Published: 11:21, 24 October 2019
| Updated: 12:52, 24 October 2019
Getting away from it all doesn’t have to involve a visit to far away places, especially when Kent has so much to offer.
Natasha Harding spent the night at brand new The Pig at Bridge Place with her children, 13-year-old Zak, and five-year-old Lexi.
Bridge is just 2.5 miles away from Canterbury’s cobbled streets and is a pretty village with two pubs, three coffee shops and lots of character.
Just on the outskirts of the main village, in the former Bridge Country Club is The Pig at Bridge Place, the latest boutique hotel that’s been bought by the luxury chain.
The Pig chain bought the historic building in 2018 and began restoration work before opening their doors earlier this year, and it's since been named the best in the south east.
It was originally built around 1638 as one of the greatest houses in east Kent. More recently it was Kent’s foremost rock and roll club, with music legends such as Led Zeppelin, The Kinks and The Moody Blues playing there back in the day.
The new hotel has 29 bedrooms, seven in the main house, 12 in the coach house, two family lodges and a romantic two-storey hideaway in the old stables.
We were lucky enough to stay in one of two lodges which sleeps four.
Our lodge had two bedrooms and the master bedroom, with it’s huge sleigh type bed, deserves a special mention for its sheer beauty. It also had an en suite with an original roll top bath.
The other bedroom had bunk beds and a view of the fields.
Downstairs is a kitchen-diner and small sitting room complete with a wood-burning stove and a super comfortable sofa.
Everything in the lodge screams quality; the soft bed linen, luxurious toiletries and crystal glassware - but it’s welcoming too with lots of soft blankets and cushions.
The lodges also have their own small garden and car parking space.
By their own admission, The Pig staff have an ‘obsessive commitment’ to home grown and local produce. They use the freshest foods and ingredients and whatever can’t be grown in the Kitchen Garden is sourced within a 25-mile radius.
It means the food is as fresh as can be and you know most of your meal will have come from just outside.
The thing that made our dinner so special is that although the food is to-die-for and the service wonderful, the dining room is relaxed and friendly enough for families. You don’t feel as though you’ve got to be silent and sit on ceremony which is often a challenge with younger children.
If the weather is nice, there is an outside terrace where you’re free to eat.
You can also grab a pizza while you’re there. There’s an outside garden oven, situated in the Kitchen Garden which serves flat breads, fire-pit meats and veggies every day from 12pm to 6.30pm. Summer evening drinks and snacks are available until 8pm.
Breakfast was also delicious; with a fully-loaded buffet and choice of a hot meal cooked to order - and again that laid back vibe.
If the weather is good enough, take some time to explore the extensive grounds - you can even borrow a pair of Hunter wellies if you have forgotten your own.
Stroll along the River Nailborne which runs through the back garden and take in the gorgeous views.
There are pigs (obviously), sheep, chickens and quails on site.
For anybody who loves pampering, the Potting Shed treatment rooms are an experience not to be missed. There are a range of massages and facials on offer with the aim being that you’ll leave feeling even more blissed out.
If you can bear to leave, The Pig is minutes away from Howletts Wild Animal Park and if you haven’t been, it’s well worth a visit.
The 90 acres of ancient parkland is home to lions, tigers, gorillas, lemurs and kudus — a species of antelope.
You can also walk alongside lively lemurs and if you’re really lucky, you might be able to feed them.
The treetop challenge is a new experience and the high ropes course lets you see the park from a monkey’s perspective. It’s suitable for people over 1.2 metres tall and a great upper body workout. We liked it so much, we did it twice.
There are a range of different sized rooms at The Pig with prices start at £99 per night during the week and £130 at the weekend.
To stay in one of the luxurious private lodges, prices start at £295 midweek and £415 at the weekend.