If you didn’t already know, I’m a huge Jane Austen fan…right down to having a Jane Austen bucket list…ask me about the Bronte sisters and I don’t have a clue! I was watching the BBC production of Emma a few while ago when I was having a bad day (I like to destress via an Austen drama) and realised that they hadn’t used the village of Lacock in Wiltshire so I put on my PI Google hat and went a googling…and found Chilham in Kent.
We were heading down to Kent to visit a sick relative so we made a little detour to visit to Chilham and it was everything I had hoped it to be. As we were driving to Chilham, I told G that there weren’t many photos of Chilham on instagram and it wasn’t insta-famous which I was rather pleased about (I like visiting little hidden gems that aren’t too touristy)…G then took the mickey out of me for the next five minutes over these comments (deservedly so!).
As soon as we pulled into the tiny village, the door was open and I was out of the car before G had even come to a complete stop…I completely forgot about G until 45 minutes later…he was apparently happy as it meant he wasn’t dragged past a million doors.
The village is only tiny so it doesn’t take very long to wander around however it’s very pretty so you could take a while if you love photography.
Chilham has a grand old history including a visit from Jane Austen as she had dinner at Chilham Castle which you can see from the middle of the square – unfortunately you can’t visit the castle (or possibly fortunately for G as he was hobbling around on crutches!)…it’s a truly wonderful thought that this tiny village that Jane Austen had visited for dinner was then used by the BBC in their production of Emma centuries later.
Of course there was a church to visit where it was thought Thomas Beckett was buried…
…I was more taken with the snowdrops that have finally started to appear…happy dance as it means spring is just around the chilly corner…
…and the tree in the churchyard which is older than the church itself (the church dates back to the 15th century); it was badly damaged in the famous storm of 1987 which the weather man said there would be no storm…the weather man was VERY wrong. (G’s family talk about this storm quite a lot…the English like to yarn about the weather!)
There is a cute little shop in the market square selling all the gifts a girl could want…
…I closed my eyes, took a photo of the pretty blankets and moved on…I do love a good ol’ blanket and I have picked up a few on my travels in the past (Our Norwegian blanket that G told me we would never use, is always in use mainly by G!).
After almost giving myself RSI from taking way too many photos…I herded G into the cute little tea rooms that I saw while I was wandering around…
…and yes they did gluten free…
…we sat across from a cute little mother and son, the mother was in her 80’s and was dozing over her cup of tea…she was awfully cute and her son really took care of her making sure she didn’t trip over her extra long scarf on the way out etc; it reminded me of my mummy with birdie nana…you can see them heading back to the car through the window here holding hands…now you see them…
…now you don’t!
I’m pretty sure aliens have taken over G’s body recently as once again he ordered a bloody tuna salad while I took one for team gluten free and ordered the victoria sponge and a scone…
…both were amazing and I would say the scones are almost on par with Claridge’s and don’t get me started about how great that gluten free victoria sponge was…buttery perfection to a whole new level.
After all that deliciousness, it was time to head back to Rochester where we were staying for the night…complete with a victoria sponge doggy bag!
I absolutely adored Chilham and would highly recommend a visit if you’re into wobbly buildings, fabulous gluten free cake or just love snooping around a tiny little village.
Travel Tips for Chilham, Kent
- All roads lead to the market square however there is a limited amount of parking but there is free parking at the bottom and it’s an easy stroll up one of the many roads to the centre.
- Highly recommend Shelly’s Tea Rooms in Chilham if you’re after gluten free cakes and scones…G said it was the best tuna salad he’s had for a while and I think we would happily drive almost three hours just to visit these tea rooms again.
- There are two little pubs in the village and one of them offers accommodation
- Chilham is rather close to Canterbury so if you have a car then it would be worth a little detour to visit this little village
- Some interesting facts I learnt about Chilham while eating cake – Jane Austen stayed nearby at Godmersham Park and dined at Chilham Castle; Chilham has the perfect example of a Tudor Village Square and is often used in tv series and movies due to this and a member of the Digges Family that went on to become the first Governor General of Virginia took a Mulberry cutting from Chilham and planted them on Mulberry Island hence it’s name.