The sun is out and British summertime is officially here! Staycations are increasingly fashionable and we can't recommend highly enough getting your skates on and booking a few nights of rural relaxation at The Pig at Bridge Place – the latest in the Pig hotel group litter. Newly opened and just 3 miles outside Canterbury in the pretty Kent countryside it's super convenient for a quick getaway from London. If you don't want to drive, it's only 56 minutes by train from London St Pancras and then a short 15 minute taxi ride.
The 17th Century manor house and former rock club has been lovingly restored and oozes quirky charm. It's all beams, fireplaces and original features which have been incorporated into the refurbishment to create a wonderfully comfortable rural retreat. There are loads of nooks and crannies to curl up and read a book in or take your pick from the stack of board games. And the team of staff are some of the friendliest and most helpful we've come across.
Twenty nine rooms in total: seven unique, characterful rooms in the main house, twelve spacious rooms in the Coach House; two family-friendly lodges (which usefully have kitchenettes for those with young children); seven Kentish Hop Pickers's Huts on stilts alongside the river in the grounds and a two-storey hideaway in the old stables (The Barn).
We stayed in room No. 2 in the Main House. It's gorgeous and comprises of a wood-panelled sitting room with a fireplace, a large bedroom with magnificent windows, magnificently dark walls and gold cornicing (imagine a rock 'n roll vibe rather than bling), a massive oh-so-comfortable bed and a mezzanine level bathroom with a free standing bath. Touches such as the Roberts Radio and the latest Private Eye to read made it feel like someone's sumptuous grand home than a hotel.
We couldn't decide whether to have a pre-dinner drink outside in the Kitchen Garden where there's a delightful alfresco eating area or in the cosy bar (adorned with mismatched coloured glassware) nestled on one of the comfy velvet sofas. So we tested both!
If we hadn't had an inkling of what was to come we'd have tried one of the delicious-looking flat breads (cooked in the outside pizza oven) or some oysters from nearby Whistable. Instead we tested a local sparkling wine and gave it top marks. With our second drink inside we couldn't resist "the piggy bits" which include the most delicious Hock Eggs (made using eggs from their own quails, of course).
The Coach House is the home of the restaurant. Rows and rows of jars of pickled vegetables and stewed fruits line the walls with an open kitchen at the top end – it's a really welcoming room with a friendly relaxed feel. Here they serve the The Pig's signature 25-mile menu. This is as-fresh-as-you-get simple fodder and it's superb. What they can't grow themselves they source from local suppliers. A special shout from my 15-year-old son for the biggest, juciest most delicious Pork Tomahawk (loin chop) he's ever had.
Children are very welcome. Travel cots can be added to rooms and the lodge (see above) are particularly good for families. There's plenty of grounds to play in and explore. Babysitting is available if booked in advance. No need to pack the wellies there are plenty to borrow!
My only regret was not booking a relaxing treatment in one of the Potting Sheds. But that's okay because we've booked to go back in a couple of months and this time for longer. I might try them all!
The Pig at Bridge Place, 0345 2259494 www.thepighotel.com
Room-only doubles from £110 midweek or from £130 weekends