Kent's ‘quaint little village’ that experts say is one of Britain’s greatest

The Telegraph said: "quaint little Chilham has it all, plus extras"
The Telegraph said: "quaint little Chilham has it all, plus extras" -Credit:Getty Images/iStockphoto/smartin69

Arguably one of Kent’s most defining features is our county’s abundance of amazing villages. With so many fantastic little settlements to be found at every corner of the Garden of England, determining which is the best would be nearly impossible - until now.

The Telegraph has recently unveiled its ranking of Britain’s 30 greatest villages, as decided by a team of travel experts. Locations from up and down the country were highlighted, with a particular focus on those that have avoided ‘overtourism’ to remain ‘uncrowded’.

The paper said: “Britain has no shortage of eye-catching villages, but a combination of good looks, convenience for day trippers and a few influential endorsements can be enough to turn what was once a peaceful retreat into an overtourism battleground inundated with selfie stick-wielding tourists from April till October.” Castle Combe in the Cotswolds and Polperro in Cornwall were noted as examples of villages where tourism has boomed.

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The Telegraph went on: “Fortunately, there are still plenty of beautiful but uncrowded British villages that do retain their authentic character, where medieval pubs and churches remain the beating heart of the community, and where welcoming shopkeepers stock treats from local producers.” Just one humble Kent village managed to secure a place on the list, that being charming Chilham.

Previously listed among the most beautiful villages you can find in the UK, Chilham sits along the picture perfect Great Stour River, nine miles away from historic Canterbury. Raving about its many wonderful features, The Telegraph said: “There’s a medieval square lined by pleasingly wonky timber-frame buildings, two good pubs, a cute tea room, a post office and a historic church that was the last known resting place of the shrine of St Augustine after the Reformation.”

The village boasts two well-reviewed pubs, a tea room, historic buildings and gorgeous scenery
The village boasts two well-reviewed pubs, a tea room, historic buildings and gorgeous scenery -Credit:Getty Images/iStockphoto/smartin69

The paper also highlighted its handy train station, which you can reach from London in about 90 minutes, or 20 minutes from Canterbury. Another of the village’s most distinctive landmarks is the striking Jacobean mansion, built on the site of an eighth-century castle.

While the castle itself is private, its gorgeous formal gardens and parkland are open to the public every Tuesday and Thursday when in season between May and September. As mentioned, Chilham is home to two highly regarded boozers, each with their own unique character that makes for pub experiences you won't soon forget.

Chilham is full of fascinating history
Chilham is full of fascinating history -Credit:Getty Images/iStockphoto/smartin69

First you have the Woolpack Hotel, a 600-year-old inn steeped in history that ‘combines a fantastic location and great hospitality to make a memorable stay.’ The Telegraph notes this as the best place to stay while visiting Chilham, calling it a “characterful old country pub with fresh, bright rooms.” B&B double rooms start from £110 per night at this cosy inn.

Meanwhile, anyone with an intrigue in the supernatural will want to pay the supposedly-haunted White Horse Inn a visit. Don’t let any potential paranormal punters put you off however, as this pub has proven a real hit with those who visit, largely thanks to its range of real local ales and delicious grub.

Proudly holding a TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice Award, customers have praised the ‘cosy and quirky atmosphere’ as well as the ‘attentive service’. One reviewer remarked: “The pub feels almost a step out of time and place, a getaway from the rush of the everyday.”

Alternatively, if a relaxed cuppa with a scrumptious slice of cake is a bit more your speed, then The Church Mouse Tea Rooms should suit nicely. Found within a beautiful Grade-II listed property in the central square, here you can enjoy a selection of homemade lunch bites and sweet treats, with a little something on offer to please all tastes.

Chilham sits along the River Stour, providing plenty of opportunities for a picturesque spring walk
Chilham sits along the River Stour, providing plenty of opportunities for a picturesque spring walk -Credit:Getty Images/iStockphoto/asmithers

Given its real rural village charm and undeniable picturesque quality, it probably won't come as a surprise that Chilham has caught the eye of many a director and showrunner. In fact, at least 15 different productions have been shot in the village over the years, including BBC’s Jane Austen adaptation of Emma as well as Antiques Roadshow and episodes of Miss Marple.

Fascinating history can be found all over the village, and stepping just outside of Chilham you can find nods to nearby Canterbury’s tradition of pilgrimage. The village even forms the last stretch of the Pilgrims’ Way - a 150-mile-long route reaching from Hampshire to Kent.

Chilham has also been named among the nation's 'prettiest' villages
Chilham has also been named among the nation's 'prettiest' villages -Credit:Getty Images/iStockphoto/smartin69

If a multi-week trek sounds just a little too long however, then perhaps some of the looping trails around Chilham will suffice. There are multiple routes you can pick from, ranging in length from one mile to 14, providing the perfect opportunity for a sunny stroll this spring as the weather warms up at last.

Over the last year, Chilham had an average property price of £307,500, which is 45 per cent down on the previous year. For families that may be considering planting their roots here, there are two schools in the village, St Mary’s Primary School and Hope View School, both of which have been rated good by Ofsted.

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