There’s nothing like a good country walk to get some fresh air and relax so my friend Rowen and I met up in Chilham to explore.
Chilham is situated just south west of Canterbury in Kent and is centered around a market square surrounded by timber framed houses of Tudor origin. There’s a 15th Century Church at one end and the magnificent Chilham Castle at the other.
There is plenty of free parking in the centre of the square which has a pub, gift shop and Shelly’s Tea Rooms. The Castle is only open on a Tuesday and that is just during the summer months and you can access the castle just along the road past the village hall. The church is quite stunning and it is said that Thomas Becket was buried in the church yard there.
Thomas Becket was the Archbishop of Canterbury from 1162 until his murder in 1170. He was said to have been murdered by four knights after he fell out with King Henry II. After his death he was canonised by Pope Alexander III and his remains were moved to Canterbury Cathedral. Many people came on pilgrimages to see his tomb and pay their respects.
Chilham is regarded as an agricultural village and is mostly made up of listed buildings. It lies above the River Stour and is surrounded by beautiful Kentish countryside.
It’s no wonder it has been used at the setting for many TV productions including A Canterbury Tale, The Amorous Adventures of Moli Flanders, Jane Austin’s Emma, Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot’s Christmas, Miss Marple and Top Gear.
Chilham Castle was originally built in 1616 by Sir Dudley Digges. It was built on the site of a medieval castle and has since been restored to it’s former glory. The castle was owned by the Viscounts Massereene and Ferrad until 1997 and is now owned by Stuart Wheeler who purchased it in 2013.
The gardens were designed by Thomas Heron and Lancelot ‘ capability” Brown.
We started out in the town square and walked down into the village past the Woolpack Inn and around the village to cross over to walk past the River Stour
We crossed over the railway tracks and over the bridge past the old Oast House and over the bridge by the willow tree
This led us to a beautiful little cottage by the riverside
We walked past the cottage and up the hill which took us into the countryside which was stunning,
We went past the farms and then walked around to the Lake, which is considered to be one of the most idyllic lakes in the UK
This took us back around to the main road and we walked back up into Chilham village and stopped off at the delightful Shelly’s Tearooms where we had a lovely cup of tea and a hot snack
The tea comes with a timer so that you can enjoy the perfect brew which I totally loved. The tearooms have pictures of Poirot on the walls as some scenes of the Agatha Christie classic were filmed inside the premises.
We then wondered around to have a look at the village hall. The hall was originally a 15th Century Tithe Barn. It has a small hall attached which was built on in the 1930’s. The barn would have been the castle estate barn built around 1461. The car port at the side of the barn was added to allow the lady of the castle to alight from her carriage when visiting the castle. It was rebuilt in 1919 by Sir Edmund Davis when he took over the property.
This is a beautiful, picturesque village with stunning countryside, rivers and lake. It’s well worth a visit. Take some good walking boots if it’s wet, as it can be very muddy through the countryside and some money to have something hot to drink and some lunch at Shelly’s Tearooms. If you would like to visit the castle too, remember it’s only open on a Tuesday in the summer months.