Leicester Arms

South East England Kent Tunbridge Wells

  • From £150 a night
  • 11 Guest Rooms
  • Pub with Rooms

This comfortable Kent country inn is a winning choice for a country weekend

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Location is important if you're escaping somewhere  for a short break or a long weekend, and you couldn't do much better than the Leicester Arms, an iconic old inn that's been recently transformed into a very comfortable country pub with rooms and excellent food. Taken over by the Little & Large Pub Company (who also own the similarly styled Running Horses in Surrey), it's easy to see what they saw in the place, which is located right in the heart of Penshurst Village among the green hills and leafy valleys of Kent's High Weald, It's also right opposite the country house of Penshurst Place and within a few minutes of Hever Castle, Chartwell and more idyllic country walks than you can shake your walking canes at. Add in the pub's very comfortable individually styled en-suite rooms, and the terrific food they serve, and you have a pretty winning formula for a stress-free weekend in the country.

The creaky old property is still owned by the Brakspear brewery, but has been reinvented by owners Richard and Manu, whose hands-on ownership has ensured a successful transformation from what was a tired old village boozer to a comfortable and contemporary country inn, There are 11 guest rooms, all en-suite, each one named after a flower or herb, and re-styled from top to bottom. Each room is different, with dimensions determined by the style and age of the building and styling to match. Somehow they have modernised the rooms while retaining a feel of permanance and longevity. Though it clearly hasn't, the Leicester Arms feels like it has always been like this: cool and classic for the most part, but lightened with playful touches and welcome amenities – large comfy beds, fast WiFi, Smart TVs, digital radios, fridges with fresh milk and water, homemade cookies and tea and coffee. Even the Standard rooms are good sizes and have king-size beds, while the next tier up have super-king beds and walk-in showers and separate baths and robes. The best room is the Cobnut suite at the top of the building, which has a huge bed and copper bath in the room, plus a separate bathroom, a sofa, and gorgeous views to tempt you out into the surrounding countryside.

Downstairs, there's a nice bar at the front, dollied up with comfy chairs, and a lovely light and spacious dining space at the back, with a little nook with a wood-burner in between. You can also sit out in the patio garden, where they have an outdoor bar. The food is local and delicious, an interesting yet comforting menu that's inspired by the seasonal produce of Kent and Sussex - think Ox Cheek pie,  rump of local lamb or fish and chips, with homemade foccaccia bread, preceded by tender scallops or pulled ham and cheddar croquettes. They also serve delectable steaks from their Robata charcoal grill.

All of this is very welcome after a day out in the countryside, either following the many paths  and byways that lead out from Penshurst, or visiting Penshurst Place – ancestral home of the Elizabethan poet Sir Philip Sydney. You're spoilt for choice for country houses and stately homes – Knole Park, Hever Castle, Ightham Mote and Chartwell are just the highlights – while Royal Tunbridge Wells is just a short drive away.

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Double rooms with breakfast from £150 a night.

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Contact Website  07845 623 821  Leicester Arms, High Street, Penshurst Kent TN11 8BT

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  • Bar
  • Gardens & Grounds
  • Parking
  • Smart TV
  • Wifi

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  • Walking

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