The sixth of THE PIG hotels group opened at Bridge, near Canterbury, in April 2019. Like the others, it presents itself as ‘Rooms and kitchen garden food’ but this only scratches the surface of the concept: a laid-back, shabby-chic lifestyle experience at what are intended to be affordable prices.
The mellow brickwork exterior of the 1630s mansion in a lush valley prepares you for a ‘period’ interior – oil paintings, creaky floorboards, panelling, antique furniture, massive fireplaces – which is anything but formulaic thanks to the design flair of Judy Hutson, who has created an ambience that’s traditional yet unpredictably stylish, full of unique personal touches and dark yet rich colours. There is a bar, five small sitting rooms and seven bedrooms in this old part.
Adjoining is a convincing new wing, built from mellow reclaimed brick to mirror the old part, which contains the dining room adorned like the other PIGs with signature pots of herbs sitting on wooden crates. Artfully battered distressed-paint dressers display rows of jars with colourful pickled vegetables; the bustling kitchen is open to view behind a counter. Food is typical PIG fare but with local twists, all sourced from the hotel’s huge kitchen garden or from within 25km; English wine from seven Kent growers dominates the wine list.
There are 12 bedrooms in the new wing, and along a walkway seven cosy timber ‘Hop picker’s cabins’.
It’s a serious tribute to Robin and Judy Hutson, who design and realize each PIG, that although they have a common theme, they are not formulaic but individual places to stay, stamped everywhere with charming touches that make guests feel relaxed yet sophisticated, in tune with their surroundings.
This new PIG is especially good news for those who need to catch an early Channel ferry or Eurotunnel shuttle, or who want to end their trip to the continent with a last night treat after crossing from France. The tunnel terminal is 50 minutes away.
The other PIGs are PIG at Brokenhurst (Hampshire), THE PIG in the wall (Southampton), THE PIG near Bath (Somerset) THE PIG on the beach (Dorset) and THE PIG at Combe (Oxfordshire), THE PIG on the Downs (South Downs), and THE PIG at Harlyn Bay (Cornwall).