It wasn’t until I started acting as part of the Riverside Players, the local amateur dramatic group, that I even took the opportunity to appreciate the many charms of picturesque Eynsford, Kent.
I would often drive through, only glancing to admire the Lavender Fields that dressed the roadside. But now it’s one of my favourite places – particularly in the summer months. I realise that it’s winter right now, so why am I blogging about it? Well, the two places I’m going to talk to you about are spots that can be enjoyed in any season and for me are two real highlights of the village.
Situated in Kent it’s probably best known for its Ford – and if you are visiting and decide that you’d like to drive through it, really don’t. STOP THINKING ABOUT IT. I have seen numerous cars get stuck in the years I have been visiting this small village and it never ends well.
There are plenty of places to park for free nearby just beyond the Ford (there’s a pub called the Five Bells and that usually has one or two roadside spaces available.) Try one of the little side roads if the roadside is full. There is a monument which leads to a few roads that normally have a lot of space!!
Home to some beautiful historic sites such as the Eynsford and Lullingstone castles, as well as ‘proper’ olde English pubs and ample walking trails, it’s certainly worth spending a few hours here.
Time for tea
The first of my favourite spots in this pretty village is known as the Tearooms. This sits on the corner just before the Ford, serving a range of mouthwatering cakes, hot drinks and a lovely and extensive food menu.
Sandwiches, salads and a range of hot foods are all on often. I can highly recommend the full English breakfast, but my biggest weakness is their pancakes.
I went there recently and as I’m trying to be good right now, I opted for the berries on top, but you can also get a stack with bacon. For those of you who have never tried bacon, pancakes and maple syrup, YOU HAVE NOT LIVED. It’s actually an insanely delicious combination. However, the berry version is also really tasty and perfect for a cheeky breakfast if you’re keen to indulge without as much guilt!!
I really enjoy their hot drinks. I am a sucker for a Costa latte, but it’s great when you find a local place that does a decent coffee. I really like having my coffee in a glass too. I don’t know if there is any science behind it, but it tastes better. There is also a lovely selection of cold, refreshing drinks too such as shakes and juices. My friend enjoyed a berry smoothie with his breakfast which came into a retro style jar.
It’s important to note that my friend’s breakfast was actually on his own creation. The menu has a lot of side options, so basically he created his own version of an English breakfast. I think it may have been a slightly more expensive option (although I’m not certain of this), but it certainly looked great and it is good to know that the cafe offers this kind of bespoke service.
The cafe has a very cute appearance that really complements the village atmosphere, with English bunting hung across its pleasingly decorated walls. It’s a small and cosy space and ideal for catch ups with friends! I would recommend, however, if you’re looking to go there for lunch to arrive around 11am and have a brunch-type meal instead, as it can get rather busy and you may not be able to find a seat!!
Open from 9am-4:30 Monday to Friday, with a slightly earlier closing time of 4pm on Sunday , the Tearooms is really worth popping in to for some yummy brunch.
The second favourite is the Plough. This is a really lovely pub just a minute’s walk on from the Tearooms. Take the bridge by the Ford and it’s on the right. Customers are free to park here, but you must make a note of your registration inside on one of the digital screens.
Normally the parking at the Plough is pretty busy, but if you go for an earlier dinner (5pm), you’ll find that you will normally get a space. The restaurant won’t be as crowded either. On this note, I would always recommend booking a table for the Plough in advance, this can be done easily via the website.
The place is pretty big, with a nice outside area (found on the left) in which you can sit to have drinks. In the summer this does tend to get VERY BUSY. The actual exterior of the building is really something to be admired, it reminds me of something out of a fairytale.
Inside, the place is divided into two – the left hand side is a pub, which is a bit more casual than the restaurant. However, it still keeps its enchanting atmosphere with plush sofas and a beautiful fireplace that sits back into a cobbled wall.
The right hand side is home to the restaurant which lies in a kind of mezzanine styled area. The top of floor of restaurant is my favourite. I reckon that is owed to the fact the tables are a bit more spread out. But it’s nice that there is a downstairs option, as it means those who struggle or are unable to use the stairs can access the restaurant. I should point out that there is a set of fire doors which can be used if you are unable to climb the small set of steps leading up to the bar.
When you arrive in the restaurant, there’s an obvious point to wait until a staff member comes to attend to you. You need not ask for food at the bar in the pub section. Although it is possible to order food at the bar (the menu is not as long) if you would like to have a more casual dining experience or you know fancy chips with your cider.
The service is always welcoming and attentive and the food simply glorious. As for choice, there is soooo much. It’s a bit overwhelming, but I would rather have a decent selection than a pitiful one.
I opted for a buttermilk chicken with sweet potato fries and salad, which was really good. I also noted that there was a vegan menu which has a nice range of starters, mains and desserts.
We chose a New Zealand sauvignon blanc, which was one of the nicest I have had in a long time. I realise that wine is something which differs with a lot of people, so to get an idea of my taste it’s like a nicer version of Oyster Bay.
The dessert I had was an alternative of what you would normally get, as they had run out of sticky toffee pudding. I was really pleased with this result, as I think I ended up with something better.
Essentially, it was a hollow ball of chocolate with brownie (normally sticky toffee) and peanut butter inside. Our waitress poured over a decadent chocolate sauce, which melted the rich encasing to reveal its enticing editable contents.
The plate was decorated with a single scoop of vanilla ice cream and several dollops of cream which were each adorned with a purple flower.
Hilariously, my gran decided after I had finished with my dessert she would try one of the flowers. She popped it in her mouth and winced. “Gran, you just ate a flower.” “Oh, she replied, I thought it was a nut.” So to clarify flowers not nuts, guys…..
To complement my dessert, I ordered a latte – because I bloody love them – but would say that perhaps the combination was a bit too much. I think next time I will have a cup of tea or stick to water. There was a small biscuit balanced on my spoon which was tasty – especially dipped into my latte froth.
So there you go, my two favourite places in Eynsford! So next time you’re passing by, why not pull over and have a wander round and a bite to eat in either (or both!!!) of these quiet, hidden gems.