We recently spent nine nights in September 2018 staying at The Nutshell in Pluckley, near Ashford in Kent. We came across the cottage through the Kent and Sussex Cottages website. We’ve never booked through this site before but it seemed to rank well for cottages in Kent which was the area we were after. We originally booked the cottage as we loved the look of the decor, especially the large copper bath!
The cottage is located around 7 miles West of Ashford in Kent and a couple of miles North of the High Weald AONB giving us plenty of places to visit. Travelling from North East London it took us just over 90 minutes to get there and is easily located from the M20.
The cottage is conveniently located for many National Trust properties, including Sissinghurst Castle Garden, Bodiam Castle and Bateman’s all of which are located within 45 minutes drive. We also visited the beautiful seaside town of Rye (about 40 minutes drive), Leeds Castle (20 minutes drive) as well as Battle Abbey (45 minutes drive), the location for the Battle of Hastings in 1066.
For those people looking for something a little less hectic, we also visited Ashford Designer Outlet (around 15 minutes drive) as well as having a lovely lunch at The Compasses Inn (about 30 minutes drive). The nearest large supermarket was located in Ashford, where you have the choice of M&S Food, Waitrose, Sainsbury’s or Asda. We also found a Waitrose and Tesco in the town of Tenderden, about 20 minutes drive South if you’re in that direction. There is a very small farm shop around two minutes drive away, that has pies and meat as well as a good selection of local vegetables and cheeses. It is pretty small, but did seem to have a good selection.
The cottage is located within the grounds of the owners house. The owner has a photography studio next door (the photography of the cottage shows off his skills well), as well as the owners house, all of which are located in large gardens. The house is actually for sale at the moment which you can see on Rightmove. The cottage is very private and you really only see the owners when they are parking their cars (or if you’re very lucky their two lovely dogs will come to greet you!).
According to the owners and the guest book, the cottage was converted in 2016. From the outside it looks rather like a pretty cricket pavilion with wooden boarded exterior painted a lovely blue colour. There is amble parking opposite on a gravel parking area.
Behind the cottage are ample gardens, which have obviously been loved and consist of raised beds and plenty of vegetables and fruit trees. There is a small table in the courtyard outside the property where you can enjoy the sun if you’re lucky. This part of the garden is very private and not overlooked by the owners house so you’re not disturbed.
The end of the cottage has a loggia area which includes a small utility area, complete with sink and washing machine, as well as storage for logs and bins. This is a lovely area, especially if its raining outside!
If we were being really critical it is possible to notice road noise from the road which is around 10 metres from the front door. This is very critical as its a very rural, country road and barely has anything drive by — but it was enough to remind you that you weren’t totally cut-off.
The main living area of the cottage contains everything you need for your stay. Broadly its separated into three areas, a kitchen, a dining area and a sofa area facing a TV and large wood-burner.
The kitchen area contains oven, microwave, dishwasher, fridge with small freezer cabinet along with kettle and toaster. The design is very unique, not using formal kitchen units but built from scratch. There is a large dresser that has all of the cooking utensils and crockery you’ll need. There was nothing we wished for that wasn’t provided and we cooked in the cottage on a number of occasions. The utensils are all good quality with most things coming from John Lewis.
The small dining area has a table with three chairs which looks out through french doors onto the garden. This provides a lovely relaxing view watching the local wildlife of birds and rabbits.
The living area has a large leather sofa facing the wood-burner (we did not use this due to the great weather). There is a 40" Panasonic TV which has helpfully been supplied with a Roku stick that has access to Netflix, BBC iPlayer, All 4 etc for all your on-demand needs. The cottage has Wifi access which was generally pretty good, although due to the rural nature of the property we did have a couple of occasions where streaming was challenging.
One of the best things about the property is that it really feels lived in due to the amount of carefully thoughts out ornaments. This stops it feeling sterile and gives it a real country cottage feel.
We were greeted on arrival by a lovely hamper as well as milk and water in the fridge, which was a lovely way to start our holiday.
The bedroom is located at the opposite end of the main living area to the front door, access through a lovely bespoke wooden door, complete with latch. The bedroom contains a large kingsize bed (with lovely bedding and mattress topper for extra comfort), a wardrobe (complete with a large amount of coat-hangers, something that most places forget!), and a small dressing table and lounge chair.
Overall we found the bed to be really comfy and the duvet and bedding good quality. There is a window above the bed that does not have a curtain but this only helped to give us a gentle wake-up call in the morning.
The bathroom in The Nutshell is really what sold us on the property before booking. Done in a really traditional design it contains an amazing Catchpole & Rye copper bath as well as a separate, large rainfall shower. All of the fixtures and fittings are of a really high standard and the bath was amazing to relax in at the end of a long day sightseeing!
We had an amazing time over the nine nights at The Nutshell and really didn’t want to leave. The property is really well converted and has everything you would need for a stay of any length. We really didn’t have any feedback to improve the property and hope that when the property is sold the new owners continue to rent it out so we can visit again in the future.