The stunning Kent village with a tricky name to pronounce and fairy tale home people adore

The gorgeous Old Lodge House at Hall Place in Leigh
-Credit: (Image: N Chadwick/ Geograph.org)


It's a well-known sight for those lucky enough to live in this gorgeous Kent village, and it is a source of delight for those who regularly drive by it. But even posting a photo online of this gorgeous building by the road in Leigh guarantees a flurry of exclamations, with words such as magical, amazing, stunning or just "wow!"

The Old Lodge, or 'Pepperpot' as some fondly call it, is covered with fragrant swathes of wisteria and early yellow roses in April. The low stone wall around the home gives people a tantalising look at this unusual property.

Leaving aside the lodge, with more on that later, the village of Leigh, pronounced Lye, which lays between Sevenoaks and Tonbridge, and has a cosy pub, is full of quiet charm, with oast houses, gardens and verges full of blooms including towering hollyhocks, and period properties at every turn.

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There's the huge village green, bounded by mature trees and a traditional village sign. There are trimmed hedges, giant sunflowers bobbing in the wind, and a beautiful tiled-roof and brick bus shelter.

If you are visiting, rather than house hunting, you won't be troubled by Rightmove's findings last October which showed how desirable this village is to live, with the average sold price £700,182. And as KentLive reported, the average price of properties sold in Leigh during the previous 12 months was an eye-watering double that of Kent's.

Leigh - beautiful rural village scene showing ground ready for cricket with St Mary's in the background
Leigh - beautiful rural village scene showing ground ready for cricket with St Mary's in the background -Credit:Rog Frost/Wikimedia Commons

The current snapshot of house values in Leigh - which is only 7.5 miles from Tunbridge Wells, itself a town which is winning accolades, most recently the best High Street by American Express - shows they have fallen since last October. The average price of sold properties during the past 12 months was £639,404, that's 7% down on the previous year.

Leigh grew from a hamlet with roots in the 11th century and it has several eye-catching Victorian buildings around The Green and in the High Street. There are two Grade II-listed village halls, one large and one smaller, together on the High Street near the village shop.

There are plenty of clubs and classes at the hall, and the bookings give an enticing hint of the quintessentially 'English village' way of life in Leigh. There is the WI, Scribbles Pre-School, the Horticultural Society, Arts & Crafts, indoor bowls, badminton, keep fit, Afternoon Break and the Historical Society.

There is also St Mary's Church, which stands on the highest point of the village, overlooking the village green. It's an impressive Grade II-listed landmark, likely rebuilt in the 13th century. A church is believed to have stood at this same site for more than 1,000 years.

There are other beauties, such as Hall Place, a Victorian Grade II-listed mansion by a magnificent lake within a former deer park. It came on the market in January 2017 as a country estate, with three cottages on site, with a guide price of £7,200,000.

And of course, there is also the fairytale-like Old Lodge House at Hall Place, in Penshurst Road, another Grade II-listed building, with fascinating architecture. There was an exciting opportunity to see inside the marvellous property when it went on the market with Wards to let in October 2022.

Breathtaking scene at Hall Place lake in Leigh
Breathtaking scene at Hall Place lake in Leigh -Credit:Oast House Archive/Wikimedia Commons

It was unfurnished and was a long-term let. It was described as a two bedroom detached house, with two bathrooms. The empty rooms were painted in low-key colours of wheat, grey and white and the leaded windows were an eye-catching feature, as were the curved shapes in the two rooms which had the turrets at one end.

Leigh has a village green, ideal for a picnics and there's Leigh Primary School, as well as a post office and village shop. It has a cricket club which has played in the village for more than 300 years, making it the eighth oldest in the country. It has a very active Facebook page, with plenty of multimedia content to keep players, and the wider community, up to date.

Its parish council is also busy, keeping people well-informed about what's going on and it recently shared moving photographs of a huge number of villagers commemorating D-Day 80 with their event on The Green, with the lighting of a beacon and speeches. There was also a medley of 1940s songs from Leigh Ladies Choir and Leigh Performing Arts.

When it comes to watering holes, there is the 'dining country pub' Fleur De Lis which features an A La Carte menu through The Red Herring. It describes itself as a cosy Victorian pub which is dog-friendly, but they're just not allowed in the restaurant. There's an outdoor terrace and a garden and there's plenty of fish on the menu.

On Tripadvisor, it has four stars out of a possible five, from 128 reviews. The latest one, from June, says: "Really nice food in a lovely village pub. The food includes a lot of fish dishes - the fish & chips was well-cooked with crisp batter. Fresh and modern inside although the beer garden is more of a courtyard."

The previous one says: "This pub is our local, never before has it been In such good hands. We just visited for mother's day, we had oysters to start that were beautifully fresh, followed by the most tender sirloin roast, which came with plentiful veg, and lovely crispy potatoes.

-Credit:Wikimedia Commons/Jules & Jenny
-Credit:Wikimedia Commons/Jules & Jenny

"I'd probably say this was one of the nicest Sunday dinner I've ever had. Service is fab as the whole team are lovely, and so good with our young daughter. 5 stars guys please keep it up!"

There is also The Plough at Leigh, a 16th century pub hung with hops with a huge country garden, great for children, which prides itself on being a "venue for all occasions". It serves local ales and seasonal menus. The stunning inn offers country weddings in its peg tiled and beamed barn, featuring oak flooring and wood burning stoves.

The pub also has four out of a possible five stars on Tripadvisor, from 262 reviews. The latest comment was last month, and it said: "This pub, in a rural setting just outside Tonbridge, has a lot going for it - spacious beamed interior, beautiful gardens, huge car park and friendly efficient service. The menu has a good variety of dishes. I had a cod burger which was delicious: light crispy batter with succulent fish in a brioche bun simply dressed with mayo and lettuce.

Leigh - The lovely Kent village with so many wonderful things in it
The lovely Kent village with so many wonderful things in it -Credit:Google Street View

"It sounds simple but was so good I'd like to go back and eat it again tomorrow! As well as the normal menu, on weekdays you can also choose from two or three course set menus, which seemed good value. The two beers on tap were from Tonbridge brewery and Kent brewery and were both in excellent condition. If you go, best to first check out their website, as they are sometimes closed for weddings."

Leigh has its own railway station and you can get to London, with changes, at an average time of around 1hr 33 minutes. You can get to the village by car off the A21. It has easy access to Tonbridge and Sevenoaks, alongside a number of brilliant Kent landmarks like Haysden Country Park, Penshurst Place and Gardens and Hever Castle.

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