12 places to spend a mini-honeymoon in Kent
PUBLISHED: 12:22 13 June 2017 | UPDATED: 12:22 13 June 2017
Lighten the load of an expensive wedding by putting your main honeymoon off until you can afford it, and take a ‘mini-moon’ in Kent instead
In an ideal world we would all have the money and the time to take a once-in-a-lifetime holiday after our wedding, but it’s just not always practical. Whether it’s the added expense or that you just can’t take the time out, a fortnight trip to Bali or The Maldives isn’t going to be realistic for everyone.
It’s for this reason that many couples have ditched the traditional honeymoon - or at least postponed it until it’s more convenient - and are opting for the ‘mini-moon’.
A mini-break for newlyweds, it’s common for couples to choose a weekend in a hotel, guest house or holiday cottage that’s within easy driving distance of their wedding venue.
You may not have dreamt of spending your honeymoon in Kent but here are some top romantic getaways that prove a mini-moon in our own fair county can be just as special.
1. The Sands Hotel, Margate
With Margate now one of the top weekend destinations in the south east, it’s come a long way since the days of tatty bed and breakfasts. Luxurious, sophisticated and with a rooftop terrace with unrivalled sea views, the Sands Hotel is a real treat. Bought in 2011, originally with the intention of turning the derelict 1888 building into flats, this glamorous boutique hotel now has 20 bedrooms and a relaxing neutral colour scheme.
Its impressive Bay Restaurant offers contemporary food with full-length windows looking out over the sea, and there’s a cocktail bar where the ‘Sands Iced Sea’ is the cocktail of choice. If you’re really pushing the boat out, book a sea view room with a small terrace to enjoy the sunset together.
2. Rowhill Grange, Near Dartford
A spa break is a popular choice for newlywed couples wanting to unwind and pamper themselves after a stressful run-up to the big day. One of Kent’s finest retreats is Rowhill Grange, set in the countryside between Dartford and Swanley.
If really getting away from it all is your priority, then a night or two in one of their luxurious rooms or suites is exactly what the doctor ordered. Indulge your senses in the Roman-inspired spa, which has recently been upgraded and offers two floors of pools, a bubble tub, sauna and steam rooms, as well as 21 treatments rooms. Book a massage for two in one of the dual treatment rooms for the ultimate mini-moon treat.
3. Albion House, Ramsgate
Ramsgate’s Albion House is set on a clifftop and has a long and rich history. Built in 1791, one of many famous names to have been guests here was a certain Princess - shortly before she was crowned Queen Victoria - and much of the building’s original features have recently been restored.
Many of the elegant bedrooms have sea views and you can even stay in the very room Victoria stayed in, with its Regency balcony and harbour views. But the top choice for newlyweds has to be the Drawing Room Suite. Arranged over 30 square metres and with its own fireplace and wrap-around balcony, this special room offers superb sunset views and a private dinner can even be arranged in its living space.
4. The Falstaff, Canterbury
An established name in Kent’s most popular tourist city, The Falstaff was bought a few years ago by the couple behind the excellent The George in Rye hotel and is gradually being modernised. A traditional 15th-century coaching inn, The Falstaff is steeped in history and is set just outside the ancient city walls. It offers 46 bedrooms - of which the superior four-posters are the mini-moon pick of the bunch - as well as a charming beamed lounge for guests to relax in and a bar for drinks before heading out to try some of the city’s great restaurants. Best of all, it’s good value for money and it has private parking.
5. The Royal Hotel, Deal
Set almost within touching distance of the sea and with stunning views to the rear, The Royal Hotel is a firm favourite with a relaxed atmosphere and a popular bar and restaurant. Deal is the perfect, chilled out place for a mini break and after a day strolling hand in hand along the beach, the charming blend of Georgian features and 21st-century comforts makes The Royal a tempting choice.
