Visit Elham: Places to stay, things to do

Take a trip to the North Downs in Kent as Nick Peers discovers both beauty and tranquillity in the Elham Valley


Why go there?
The quaint village of Elham is steeped in history, with many historical connections to royalty, nobility and other famous faces through history. The village boasts a number of historic buildings and churches, as well as a market square that dates back to the reign of Edward I. It’s based – appropriately – in the heart of the beautiful Elham Valley, and the village is the perfect starting point for many walks. Get a flavour by downloading a free walk from here, and then take a trip to the village hall to purchase two additional guides covering eight more local walks. Elham is also a perfect launch pad for exploring the heart of Kent, being roughly halfway between both Canterbury and Folkestone. Local attractions include the Elham Valley Vineyard, Godinton House and Gardens, and the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway, a miniature railway that connects to the RSPB reserve at Dungeness.
Where to stay
Built in 1461 as an inn, the Abbot’s Fireside hotel and restaurant has five double rooms, all boasting original features like half timbering and oaken beams, plus some sloping floors. Each room has an en-suite bathroom, and if you have the spare cash, one of the rooms comes with a four-poster bed. Breakfast is included, and prices start from £75 for shared occupancy, or £45 for single occupancy.
Where to eat
The Rose and Crown rivals Abbot’s Fireside for history and character. Set in a 16th-century building once used as a courtroom, the food on offer should tempt most. Snacks and set lunches are available most lunchtimes, and a three-course Sunday roast costs £13. In the evening, the a la carte menu features a wide array of starters (around £5 each) and mains (£10-16). The pub also serves a wide range of real ales, including local beers from the county’s major brewery, Shepherd Neame.
Tell us a local secret
It’s claimed that the real-life hero who inspired the fictional Scarlet Pimpernel used to dine at the Rose and Crown in Elham while waiting for a fresh horse to take him to the coast and on to France. Meanwhile, the Duke of Wellington used the Abbott’s Fireside as his headquarters while planning for the Battle of Waterloo.



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