With lockdown restrictions easing recently, all of a sudden our chains were broken and our freedom largely restored, but to many of us having got to this position, going out, visiting friends and relatives and at long last having the ability to travel both at home and abroad all came as a bit of a shock. It has taken some adjusting, getting used to what nearly normal used to be, having the confidence to trust in our vaccinations and rebuild our lives gradually.
Live music is back and there are so many more events happening now to keep us all entertained, and although we still have some way to go until we free ourselves of the pandemic we are moving forward it seems.
Not being able to see or visit people has hit us all hard, the day trips out, the little treats we all enjoyed, exploring new places and trying something new to us. But, now that we can once more you may want to consider a trip out into the countryside and dare I suggest, crossing the border into Kent?
If you do, try heading out to Bilsington, it’s a lovely route if you go via Brenzett and Hamstreet and book yourselves in to visit Bilsington Priory. No, it’s not a rehab centre for celebs but a superbly positioned Edwardian country house and medieval 13th century priory, easy to get to, but off the beaten track surrounded by beautiful seven acre gardens to explore. If you fancy a day out and want to take someone out to celebrate a special occasion or just as a post-lockdown treat or Christmas present with a difference then do give it a try.
Afternoon cream teas are very popular there, served in the orangery or dining room but without all the usual pomp and ceremony you might expect in a grand country house, just a warm welcome with a roaring fire and uninterrupted country views as far as the eye can see.
All the cakes and sandwiches are homemade, served crustless on groaning three-tiered sandwich plates and with plentiful homemade scotch eggs, mini quiches and sausage rolls, and huge scones with clotted cream and pots of jam to boot. Tea and coffee just keeps on coming and just when you thought it was all over… more delicious treats arrive in great numbers. There’s no pressure to eat up and go as if your table is booked for the next guest, it is such a leisurely and relaxed atmosphere with no hassle or agenda, plenty of time to tuck into the mini-meringues, chocolate brownies, fresh cream Victoria sponge and caramel slices.
Parking is free, as is entry to the magnificent priory, steeped in history and well worth looking at, the gardens too, plenty of places to sit and admire the views (weather permitting) and a permanent marquee adjacent to the priory is the perfect venue if you want plenty of space to hold a function.
Afternoon teas are not the only treat on offer at Bilsington Priory, it is also a very popular wedding venue and throughout the year (when restrictions allow) there are events including traction engine rallies, classic car meets, camping and so much more.
See what it’s all about and check out their website, or call 01233 720992 to book your treat, Christmas isn’t that far off now, aunty would love it, grandad too, even the kids would have a field day, home cooking at its best, set in beautiful grounds, the chance to unwind and take a step back in time.
Image Credits: Chris Lawson http://www.lawsonpics.com, Nick Forman , Bilsington Priory .