To pull out all the stops, pick one of the feature rooms overlooking the beach. The Lady Hamilton Room, named after past guests Lord Nelson and Lady Hamilton, features a luxurious bathroom, while the Nelson Room and Wellington Room have roll-top baths within the bedroom. Each has spectacular sea views from its balcony.
6. The Duke William, Ickham
If your idea of getting some quiet time away together includes pub lunches and country walks, then The Duke William could be right up your street.
A quintessential Kentish pub set in the tiny village of Ickham, between Littlebourne and Wingham, it was bought in 2015 by Mark Sargeant – owner of the award-winning Rocksalt in Folkestone and former right-hand man to Gordon Ramsay.
Retaining much of its original character and warmed by a cosy log fire in the winter months, The Duke William is a pub with four stylish rooms over the bar. Each named after a famous chef, the rooms aren’t huge but they are very trendy, featuring dark grey walls, retro DAB radios, king-size beds and a few quirky surprises.
7. The Fog Signal Building, Dungeness
If the idea of having to share your precious time with other hotel guests doesn’t appeal, then treat yourself to a couple of nights in self-catering accommodation. For the ultimate unique getaway, there’s the Fog Signal Building on the shingle bank at Dungeness.
The former foghorn testing station, complete with steel tower, has been transformed into an unforgettable holiday home with an industrial design, limestone floor with underfloor heating, indulgent bathroom and contemporary furniture.
Sleeping two and with dramatic views from every angle, the building opens directly onto the pebbles of a stark and fascinating landscape.
8. The Hive, Langton Green
Set in the grounds of a charming private house, in a country lane not far from Tunbridge Wells, The Hive is so named because it belongs to a third generation beekeeper.
A couples’ retreat, eco-friendly and with shared use of an indoor pool, it is beautifully designed with an open-plan living space making the most of its huge sliding glass doors to the garden. Contemporary furnishings, a log burner, stylish kitchen, exposed beams and retro lighting are the stars of the show and little touches like the well-stocked honesty bar make it really special.
Visit www.mulberrycottages.com or email the owner at email@example.com
9. The Saltbox, The Isle of Sheppey
Getting away from it all and focusing on your new spouse couldn’t be easier when it comes to The Saltbox at Elmley National Nature Reserve on the Isle of Sheppey. With a setting like no other, this luxurious little hut looks out over the wild marshland with a fully glazed end wall so you can stargaze from bed. There’s a kitchenette with lounge/dining area, a soft king-size bed and a full bathroom.
But if you’re enjoying some good weather, there’s also an outside shower for a unique and exhilarating experience.
10. The Treehouse Hideaway, Blean
A treehouse for grown-ups has to be one of the most unusual places to spend a mini-moon. At this one-of-a-kind treehouse in Blean, crafted almost entirely from driftwood found on nearby beaches, the emphasis is on relaxation.
Built six metres off the ground, with separate rooms, underfloor heating and a private hot tub, it is a seriously romantic place to take a short break. There’s even a pub just down the road and Whitstable’s superb beach is only a short drive away.
11. Blackthorn Barn, Goudhurst
Escape to the country with this unusual barn conversion set in the grounds of the owners’ home. Nestled beside a large pond, this little gem has stunning views from every window and makes a real feature of bringing the outdoors in.
An iron spiral staircase links the two floors and French doors lead out to a spacious decked balcony - the perfect place for a glass of wine as the sun goes down. There’s even a rowing boat provided for guests to use on the pond.
12. The Nut Plat, Near Tonbridge
If getting back to nature is the kind of romantic break you’re after then not much could top staying in your own restored wagon in the woods. The Nut Plat has a choice of two, sited in separate wooded spots near the hamlet of Roughway.
Here privacy and the natural setting is everything, with a small river and great woodland walks on your doorstep. The two vintage wagons, Bomford (pictured) and Ransoms, have been beautifully restored and although rustic, offer comfy beds and separate kitchen and bathroom facilities.
The best bit is the outside camp area where you can cook your dinner over a fire and cosy up under blankets with a glass of wine.