COMBINE THE joys of a countryside canter with a relaxing break at one of Kent & Sussex Holiday Cottages’ stunning properties, many of which are within easy reach of the county’s many riding stables and equestrian centres
Whether you are a seasoned rider, or introducing children to horses for the first time, there are plenty of properties to choose from along the sandy East Kent coast or deep in the rolling countryside of the Weald.
Located close to the charming and unspoilt village of St Margaret’s at Cliffe, between Deal and Dover, is Kingsdown, an exclusive purpose-built holiday park set within 36 acres. Four of the properties, Scandinavian-inspired chalets (Tranquility, Sea Spray Lodge, David’s Beach House and Pebbles) are well equipped and tastefully decorated, with all the creature comforts of home.
The stylish two-floor wooden chalets each have three bedrooms and sleep either five or six people. The holiday park caters for everyone, with an indoor swimming pool, tennis courts, adventure play area, indoor games area, restaurant, bar and laundry room. The long-established Owl House Stables is just three miles from the park and offers private and group lessons.
Surrounded by bridlepaths, open fields and woodland that can be enjoyed at a leisurely pace, or for those that prefer something a little faster, Owl House provides ample opportunities for a canter or gallop. Close to the White Cliffs of Dover and only two miles from the old fishing towns of Deal and Walmer with their castles, shops and restaurants, Kingsdown has all the ingredients for a peaceful and relaxing family holiday.
If it is cosy character you are after, Fairways, a two-bedroom former coastguards cottage, is tucked away down a little lane, just a stone’s throw from the beach at Birchington-on-Sea. Nearby family-run Nelson Park Riding Centre prides itself on welcoming riders as young as two – and as old as 84! Fairways boasts comfortable accommodation, tastefully decorated, and with buckets of charm and character. The beautifully maintained garden is a sun-trap – the perfect spot for an al fresco breakfast or a relaxing evening drink after a day horse-riding, playing golf, relaxing at the nearby Minnis Bay family beach or exploring the chalk cliffs, cliff stacks and caves.
Heading inland to the rural heart of Kent and only two miles from Hop Dog Stables in Ruckinge (which offers bilingual lessons in both French and English) is the beautiful, sympathetically restored, Lanary Oast House. With all mod cons and yet blissfully rural (1.5 miles from Bilsington) the house retains many original features, including exposed oak beams, oak flooring, woodburning stove, original stonework, and, of course, the Oast’s roundel – now housing the dining room downstairs and third bedroom upstairs.
With three bedrooms (one en suite) and two bathrooms, the house has been tastefully decorated, furnished and equipped, and is ideal for groups of up to eight. A large pond in the lawned garden can be admired from the upper floor decked verandah, and the outdoor furniture, barbecue and children’s climbing frame make it the perfect base for a summer getaway.
For the ultimate romantic hideaway, look no further than The Lodge at Warehorne. Tucked away down a winding lane and nestled in the landscaped grounds of the owners’ medieval farmhouse, this former stables enjoys unrivalled views over the meadows towards Orlestone Forest, a haven for nightingales. Just 3.7 miles from Hop Dog Stables, where private hacks can be organised along the quiet lanes close by, this delightful cottage offers couples a peaceful escape from everyday life.
The open-plan layout has been thoughtfully designed and has retained many original features including beams, oak flooring and a woodburning stove, while the king-size Victorian bedstead, sofa and armchair, TV/DVD, power shower and heated towel rail make it a comfortable, romantic getaway. Evening meals are available using local organic ingredients, and visitors will receive a friendly welcome from the owners’ working dogs.