Say Hi to Hawkhurst…
Ad – this is a collaborative post but as always, all thoughts are my own.
Restrictions are easing and some of our favourite local businesses are re-opening across Tunbridge Wells Borough. As part of Tunbridge Well Borough Council’s ‘Say Hi to your High Street’ campaign to encourage us to get out and support our local independents, I am looking forward to highlighting four destinations and my top 10 reasons to visit each of them.
I’m starting with Hawkhurst, a bustling village with its beautiful colonnade and selection of independent businesses as well as an open-air market on the first Saturday of each month. Did you know it has its very own boutique ‘Kino’ cinema?
I hope my 10 reasons to visit this terrific place will encourage you to go and discover exactly what Hawkhurst has to offer, while giving well-deserved support to these local businesses in our community!
So here they are – my top 10 reasons to visit Hawkhurst:
Ooh How Lovely
What a great name for a shop! Ooh How Lovely is the colourful shop that can be spotted from the crossroads in Hawkhurst. Owned by the lovely Lisa, this gem is an aladdin’s cave of gifts, cards and interior projects.
Ooh How Lovely specialises in hand finished curtains and roman blinds as well as lampshades, upholstery and some beautiful individual fabrics. Ooh and also the much-coveted Charlotte Gaisford wallpaper.
My toddler loved having a browse around the shop with me too and I bought her a gorgeous handmade wand which she adores. Lisa is so warm and welcoming and I’m sure you will love her shop as much as we did. This was our first visit but it won’t be our last!
Kino Hawkhurst & Cafe
Set to re-open from 19th May, Kino Hawkhurst is a cinema and cafe located in Victoria Hall. This boutique entertainment venue is the first purely digital cinema in the UK. Since it opened in 2006, it has fast become a much-loved establishment, attracting visitors who prefer the boutique experience that you won’t get at a multiplex cinema.
Kino’s cinema programme includes the latest blockbusters, kids’ movies, foreign-language films, documentaries and live events broadcast via satellite. I’m told the cafe serves delicious local food and drinks too. I love the idea of this boutique entertainment venue and am looking forward to taking the kids to see a film there.
Taking place on the first Saturday of the month from 9am to 12 noon, Hawkhurst Market is a thriving event selling local produce from local people in the The Royal Oak carpark.
Local sellers often include fresh fish from The Angry Whelk, vegan and vegetarian dishes and bakes from Pumpkin’s Pantry as well as handmade gifts from A Crafty House. Plus plenty more! Why not enjoy some lunch in one of the local pubs afterwards and burn it off with a stroll around the shops too?
IN Design Kitchens
IN Design Kitchens is owned and run by husband and wife team, Iren and Nick. Relatively new to Hawkhurst, IN Design Kitchens on the Colonnade is the perfect place to visit for ideas and advice for your own kitchen as well as bathrooms and bedrooms too.
With an abundance of product knowledge and design, Iren and Nick promise to provide personal care, service and trust. I know first-hand that designing a kitchen and all of the choices that come with it can be a mind-boggling process, so having someone to advise on the best use of space and bring the project to life invaluable.
The Eight Bells & The Moor
The Eight Bells is a cosy and traditional pub around a 15 minute walk from Hawkhurst village centre, in a quaint and historical area called The Moor. The garden at The Eight Bells is fantastic with plenty of seating, a sandpit with toys for the kiddies to play in and lovely views of the area.
The Eight Bells is known for being very family friendly so it is the perfect place to take the kids on a family day out exploring.
Pop into the little playground just a few minute’s walk from the pub too – this was something my daughter really enjoyed and have a stroll around The Moor area which is a really special place.
Slap ‘n Dash
Slap ‘n Dash is a ‘paint your own ceramics studio’ based on Hawkhurst Fish Farm, a few minute’s drive from the centre of the village. This is a wonderful place to relax and spend some quality time together as a family.
There’s a small gift shop too as well as takeaway ceramics kits, hand painted pottery commissions and a keepsake service at Slap ‘n Dash which reopens in May. I took my son along to Slap ‘n Dash for a clay imprint of his hand and foot over 5 years ago and remember it so fondly. It felt very welcoming and Sam is so passionate about her business – I can see why people travel from far and wide to get crafty. Don’t forget to check out the Fish Farm’s charming Waterside Cafe with its outside decking area overlooking the lake too.
Lindsay Barrow Designer Florist
Park Farm Butchers
Park Farm Butchers is a traditional family run village butchers, providing their own and locally generated genuine free range, grass fed, quality stock.
Look out for the large blackboard informing customers about where the meat on display comes from; the herd/flock and the address of the farm. As well as plenty of meat, Park Farm Butchers stock a great range of game, pies, pates, dairy, cheese, eggs, chutneys, fruit juices and delicatessen produce with complete traceability.
If, like me, you are completely clueless about the different cuts of meat, just ask one of the friendly butchers for advice and they’ll be happy to help. Isn’t there something really reassuring about knowing exactly where the meat has come from too?
Cordelia James Boutique
A family owned and award winning womenswear boutique in the charming Colonnades, Cordelia James Boutique boasts an eclectic collection of clothing, accessories and homeware. The Hawkhurst branch is their flagship store and the other stores are in Rye and Lewes.
The rails and shelves are adorned with gorgeous clothing selected from brands including Rails, D.A.T.E. Sneakers, Bellerose and many more. I have my eye on some of their fantastic flowey dresses and their cashmere sweaters. The boutique is not only popular with locals but customers tend to travel their from much further afield. Some say it is one of Hawkhurst’s best kept secrets. Shhhhh!
Two Chicks Gift Shop
Two Chicks Gift Shop is an absolute must especially if you are visiting Hawkhurst with kids. As well has having an impressive range of cards, the shop stocks helium balloons for all occasions and some wonderful toys, they are an official Jellycat supplier.
Are you a fan of home decor? Two Chicks are also the official Stockist of Frenchic® Furniture Paint.
So there you have it! I hope you are inspired to visit Hawkhurst soon. I would love to know how you get on? Please do let me know in the comments below.
Also look out for more ‘Say Hi to your High Street’ features coming soon – with spotlights on Paddock Wood, Cranbrook and Southborough. Plus we’ll be sharing some information soon about some very exciting treasure hunts. Watch this space!