The Leicester Arms Pub with rooms in Penshurst, Kent

Prices from:
£119 per night

David Hancock says:

  • Restored to original Georgian splendour
  • Good British cooking; hearty dishes
  • Passion for local artisan produce
  • Stunning terrace with valley views
  • Simple, comfortable rooms

Sticky FingersMuddy PawsGood for WalkingCandlelitGreen FingersVisit a Stately Pile90 Minutes from LondonNo Car NeededPrivate Dining

Real Time Booking Available

The Leicester Arms Penshurst, Kent, TN11 8BT

The personal touch

Picture-postcard Penshurst is a jumble of Tudor, Georgian and Victorian buildings built by the Earls of Leicester and their ancestors, who have resided in beautiful Penshurst Place for centuries. Standing opposite the gates to the big house and the parish church, the Leicester Arms, a 16th-century creeper-clad inn, was rescued from closure in 2013 and is now in the hands of experienced operator Chris Cozens, who also owns the George & Dragon in nearby Speldhurst. The building has been restored to its original Georgian elegance, and Chris is breathing new life back into the beamed and timbered bar and rambling dining rooms, with refurbishment of the bedrooms due in October 2018. Beyond the grand entrance hall, replete with flagged floor, heavy oak doors, plush Chesterfield and huge ornate mirror, expect to find wonky beams and a blazing fire in the simply furnished bar, and a fine collection of old dining tables in the elegant, panelled dining rooms. The private dining room is adorned with chandeliers, flickering candles and portraits of past Earls. The sunny Garden Room overlooks the landscaped terraced garden and the Medway Valley.

Sticky fingers

Well-behaved children are welcome throughout the inn; there’s a family room sleeping 4 people, and youngsters have their own menu, or they can order smaller portions of the main menu.

Muddy paws

Dogs are most welcome in the bar and in some of the rooms (£20 per night).


The stunning patio garden drops down to the infant River Medway and offers drinking and dining on three terraces and the views across Medway Valley are gorgeous – perfect for summer alfresco sipping


What’s the Damage?
12 bedrooms (1 single; 1 family; 10 doubles); £119 – £139; single £99 – £119; family room £159 – £169

What Else?

  • All credit cards taken (except Amex)
  • Alfresco dining
  • Private dining
  • Parking



The Leicester Arms Penshurst, Kent, TN11 8BT

Do not disturb

Upstairs, individually furnished bedrooms ramble across two floors, all have been sympathetically and simply refurbished, with most enjoying peaceful views across rolling fields, or to Penshurst church across the road. Comfortable Hypnos mattresses, Italian linen and cosy down adorn king size, four-poster and Louis XIV-style beds and ensure a good night’s sleep. Bathrooms, kitted out with smart Aston Matthews fittings, are stylish and fully tiled, with most having power showers over baths, and you can pamper yourself with Temple Spa bathroom products. Wake up to a great breakfast, then don your boots and explore the local footpaths (there are many), or visit nearby Hever Castle, or spend time shopping in the Pantiles in Tunbridge Wells.




What’s the Damage?
12 bedrooms (1 single; 1 family; 10 doubles); £119 – £139; single £99 – £119; family room £159 – £169

What Else?

  • All credit cards taken (except Amex)
  • Alfresco dining
  • Private dining
  • Parking


Eat & Drink

The Leicester Arms Penshurst, Kent, TN11 8BT

Mastering the menu

Chris is passionate about sourcing the best local ingredients available and has nurtured some great relationships with some great artisan producers within 20 miles of Tunbridge Wells – meat from Fullers of Tunbridge Wells, fish from Sankey’s Fishmongers, asparagus from Birchen Farm in Groombridge. The simple modern British menus evolve with the seasons and take in classics like Speldhurst sausages, mash, red onion marmalade and gravy, and Larkins beer battered cod and chips, alongside rump of Kentish lamb with roasted vegetables and salsa verde. Matthew Sankey’s squeaky fresh fish is cooked to perfection and the Sunday roasts draw a loyal local crowd. Puddings include sticky toffee pudding or blackberry and apple crumble. Follow a morning’s walk across Penshurst Estate with a delicious, thick-cut steak and horseradish sandwich, served with rocket and a mini-bucket of chips, best enjoyed in the terraced garden. Ale aficionados should sup a pint of Larkins Traditional, which is brewed just up the road in Chiddingstone, and the back bar shelves groan with a raft of gins, whiskies, brandies, stickies and vodkas.



Time to Eat

Breakfast: 7am – 10am
Lunch: 12 noon – 3pm (5pm Sunday)
Dinner: 6pm – 9pm

Food served all day Saturday 12 noon to 9pm

Time at the bar

11am – 11pm

What’s the Damage?
12 bedrooms (1 single; 1 family; 10 doubles); £119 – £139; single £99 – £119; family room £159 – £169

What Else?

