Our home dates from the late 15th century and is located in the centre of a thriving village in the heart of the Kent countryside. You can walk from the house through orchards, woods and meadows, call in at a local pub or watch cricket on the village green. Yet our village is just 55 minutes by train from central London and the same time by car from the Channel Tunnel to France. Within a short drive are such varied attractions as Leeds Castle, built by Henry VIII; Chartwell, home of Winston Churchill; and Vita Sackville-West's glorious garden at Sissinghurst. A little further away are Canterbury Cathedral, Chatham Historic Dockyard, home of the Royal Navy, and Battle, scene of William the Conqueror's invasion in 1066.
Our house is comfortably rather than expensively furnished. It is timber-framed and heavily-beamed throughout. There is a large inglenook where we often curl up in front of a log fire on chilly evenings. The kitchen is well-equipped with dishwasher, microwave, a double oven, fridge and freezer. There is a washing machine and tumble dryer in the scullery. Although there is a separate dining room, we usually eat outside throughout the summer in our cottage garden. Guests can access the internet and digital television and there are plenty of films, CDs and books for lazy days.
Sleeping accommodation is flexible with four double-bedded rooms and one three/four bedded.
The house would suit a family or group of friends or, equally, a couple with children.
We are situated in the heart of Kent, roughly halfway between London and the coast. Within a thirty mile radius in any direction we can access pages from ten centuries of English history, from the Roman road on which our house stands, to the airstrip buried by weeds in a neighbouring field from which Spitfires and Hurricanes fought the Battle of Britain. We enjoy in particular the character of the place, expressed not so much in stately homes and magnificent galleries (although there are plenty of those) but in our local country town with its Friday street market and robust pub lunches, in our neighbouring farm shop where we buy our fruit and vegetables, in our eccentric village museum with its motley collection illustrating aspects of village life for the past two hundred years, and above all, in the trackways and public footpaths that lead from our back door through fields, farms and woodlands.
Yet the village has other, quite different, attractions. A majority of villagers commute each day either to Maidstone, the County Town of Kent, some twelve miles away, or to London. The mainline railway station is a twenty minute walk or a five minute drive from our house and in a further 58 minutes you can be in the heart of London, a short walk from the National Gallery, Covent Garden, 'theatreland' and concert halls.
Within a ten minute drive is a high-speed motorway which links France via the Channel Tunnel to London and elsewhere in England. We still occasionally take 'Le Shuttle' through the Tunnel in the evening to visit a favourite restaurant in Calais or Boulogne-sur-Mer.
Hence the attraction of the neighbourhood for us is twofold - the homeliness of the village with its local facilities plus easy access to London and the rest of Kent and southern England.
My wife and I are both semi-retired. Our three children have left home so we now have more time (supposedly) to pursue our own interests. We are fond of theatre and opera, gardening, walking in the countryside and especially at the coast, birdwatching, researching family history and entertaining.
Most of our time, though, is taken up with five grandchildren, a more strenuous yet more fulfilling occupation than any other!