Alex Brown: My Favourite Places
Alex Brown is the bestselling author of five books and launched her career with the hugely popular Carrington’s series set in a seaside town department store. She now writes warm, witty novels centred on village life. Alex herself lives in a rural village on the Kent and Sussex border, with her husband, daughter and black Labrador. She spoke to Ali over at Muddy Kent about favourite local places that have inspired her.
Black timber-framed buildings on Canterbury High Street
I love Kent, it’s the inspiration for the fictional village of Tindledale where all my books are set, detailing the gorgeous little villages with their high streets of black timber-framed, white wattle-walled shops with mullioned windows, surrounded by lush, undulating fields full of hops, hay, lambs, cows, strawberries, buttercups and delicate pink cherry blossom that swirls around like confetti in a breeze. Picturesque Canterbury is the perfect example of what I’m talking about.
This is such a special place for me; it’s where I walk my dog Puppy Oscar, every morning. It’s so tranquil and quiet, the perfect place to clear my head and plan the next part of my novel in progress. The bench in this picture is where I sit and watch the water, the sun shimmering on the surface as Puppy Oscar frolics in the gentle waves. A little further along the path is an old wooden stile that leads in to an orchard, the inspiration for my new novel, The Secret of Orchard Cottage.
The West House, Biddenden
I love this small, family-run restaurant in Biddenden, housed in a 15th Century weaver’s cottage, it’s one of only a few restaurants in Kent to hold a Michelin star and the food is absolutely delicious. My husband and I always go here to celebrate special occasions such as birthdays and my book publication days.
Pevensey Bay, East Sussex
Ahh, I love this part of the Sussex coast line and have spent many happy summer evenings here walking on the pebbled beach that runs beside the sand-duned back gardens of the beautiful beach houses, many with balconies that look out over the sea. An added bonus is the excellent traditional fish and chip shop – just watch out for the seagulls, the size of vultures, they’ll have your battered sausage away in the blink of an eye.
The Spice, Tunbridge Wells
The best Indian restaurant in Tunbridge Wells, in my opinion, where we always get a warm welcome. I love the cosy atmosphere, the staff are friendly and the food is excellent and consistent – there’s nothing worse than going to an Indian restaurant where the curry isn’t as good as it was the last time you were there. Luckily, The Spice delivers every time.
Beals Barn Gardens, Wadhurst
Just into East Sussex is a tea room inside a converted barn. This hidden treasure can be found at the end of Bewl Bridge Lane in Wadhurst. Overlooking gorgeous gardens with Bewl Water on the horizon, it’s the perfect place to unwind with a cup of Monmouth coffee and a slice of scrumptious homemade cake – the Bakewell tart is my daughter’s favourite. The quiches and sausage rolls are wonderful, and they do an amazing breakfast, with the laidback, cosy atmosphere is the best start to a perfect Sunday.
Alex Brown’s new novel, The Secret of Orchard Cottage, set in the fictional village of Tindledale, out now. @alexbrownbooks