  • All credit cards taken (except Amex)
  • Alfresco dining
  • Private dining
  • Parking


Food Trail

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 –

1 Inn Location - The Leicester Arms


The Dorset Arms, Withyham TN7 4BD

This 18th century pub was named after the Earls and Dukes of Dorset, heads of the Sackville family whose principal seat is the surrounding Buckhurst Estate, and the current Earl refurbished the pub in 2014. The enticing menu showcases local beef, lamb, venison, and seasonal game from the Buckhurst Estate. Try a Buckhurst Park sausage made to estate owner Earl De La Warr's own recipe.


Groombridge Farm Shop, Groombridge TN3 9LY

At the top of Groombridge Hill on the A264, four miles west of Tunbridge Wells, this shop started out as “the asparagus hut” in 2001 and has grown over the years into the fully-fledged farm shop it is today. Dedicated to selling local produce, 90% of stock is sourced from farmers and producers located within Kent and Sussex.


Sankey's Fishmongers, Tunbridge Wells TN1 1BS

Opposite the central train station, this award-winning fishmongers specialises in the freshest seafood products from around the UK. Winner of the 2011 & 2012 Taste of Kent Best Fishmonger award, sustainability is as important here as it is in the Sankeys Seafood Brasserie at 39 Mount Ephraim and their Champagne & Seafood Bar on The Pantiles, a few minutes away.


Birchden Asparagus, Groombridge TN3 9NR

Steve Barnes has been growing and selling asparagus at Birchden Farm, Groombridge, East Sussex since 1997, having planted the original asparagus beds on the farm in 1989 and 1990. The short season runs from the last week of April until June 21.


The Kentish Hare, Bidborough TN3 0XB

Owned by Sir Keith and Lady Maureen Mills, this pub is run by celebrity sibling chefs Chris and James Tanner, who made their name with businesses in Devon and Cornwall. From the open kitchen, head chef Sam Spratt serves up modern British dishes using Kentish produce.


Fuller's Farm Shop, Eridge TN3 9JR

This family-run farm shop stocks a full range of locally sourced meats from Sussex beef, local lamb and free range pork all served by expert butchers with over 40 years' experience. Alongside the butchery you will find a mouthwatering array of local artisan cheeses, seasonal fruit and vegetables, plus wines and beers from the vineyards of Kent and Sussex. There is also a Fuller's Butchers shop at Nelson Road in Tunbridge Wells itself.

Out & About

1 Inn Location - The Leicester Arms



Climbing TN3 9NH

A number of impressive sandstone outcrops can be found around Tunbridge Wells. Some can be climbed easily and others present a challenge even for the serious rock climber. Harrison's Rocks is one of the best known of the outcrops in the South East. It has a large number of good climbs at most grades of difficulty. Wellington Rocks are nearest to Tunbridge Wells (on the common), so easily accessible on foot. See also High Rocks below.


Lamberhurst Golf Club Lamberhurst TN3 8DT

Not far from Tunbridge Wells, this 18-hole course is set in beautiful parkland on both sides of the River Teise, and enjoys spectacular views. It's a friendly club and visiting golfers of all ages and handicaps are warmly welcomed.


High Rocks, Tunbridge Wells TN3 9JJ

Once a Neolithic settlement and an Iron Age Fort and now a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest due to the sandstone weathering, these are the highest cliffs in the Weald. The rocks are linked by a series of bridges (look out for the Devil's Oak, Giant Toad and the Fairy Glen). High Rocks is also a place for the experienced rock climber, with a high proportion of routes at 5c or above.



Sue Hill, The Pantiles, Tunbridge Wells TN2 5TD

Lovely handmade designer baby clothes and gifts, plus clothes for children up to ten. Hand-knitted items, Liberty prints, dresses for flower girls, Confirmation dresses and Christening gowns, including bespoke items.


Aylesford Pottery, Aylesford ME20 7BX

Set in the grounds of Aylesford Priory, this is one of the few surviving commercial potteries in the South-east of England. They make a range of handmade thrown and handbuilt ceramics, plus architectural commissions. The pottery also runs a school of ceramics.


Peter Jenner, The Pantiles, Tunbridge Wells TN2 5TE

Selling fine handmade jewellery made by a father-and-son team, Peter and Guy Jenner. You can watch them at work, commission something special, or simply check-out the hand-picked selection of jewellery by other designers available in the shop.


Trevor Mottram, The Pantiles, Tunbridge Wells TN2 5TE

Completely fabulous and long-established cookware shop stuffed to the rafters with everything you could ever need for your kitchen, from pots and pans to gadgets, china and glass, and every type of implement and utensil.

Places to visit


Groombridge Place Gardens, Groombridge TN3 9QG

Regarded as one of the finest 17th-century classical mansions in the country, Groombridge Place was built to a design partly drawn up by Sir Christopher Wren. Sherlock Holmes creator Sir Arthur Conan Doyle lived locally and once admitted that the house inspired Birlstone Manor in his mystery The Valley of Fear (1915). Over the years, different owners have left their mark on the glorious gardens.


