Located on the edge of the historic market town of Tonbridge, the 15th-century Vauxhall Inn combines charming original features with contemporary décor. It is an idyllic place to enjoy a meal or drink, whether by an open fire or basking in the sunny garden.
Just one mile outside of Tonbridge on the main A21, and just 20 minutes’ drive from Royal Tunbridge Wells, the Vauxhall Inn enjoys a truly covetable location. Tonbridge is Kent at its very best, with the River Medway meandering through the old market town and the Norman castle looming over the ancient landscape and picturesque houses.
While the pub had a makeover in 2010, many of the original features remain, including the dark wood beams where you can still see the Roman numeral markings used to indicate the order in which they should be erected. Open fires roar throughout winter and in summer, a beer garden tempts guests to dine al fresco.Read more...
With its olde-worlde appearance and cosy interior, the Vauxhall Inn makes for a unique place to stop for a classic English meal or glass of real ale. The pub, a place where locals meet to catch up and out-of-towners discover during their forays to Tonbridge, has a wonderfully relaxed vibe. Sunday lunches are a British institution, and the pub serves up slow-cooked roasts perfect for a big family get-together. A leafy beer garden makes for the ideal spot in which to enjoy hazy summer afternoons, while the spacious interior charms with quirky mismatched chairs, high beamed ceilings and big stone fireplaces.
Tonbridge might be small but it is abuzz with things to do and see. The town stands on a spur of higher land where the marshy flood plains of the River Medway could more easily be forded. History abounds here. During World War II, it was home to a prisoner of war camp, which is today the Weald of Kent Girls’ Grammar School, located just a few steps from the pub. Tonbridge is a major hub in Kent and its busy little train station welcomes over four million passengers a year en route to London, Ashford, Hastings and Redhill.
A transport hub it might be, but it’s also a delightful destination in its own right, with its moated, Grade I-listed castle being one of the main draws. It was built by Richard Fitz Gilbert following the Norman Conquest and is the county’s best example of a motte-and-bailey gatehouse. Some 50,000 tonnes of earth were moved to create the moat!
Today, the grounds are a public park and visitors can learn more about the history with an audio tour. To work up an appetite before visiting the Vauxhall Inn, pedal along the cycle trail that leads from the castle through woodland and countryside to nearby Penshurst Palace, a fortified manor house steeped in medieval and Tudor appeal.
The rolling fields around Tonbridge and the Vauxhall Inn have a long and proud hop-growing heritage, and today many of the pub’s guests head to the Hop Farm to experience some of the delights of the countryside. The hop-picking history is brought to life at the museum. The farm is also home to a rather eclectic collection of animals including llamas and reindeer, making it a true fun for all the family day out.
Just six miles from Tonbridge is the moated manor house of Ightham Mote, a 14th-century National Trust building. Sitting in the heart of a sprawling 546 acre estate, the half-timber, beamed manor house is like something from a television period drama. Ambling through the wood-panelled rooms and immaculate gardens, it is easy to feel like one of the houses’ illustrious past owners; medieval knights, courtiers to Henry VIII and high society Victorians have all called it home.Show less...