Updown Farmhouse Hotel


5 P0 A4264

Though just a quick hop from the coastal town of Deal, this 17th-century, brick-clad former farmhouse feels every bit country. Set across a 3ha estate, cue strutting pheasants, thatched cottages and surrounding chocolate-box villages.

On arrival, you’re invited into the sitting room-library hybrid, where sage sofas and potted plants pop against tangerine walls and elsewhere, colourful canvases include an eye-catching portrait from El Salvadoran artist Studio Lenca. Bright hues continue in the four rooms upstairs and there’s also a gardener’s cottage decked out with antique furniture.

Flickering lanterns light the cobble path to the pergola, with its adjoining wood-burning oven and grill, where chef Oli Brown cooks up hyper-seasonal dishes in a cosy outside space. An ambitious, weekly changing menu with its roots in Italy will have you immediately planning your return. Smoke and fire dominate: expect the likes of creamy buffalo mozzarella with charcoal-cooked pumpkin, braised short ribs, grilled mackerel and roasted fennel, and a vodka martini with smoked eel gilda to end the evening. Dinner here is an intimate affair, with the opportunity to mingle with other guests should you wish.

Come breakfast, you’ll find a pot of Do Good Coffee, local meat from The Black Pig and freshly baked sourdough on the table. While check-out is 11am, you're encouraged to linger within the grounds – after all, this place is more than a bed for the night.

Doubles from £250. 07842 244192, updownfarmhouse.com

Words by Megan Dickson.

This review was taken from the 25th Anniversary issue of Food and Travel. To subscribe today, click here.

5 P0 A4264

Get Premium access to all the latest content online

Subscribe and view full print editions online... Subscribe