Friday 26 July 2013

Our Kent & Sussex £50 Foodie Roadtrip #roadtripchallenge

Being married to a Frenchman, I can vouch for the fact that the French can sometimes be terrible food snobs! The Brits have a really bad reputation in France when it comes to all things foodie so taking Madhouse Daddy and the French in-laws on a roadtrip around the south-east, showing them (and making them taste !) some of the great artisanal and traditional products that my local region has to offer sounded like the perfect idea when Money Supermarket offered me £50 fuel money to organise the ultimate road trip.

The first obvious stop had to be the Carr Taylor vineyards in Westfield just outside of my home town of Hastings. They have won over 130 awards since the vineyards opened and their champagne-style sparkling wines are just as delicious as their French counterparts. Trust me, I've drunk a lot of both ! For a couple of quid, you can go on a tour of the winery - you can even take your dog with you for a nice walk ! - and there are some lovely views of the great British countryside to enjoy.

Back to the car and it's off to the High Weald Tour around Kent. This is a beautiful route that takes you around the Kentish countryside which has been recognised as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The cheekily named Seven Wonders of the Weald are based around seven settlements in the High Weald : Goudhurst, Biddenden, Chiddingstone, Penshurst, Northiam, Tenterden and Horsmonden. The tour is easy to pick up by following the brown roadsigns with an oast house on.

You see lots of pretty oasthouses as you follow the tour - many of them have now been converted into houses but they were originally designed for drying hops. There are lots of hop fields in this area - which takes me on to my second sampling of local fayre. It would be rude not to stop off in one of the beautiful country pubs for a traditional Ploughman's lunch, accompanied with a local Kentish Real Ale. There are loads to choose from - we were hoping to find a really picturesque pub with a thatched roof - I know there are several - but failed !

Kent has long been known as the garden of England so there is lots of fresh local produce to snap up, often directly from the producers in little farm shops straight from the orchards. Cherries, apples and cobnuts are just three of the typical Kentish crops that can be found. 

Time to head over to Bodiam Castle, which is the quintessential English castle and is in really good condition. After a stroll around the grounds and the beautiful moat, there's a lovely old-fashioned tea shop for sampling a traditional English cream tea with scones with jam and clotted cream. Luckily there's a short walk down to see the steam trains to help digest some of the zillion calories that you've just consumed !

Back to my home town of Hastings for the final leg of my culinary tour of Kent and Sussex, where I decided it would be fun to play a trick on the French in laws and introduce them to jellied eels. Yuck !

Not even I could be that cruel though really. Fish and chips, straight from the paper, with lashings of salt and vinegar is a much better option and the perfect end to our Kent & Sussex Foodie Roadtrip. I'm not sure I convinced them that British gastronomy can rival French cuisine but we did have a lovely day out !

Disclosure : This is our entry for Moneysupermarket's £50 Road Trip Challenge.

Other blogposts you may be interested in :

Come Dine with Taylor Wimpey blogger challenge

Merrydown Vintage Cider review


  1. My home town as well. It's a fantastic place to live :)

  2. I love Kent, lived in Canterbury for a year, doing my MA. Beautiful countryside. So, what did your in-laws say? ;) Were they converted?

    1. They loved the countryside and thought the food and drinks were "nice but still not as good as French" ! lol

  3. Wow those fish and chips! Yum! Bodiam castleis on my list of castles to day.

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