor, either flying a light aircraft or even a small helicopter. The Lashenden Air Warfare Museum is also based here, with much WW2 ephemera and a V1 flying bomb.
Based in a former Salvation Army chapel in Rope Walk in picturesque Rye, Glass Etc is one of Britain's largest shops selling antique and 20th-century glass. A vast stock, not all of it on show, consists of around 30,000 pieces spanning the period c1750-1980.
From the Victorian feel of the High Street to the historic, handsome Pantiles, Tunbridge Wells is not short of shopping opportunities. The Pantiles, which is a colonnaded walkway dating back to the 17th century, consists of almost entirely independent shops - from fashion and jewellery to home and garden. Don't miss the Pantiles Food Festival in mid-May.
West End House is located in the heart of beautiful, historic Smarden. Original artworks on show include paintings, prints, photography, ceramics, glass and jewellery by a wide range of renowned artists and makers.
An exciting gallery exhibiting work by local contemporary artists, with an emphasis on landscape and abstract work. There are also classes in art and creative writing, plus workshops in painting, drawing, poetry and writing for adults and children.
This boutique draws customers from all over Kent and further afield in search of exclusive clothes and accessories. Expect jewellery, hats, bags and shoes – among many items. Carole travels all over Europe and the Far East to source clothes for every new season.
Places to visit
A picturesque 14th-century moated castle, a Victorian country house and a lovely garden, all set in a beautiful wooded estate. The castle makes a glorious backdrop and there are over 770 acres of woodland and parkland to explore.The house was built from sandstone quarried from the grounds of the old castle, and it was positioned to overlook the castle and estate. The garden was created at the same time, ensuring that all the three elements: house, garden and estate would work together.
Romantic English landscaping and planting framed by lovely old trees, fountains and ponds, with the unusual Grade I-Listed, timber-framed Tudor/Georgian manor house as a backdrop.
Not far from Cranbrook, Sissinghurst's wonderful garden is the enduring legacy of Vita Sackville-West and her husband Harold Nicolson who laboured long and hard to complete this horticultural work of art. There's a lot to see at Sissinghurst, including Vita's tower writing room and nearby lakes and woodland.
Located in the glorious Weald of Kent, this small 16th-century cottage was the home of the greatly admired Victorian actress, Ellen Terry. Explore this pretty, half-timbered building and discover her fascinating theatrical collection. In the garden stands the thatched Barn Theatre.
Between Hawkhurst and Rye, Great Dixter was for many years the much-loved home of the renowned gardener and writer Christopher Lloyd who spent many years helping to establish one of the most exciting, colourful and constantly changing gardens of modern times. One of Great Dixter’s most striking features is the magnificent Great Hall, the largest surviving timber-framed hall in the country.
Situated at Rolvenden, Great Maytham Hall's wonderful garden can be viewed on Wednesday afternoons in spring and summer and the visit is well worth it. Great Maytham is where the writer Frances Hodgson Burnett lived around the turn of the century. Her time here inspired the classic tale The Secret Garden and the setting continues to evoke the magic of her writing.
Ten miles north of Hastings, the charming East Sussex town of Rye is filled with picturesque cobbled streets and clay-tiled roofs. Exploring the town really does convey the impression of visiting the set of a period costume drama or film. The National Trust-owned Lamb House, the former home of the American writer Henry James, is located in Rye and open to the public.
One of the most important and fascinating houses in Kent, Godinton House at Ashford boasts an illustrious history dating back to the medieval period. The gardens are especially striking and idiosyncratic. Included here are a newly designed Rose Garden and the Walled Garden with its greenhouses and delphinium collection.
Tunbridge Wells is a busy town with some lovely buildings, including the Pantiles, which is a Georgian colonnade filled with shops and restaurants. There are three theatres and a music venue, as well as several lovely parks.
The National Pinetum is home to a world leading collection of conifers and is a centre for International conservation. It also provides a beautiful setting for peaceful walks and picnics. Bedgebury Forest features an adventure play trail, Go Ape, and miles of trails for family cycling, mountain-biking, walking, and running. The café at the Visitor Centre café enjoys panoramic views across the Pinetum.
The classic “English” castle, in the midst of a huge lake-cum-moat; it may appear familiar from many films that have featured its medieval splendour. Umpteen connections with royalty, it is has all the appropriate trappings in-situ, from magnificent tapestries and fine furnishings to paintings and centuries-worth of ephemera, including a collection of dog-collars (canine!). Add a range of themed gardens, a maze and a vineyard and the heady mix is complete.
At the heart of the historic city, this magnificent cathedral is linked to peaceful gardens, perfect for contemplation.
Kent has more than 4,200 miles (6,700km) of countryside and coastal paths. Chalk cliffs, downland, marshes, beaches – there’s something for everyone. Miles of footpaths and a variety of waymarked long distance routes make the area ideal for walkers. Ashdown Forest provides 2,500 acres of open heathland criss-crossed with pathways and bridleways. The Weald Way runs across Kent and Sussex crossing the chalk ridges of the North and South Downs and through the Weald, stretching almost 80 miles (126.8km). The Greensand Way (108 miles), which links Haslemere in Surrey to Ham Street in Kent, follows the Greensand Ridge and passes close to the door of The Barrow House and interesting and scenic walks can be created incorporating this popular long distance trail.
The two-wheeled action available ranges from fast-paced mountain biking to family friendly routes. You can hire bikes at Bedgebury National Pinetum, where there are tracks for all levels of ability. Bewl Water is great for rough, muddy riding round the lakeside. The Royal Military Canal, near Rye, is a favourite destination for many families, with long traffic-free sections making it safe and user-friendly. The Cuckoo Trail is another popular choice, running for 14 miles through East Sussex, from Hampden Park to Heathfield.
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION
M20 (J8) follow the A20 southeast towards Charing; beyond Lenham follow signs left for Egerton; or at Charing follow signs left to Pluckley/Smarden, then left to Egerton at Pluckley
Pluckley station is 3 miles and an easy taxi ride away from the pub (just over an hour from London Charing)
The Street , Egerton, Kent, TN27 9DJ