Say Hi to Paddock Wood…
Ad – this is a collaborative post but as always, all thoughts are my own.
Paddock Wood is the second instalment in the ‘Say Hi to your High Street’ campaign run by Tunbridge Wells Borough Council. This friendly town is so convenient to visit, with free parking and plenty of independent shops with traders who are enthusiastic about sharing knowledge and expertise when needed.
Did you know Paddock Wood has its own department store which dates back to 1891? The town is well connected with its central train station and it feels like a high street which pretty much has everything you need in terms of practicality along with some lovely stores for gifts and non-essentials too.
In a bid to encourage us all to support our local hight streets, I am excited to share my top 10 reasons to visit Paddock Wood over the coming weeks and months.
Barsleys Department Store
I have heard of Barsleys several times as a recommended place for getting children’s shoes so was intrigued to see what it is like. This family run department store goes back to 1891 when Charles Barsley took over the running of a tailoring establishment in Brenchley. The Paddock Wood store opened in 1926 and is a much loved go-to establishment for Paddock Wood locals and customers from surrounding towns. The toy department has a decent range of reasonably priced items including Lego, Playmobil and Orchard Toys, to name just a few and the furniture department is fairly extensive.
We spoke to Dee in footwear who was really helpful and we had a covid-safe foot measurement with her for my toddler. Appointments can be booked as it can get a little busier on the weekends and this can be a great place for getting your kids suited and booted for school.
Upstairs you’ll find women’s clothing including brands such as Joules, Seasalt and Superdry as well as a children’s clothing section and a coffee shop which will be opening from 17th May. This traditional store is lovely with a very friendly feel to it. It would be great to know what you think of it too?
The Hop Farm
We hadn’t been to The Hop Farm for quite some time so I was interested to see what changes had been made. Entry is £3 per person and tokens can be purchased for £1 each on entry or while you are on the grounds of The Hop Farm too. Parking, the playground, crazy golf and Hopper’s Animal Farm is included in your ticket. When it is permitted, the indoor softplay, The Hop Farm Museum and Yesterday’s World will be included again too, as well as live shows.
My two younger children had a lot of fun on the outdoor trampoline / ball pit contraption which is run by a lovely lady and several of the fairground rides. There is also Hoppers Driving School as well as a ‘hook a duck’ challenge and to get involved in as well as giant jumping pillows. Ooh and the bungee swing too!
All three of my kids (age 2, 6 and 9) liked the playground and my husband and I actually got to sit down on the benches and have a conversation while they played. A rare occasion! At the moment, I think The Hop Farm is probably more suited for younger children (like my 2 and 6 year old) and as more of the attractions re-open there may well be more things for my 9 year old too. For a £15 entry fee for a family of five, I think this was pretty good. We spent £12 in tokens and had a complete change of scene. There weren’t any queues either which is always a bonus! Look out for events at The Hop Farm too.
The Kings of Fine Food
What an absolute find! The Kings of Fine Food is a family run delicatessen which opened in Paddock Wood in November and is quickly becoming renowned for its tantalising range of cheese, meats, deli delights, treats and more!
I was delighted to see lots of local brands on their shelves including Goupie, Temper Temper, Weald Smokery, Hush Heath and Cider Nightingale Co. The pastries and lunches are made fresh daily on site in their shop kitchen and they have a great lunch deal.
Claire and her husband have done a wonderful job at setting up their independent shop and I can’t wait to visit again. Did I mention the lemon meringue pies too?
The Darling Buds Floral Design
The Darling Buds Floral Design in Paddock Wood is a fantastic florists with a super selection of gifts and homeware too. Run by Clare who clearly has a passion for what she does, The Darling Buds offers a range of designs bespoke to their customers, whether its bouquets, sympathy tributes or event flowers.
The shop is filled with beautiful blooms and if you are a flower novice like me, Becky is full of advice on different combinations and designs depending on what you are looking for. The shop itself is beautiful presented and there’s a gorgeous section dedicated to consultations for brides-to-be. Seeing all of these charming creations makes me almost want to get married again!!
The John Brunt VC
The John Brunt VC in Paddock Wood has had a complete makeover with an extensive refurbishment that has transformed it into a much-needed family friendly pub with a wonderful garden.
Alan and his team are very welcoming and the dog friendly garden is a little haven of happiness with lots of seating options including picnic benches in the grassy area, an open-ended marquee, high stool and tables and courtyard tables.
They are gearing up to welcoming visitors inside later in the month too. The children’s menu caters for even the fussiest of eaters and I have to say the loos are absolutely spotless. The John Brunt VC has had great support from the Paddock Wood community so far and word is spreading about it too. See it for yourself and let me know what you think?
Paddock Wood Cards, Gifts and Balloons
Oh my goodness this shop is a treasure trove of cards, balloons and gifts for absolutely any occasion. Nicky and her team at Paddock Wood Cards, Gifts and Balloons are on hand to help with anything you need, and you can have a look at some of their spectacular balloon creations while in the shop for inspiration too.
We have a big birthday coming up in the family soon and I will definitely be returning to choose some balloon bouquets as I always feel like they really make that extra special difference to a party.
Nicky also stocks some wonderful wax melts, candles and bath bombs from independent suppliers as well as chocolates, picture frames and books which would make lovely gifts or a treat for yourself perhaps? After the year we have all had, I think we deserve it!
Homecraft DIY is a one-stop shop stocking everything you need in terms of tools, decorating products and homeware. This family business has been around since 1983 (in and around when I was born) and there isn’t a question they can’t answer when it comes to DIY.
The team have helped generations of Paddock Wood families and is one of the reasons why Paddock Wood is described as the town which has all the essentials.
Foal Hurst Wood
Woodland walks have been so important to us over the last year especially, so it is always nice to explore places that we haven’t been to before. Foal Hurst Wood is a small nature reserve made up of ancient woodland and meadow around a 15 minute walk from Paddock Wood town centre.
Spot all of the beautiful bluebells there this spring and look out for dog rose and honeysuckle in the summer. Plus your kids might like to do some den building too?
You’ll find the entrance to the reserve around 300m from the junction of Maidstone Road on the left hand side, adjacent to the allotments. Why not do the walk and then finish up with a pub lunch at The John Brunt VC?
Paddock Wood Garden Centre
Everyone loves a garden centre. Am I right? Paddock Wood Garden Centre has a well stocked selection of plants and gardening accessories as well as a gift shop, pet shop and cafe.
If you are looking for advice for your own garden, the team are always happy to help. Coffee Haven is now serving in its outside areas which includes breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea as well as coffee and cake and of course other tasty treats.
Paddock Wood Antiques
Paddock Wood Antiques is an absolute treasure trove with a tempting shop window full of glistening jewels. They buy, sell or part exchange jewellery and specialise in gold and silver watches as well as collectables. They also provide a jewellery repair service which comes highly recommended!
I hope you found this blog post useful? We have loved visiting this friendly town which has everything you need in one convenient shopping location.
If you are looking for other places to discover in our borough, why not check out my top 10 places to visit in Hawkhurst too. And if you have any more recommendations for Paddock Wood, please do let me know in the comments below?