Ightham Mote, Sevenoaks TN15 0NT

This stunning moated manor house, built in the 14th century, is surely one of the most delightful houses in the country. Its half-timbered facade rises from the waters, and other highlights include the picturesque courtyard, Great Hall, painted Tudor ceiling, and Grade I-listed dog kennel. The house is surrounded by lovely gardens, an orchard, water features, lakes and woodland walks.


The Seven Wonders of The Weald TN8 7AD

The 'Seven Wonders of the Weald' are seven places to visit just a short drive from one another, including Chiddingstone Castle, Biddenden Vineyard, and Groombridge Place, as well as Scotney Castle, The Kent & East Sussex Railway, and Royal Tunbridge Wells itself. The Kent & East Sussex Railway runs steam and old diesel trains from Tenterden to Bodiam; while Biddenden Vineyard is Kent's oldest commercial vineyard, also producing cider and fresh fruit juices. All the 'Seven Wonders' offer a range of activities - summer concerts, art, craft and garden shows, historical re-enactments and children's events during school holidays. A special Seven Wonders of the Weald Annual Pass will save you money.


Tonbridge Castle, Tonbridge TN9 1BG

Tucked beside the River Medway, this 11th-century castle is Kent's best example of a motte-and-bailey. The impressive gatehouse dates from the 13th century and the castle is surrounded by landscaped gardens.


Scotney Castle, Lamberhurst TN3 8JN

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.


Hever Castle & Gardens, Hever TN8 7NG

This romantic 13th-century moated castle was the childhood home of Anne Boleyn. Much of what you see today is thanks to the efforts of William Waldorf Astor, who used some of his vast fortune to restore and extend the castle in the early 20th century. Amazing attention to detail in the restoration paid off magnificently, with splendidly furnished interiors and spectacular gardens, including the famous maze.


Penshurst Place, Penshurst TN11 8DG

A family home for more than six hundred years, Penshurst Place includes Henry VIII as a former resident, and these days it belongs to Viscount De L'Isle. The Baron's Hall dates from 1341, with the adjoining State Rooms packed withtapestries, portraits, armour, porcelain and furniture. The historic formal gardens are a fantastic and rare example of Elizabethan garden design, with eleven acres of walled and yew-hedged 'rooms'.


Pashley Manor Gardens, Ticehurst TN5 7HE

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.


Ashdown Forest RH18 5JP

Ashdown Forest is situated in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and is also a Site of Special Scientific Interest, a Special Protection Area and a Special Area of Conservation. It also contains Old Lodge Nature Reserve and the Weir Wood Reservoir. Rather different from its immediate surroundings, it was originally created for the hunting of deer and is now common land. It has heathland and woodland habitats, home to a wide variety of wildlife. Many visitors come to the Forest in search of a very famous bear and his friends - many of the places in Winnie-the-Pooh were based on real locations in the Forest. You can explore the 100 Acre Wood and have a game on Poohsticks Bridge.


Royal Tunbridge Wells TN2 5TE

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 Tunbridge Wells Circular Walk – 27.5 miles (44.3 km) of paths surrounding the town, with link paths to the town centre – provides a real challenge, or can be split into sections. 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 Sussex Border Path runs along the county borders of Kent, West Sussex and East Sussex, over the South Downs towards East Grinstead, passing south of Royal Tunbridge Wells to Bewl Water and Hawkhurst, finishing in Rye. The North Downs Way and South Downs Way are also within easy reach of the Tunbridge Wells area.

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 lake shore. The Tudor Trail runs from Tonbridge Castle to Penshurst Place, alongside the River Medway and out into the countryside; mostly off-road to Penshurst Place, the route takes you through a working farm, so occasional farm traffic should be expected.


The Lantern Parade takes place in Tunbridge Wells during February, with enormous home-made lanterns a spectacular sight in the dark streets. The Tulip Festival is a colourful event at Pashley Manor in April and Chiddingstone Castle hosts an annual Japanese celebration in June. July brings Jazz on the Pantiles, and the Mela celebrates the diversity of the local community through music, visual arts, food and dance. August and the summer holidays bring outdoor activities to Bedgebury National Pinetum and Penshurst Place, including forest schools, bushcraft workshops and camp-building activities. There are twilight live performances at the Hever Castle Festival Theatre and Scotney Castle. ‘Local & Live’, a festival of local music in the open air, takes place at the end of August. The Wadhurst Arts Festival in September is a showcase for local artists’ work.

Getting there

Location, Location, Location

By Road: Follow signs for Penshurst off A26 between Tonbridge and Southborough and follow B2176 for 3 miles to reach Penshurst; inn on the left opposite the church.

By Rail: Penshurst Station is about 2 miles from the village. Direct access to London Victoria (55 minutes).


High Street, Penshurst, Kent, TN11 8BT

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