Brabourne country inn, Kent Downs
Our remote hillside location used to ensure that Brabourne village locals were joined only by pilgrims and travellers, who stumbled across our beautiful 16th century country Inn seeking warmth, food and drink and a bed for the night, as they made their way between London, Canterbury, Dover and France following the Pilgrims Way along the foot of the Downs.
Today’s technology helps us welcome the contemporary Pilgrim seeking solace from the stresses of modern day life, peace and tranquillity. All our meals and our wonderful Brabourne breakfasts feature fresh local food, all cooked to order, as well as opportunities to enjoy a drink in great company amid the wonderful landscapes and wildlife of the Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty on our doorstep.
Enjoy a dawn or dusk walk on the high ridge that is the North Downs and the Pilgrims Way. Enjoy wonderful views, a panorama from Rye and beyond in the West to Folkestone and Dover in the East and across the water to France. Enjoy the rare fauna and flora, and take in wonderful experiences in rural Kent’s most beautiful countryside.
We continue to marvel at the history and the diversity of our surroundings from the rolling beauty of the Downs to the heritage of Canterbury, the charms of winding streets in coastal towns like Broadstairs and Whitstable, to the beautiful market towns and villages including Tenterden, Biddenden, Chilham and Wye – which are all just a ‘stone’s throw’ from the deeply rural setting of the Five Bells Inn.
Rooms, food and facilities
We have just five beautiful rooms, each embracing our historic architecture and true to our values: very casual and very comfortable. Fuggle, Golding, Ortega, Bacchus and Bramling Cross are named after famous hops and grapes of Kent.
All are furnished in contemporary style with every modern convenience, as you can see from our photo gallery. Golding, our hardy twin room, is particularly suitable for walkers and those with a small country dog (who must be booked in advance)!
A special opportunity awaits if you book Ortega or Bacchus. These rooms are much in demand, because they both have fireplaces with log fires, which we can light in winter, if you ask us in advance and keep us updated about your time of arrival.
Our head chef believes passionately in his role leading his team of like-minded and highly creative chefs at the Five Bells. We recognise that your enjoyment and our success ultimately relies entirely upon our building great relationships with suppliers we can rely on, enabling us to prepare wonderful but affordable dishes and memorable meals for your delectation.
How to find us
From the M20 junction 10 at Ashford, it usually takes less than 20 minutes to reach us. Follow signs to the A20 towards Sellindge; but after a couple of miles look out for a left turn, following signs to The Ridgeway or Smeeth through Brabourne Lees, from where Brabourne is signposted.
It’s also convenient to drive on from us, back to the M20 and on to the Eurotunnel terminal at Folkestone and port and cruise terminal at Dover (around half an hour distant). Subject to traffic, the journey usually takes around 15 or 30 minutes respectively.
It might feel like a world away; but it actually takes only around 20 minutes to drive to the inn by taxi from Ashford International station, which is just a 37 minute journey by high speed train from London St Pancras International station, and a few minutes less from Stratford International. We recommend, and can assist with pre-booking, a taxi to meet your train on arrival.
From Ashford International it’s also only a 16 minute journey in the comfort of a high speed train to Canterbury, making that a great option for a day out, while keeping your carbon footprint to a minimum and avoiding the expense of parking.
How this holiday makes a difference
From our door keen walkers can access footpaths leading to the North Downs Way national trail that mirrors the Pilgrims Way; and follow it in a north westerly direction to enjoy wonderful views around the Devils Kneading Trough; and see the celebrated Wye Crown that was cut into the scarp slope to commemorate the coronation of Edward VII in 1902.
Enjoy a dawn or dusk walk on the high ridge of the Downs. You might have a chance encounter with a hare, badger, owl or soaring buzzard! You could discover our local downs ablaze with wild flowers if you visit in spring or early summer. You can enjoy a plethora of wonderful experiences in rural Kent’s most beautiful countryside.
We enjoy sharing directions to less appreciated , but magical secret places slightly further afield. There’s the winter mystique of coastal Seasalter, Faversham and Oare, with its creeks and muddy inlets, or the vast vistas of Romney Marsh, with its unique eeriness, and strangely friendly Dungeness, where tiny beach fishing and artist communities cower beneath brutal skyline dominated by the power station. These are our favourite haunts on a cold damp winter’s day – for a brisk bracing walk, an open fire, a pint or hot toddy and good things to eat.