There are many things that you could say to describe Badgers Hill Farm. A den of delights; full of fancy; a treasure trove peppered with pleasure or simply as they put it themselves...
As an independent business, Badgers Hill Farm is quite simply incomparable and has served more than twenty years in its quiet rural location of Chilham, Kent, just over five miles short of the charming city centre of Canterbury.
Chilham itself is a medieval village with a Tudor square surrounded by 15th century timber-framed houses. Known as the 'Garden of England' Chilham is one part of Kent that really lives up to its title and sits nestled among acres and acres of orchards. Just the walk from the station to the farm will endow you with blackberries, plums and apples spilling from the hedgerows (time of year depending).
Location aside, Badgers Hill Farm is a place to which I am always sending people. Regardless of age or gender, it would seem that there is a little something for everyone. For children, the farm animals, which include a family of wallobies and pesky runaway cockerels, will keep them in awe.
The on-site cider press or local bottled ales will keep the gents amused, while the rest of us can get busy marvelling at the generous array of treats.
Failing my generalisations, there is one thing that we can all agree upon and that is the matter of lunch. Hand on my heart, Badgers Hill Farm is without a doubt, the greatest purveyor of the almighty ploughman's lunch and cake cravings. You ain't seen nuffin' like it.
Just look at this selection! I can tell you, there's coffee and walnut, chocolate, millionaire's slice, victoria sponge, bakewell tarts, rocky road and spiced apple- that's just to name a few. Take a closer look:
As for the ploughman's, well, rather generously they offer cheddar, stilton and brie alongside a warm loaf of bread, a salad bursting with pickled onions, sticks of celery, apple, beetroot and pickled cabbage. If you thought that wasn't enough, you'll also get a tray packed with chutneys and pickles galore to bring out the best in your cheese. I can't begin to desribe how flamin' big the thing is and so it's a good idea to share. All hands on deck!
Chutneys and pickles are all available to buy, piled high upon the oak bookshelves.
Failing a large appetite, you can also choose from a good old cream tea, to crumpets to tea cakes. My friends and I like to go on a Sunday afternoon and sit in the greenhouse with steaming mugs, a cheddar and onion toastie, rounds of toast and catch up on the week gone by.
Just sometimes, I like to pop in by myself to pick up some eggs laid by the resident hens and have a secret cream tea:
If you're in the market for lovely things, the gardens promise a plethora of treats to choose from. You could say that Badgers Hill Farm is somewhat of a nursery rhyme or story that has sprung to life. It reminds me of Pickity Place- the inspiration for Elizabeth Orton Jones' 1948 illustrations for Little Red Riding Hood.
Currently, the farm is only open at the weekends but is still a must-see. The glasshouse is snug and cosy and a mug of tea is sure to warm your cockles. In the spring, the hours extend to 6-days a week (closed Mondays) meaning plenty of time to wander through the acres of grounds, feed the chickens and goats and also to have a chat with the delightfully chaotic proprietors Claire and Bruce and their handy pal Perry.
If you love Kent, you're sure to love Badgers Hill Farm.