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Mad About Kent: The Keep it in Kent Community Blog

Is this Kent's best kept secret castle? Not for long...

Along with the pleasure of meeting other Keep it in Kent like-minded people and hearing about what they do, I have really enjoyed all of the venues where Steve and Tina have held each of their regular meetings for the KiiK members.  The latest place to host us was a treat for everyone....

Having heard about Westenhanger Castle for the first time only after meeting its present occupier Sarah Poole at the last KiiK meeting earlier in the year, I was intrigued to see for myself this remarkable heritage property tucked away beside Folkestone Racetrack, a few miles from Hythe.

Westenhanger Castle itself is something of a revelation.  If you don’t already know about it (and truthfully I was only aware of it because of meeting Sarah at a previous KiiK event) you should know it has been the home of no lesser historical figures than King Canute and King Henry VIII... not to mention that, according to Wikipedia, Queen Elizabeth 1 used the castle as the command centre for Kent’s 14,000 troops defending the south coast from the Spanish Armada.


Essentially a fortified manor house, it has elements of a ruined castle which give it an incredibly romantic feel, but to see it close up is to realise it has been completely refurbished to a high level so that there is a mixture of old and new and what remains is now a very solid building.   Sarah is steadily building its business as a premier event venue.  The castle has been licensed for weddings and there is a permanent marquee (with solid flooring – so important for ladies’ shoes and anyone who’s had a fizz too many) very close by in the grounds.  In a county with lots of potentially romantic venues Westenhanger Castle offers a rather wonderful mix of grand (1000 years of history, towers, beams, medieval fire places, large windows), and simple – all the rooms are now very comfortable and everything is more or less in the one location – catering is managed on site - whilst the setting is charming with the trace of a moat and old, sweeping trees.  If you are researching wedding venues, this is certainly one to check out and indeed if you are considering a conference location this is certainly a place to hold everyone’s attention/something to talk about.


These Keep it in Kent evenings,  which are always very warm and welcoming,  provide a comfortable forum for individuals running Kent businesses to meet each other, find out about what services and products they offer, learn from their experiences and where applicable, make that important connection. The atmosphere is very relaxed, everyone is very friendly and whilst it is a professional gathering, formalities are slim to none, and it is mainly an opportunity for Tina and Steve to introduce everyone, discuss their latest initiatives whilst asking for a little feedback from everyone present.   Although Kent is a large county these evenings make you realise what it is to be part of a community and see how it is in everyone’s interests to find out more about each other and, of course, just what is available to you locally.  Every evening has been fun and never, ever felt remotely like ‘work’.

If you are a business in Kent getting involved in this organisation is both worthwhile and fun – not to mention you get to go to some of the best places....


Many thanks to this week's Guest Blogger: Sarah Simpson of Shimmering Moon Photography for the article and fabulous photographs she took at our event at Westenhanger Castle!

"My name is Sarah Simpson. I worked for nearly twenty years in television production including 15 years in television drama, working directly for broadcasters before setting up and running an independent production company.  Throughout that time, I have always been a keen photographer.   Now based in Kent, and notwithstanding the realisation that the more I learn about photography I find how much more there is to learn about it(!) I am starting to work as a freelance photographer and also to take on commissions for websites and social media purposes etc.  If you want to have some good photographs of your products/place of business etc please call me to discuss.   I am obviously more expensive than doing it yourself but I am very reasonable compared to a properly professional photographer – who, to be fair, will come with rather more experience and quality kit than I do.  But my pictures are pretty.   I can give references from people whom I’ve already provided photographic services for.  I look forward to hearing from you."


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Keep it in Kent Ltd
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Corner Drove
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