The Barrow House, Egerton, hotel review
The 16th-century Barrow House, in an idyllic village in Kent, has been lovingly renovated with three comfy rooms upstairs.
Tell us about The Barrow House
Formerly The George, the village pub in Egerton was renovated in 2016 and renamed The Barrow House after Egerton’s oldest structure – an ancient round barrow in a field to the east of the village.
Inside, there’s a big wraparound bar with 17th-century timber frames and roaring log fires, a modern restaurant serving hearty pub grub and, upstairs, three bedrooms each with an ensuite bathroom. Outside, there’s a huge terrace and garden – which I imagine will be packed when the weather gets warmer.
This isn’t the first pub that the landlords, Dane and Sarah Allchorne, have renovated. Just down the road, in Sissinghurst, is their other pub The Milk House – a Tudor inn that they opened in 2013. I went there last summer and loved it so I wanted to see if their latest venture would be just as good.
Where is The Barrow House?
Halfway between Maidstone and Ashford on top of the Greensand Ridge. It’s not surprising that the small village – surrounded by lush green pastures – is popular with walkers and cyclists.
How to get there?
The pub is pretty much in the middle of nowhere so a car is necessary if you want to explore the area. The nearest train station, Pluckley, is a 10-minute drive away and has direct trains to London that take just over an hour. Ashford International has quicker and more frequent trains to London but it is a little further away from the pub – a 20-minute drive.
What is there to do?
There is so much to do… if you have a car. Whilst there, I visited The West House (a Michelin-starred restaurant in Biddenden), drove to Dover with our dog Miso for a hike along the White Cliffs, we went to the village of Wye for lunch at the Wife of Bath and, still managed to fit in a good walk in the countryside around the pub.
Other big attractions near the pub include Leeds Castle, Chapel Down Winery and the Big Cat Sanctuary. There are lots of quiet, sleepy villages close by – it’s worth pulling on some walking boots to explore.
What’s in the room?
Our big, bright room, called Bowl, had views over the pub’s garden and, beyond that, the magnificent, lush green countryside. The room had a huge king-size bed, lots of comfy cushions and was so quiet, you couldn’t hear the bustling pub below at all. All the basics are supplied including tea and coffee-making facilities in the room and fresh milk and water, in a fridge, in the corridor.
It was refreshing to see full-size toiletries, rather than throwaway bottles, in the luxurious en-suite bathroom. The products came from Romney Marsh Wools, a local wool company that makes the toiletries using lanolin – a natural by-product from the wool they produce.
What about dinner?
On one side of the pub is the bar serving local beers, cask ales and wine, alongside a grazing-style menu with snacks and light bites. Around the other side is the dining room – a modern space with exposed bricks and pretty blue walls and mismatched tables and chairs. When we arrived, early on a Saturday evening, the restaurant was starting to pick up with groups of friends, couples and families with young children gathering for dinner.
There was so much variety on the menu, with four sections of starters and seven for mains, it was overwhelming and hard to choose. The starter, asparagus and mint risotto balls, had a pappy texture and were quite bland and my main, giant couscous salad, was simply lacklustre – it was literally a plate of spinach, couscous and feta with a drizzle of basil oil – it needed more oomph. Dan’s steak, however, from the specials board, was good if a little over-cooked.
One of my biggest bugbears (see my Bel & The Dragon review) is a restaurant that tries to cater for everybody with a too-big menu jam-packed with every kind of dinner you can imagine. I think the overall result of this is a strained kitchen with chefs that have too much to do so. Rather than concentrate on a small menu and doing it really well, everything is rushed and mediocre – unfortunately I think that was the case at The Barrow House.
How was breakfast?
Just like at The Milk House, the breakfast was superb. The menu is small, portions are hearty and food is well-thought out. There are homemade yogurts and compotes served with the continental breakfast – a huge spread, for one, including toast, pastries and muesli. The full English is flawless made with locally sourced produce and cooked to perfection. They also serve excellent coffee; no Nescafé here, all drinks are made with their state-of-the-art coffee machine.
What’s the damage?
Rooms start from £80 a night and include breakfast.
Anything else to add?
We didn’t get to experience the garden during our chilly stay but from what we saw, it promises to be a great place when the sun comes out. There’s a children’s play area, lots of space on the grass and a big decking area with planted herbs. On my visit, the only thing missing – which The Milk House has – is a pizza oven kitchen but one will be installed this month which is a good enough reason for me to return. The pizzas at the Milk House are incredible and worth a visit alone.