Β 

Photographer based in the Chilterns, Bedfordshire

IMG_4296.JPG
Clarendon Royal Hotel, Gravesend

Clarendon Royal Hotel, Gravesend

clarendon_1.jpg

We had never visited Gravesend in Kent before, the nearest we had been to this area was Whitstable which is a little further up the coast so it was really nice to be invited by The Clarendon Royal Hotel to come and spend some time alongside the River Thames for the weekend. Especially as it was my birthday on the Saturday and our wedding anniversary on the Sunday (good planning eh!) and from our home in Bedfordshire it was only a couple of hours drive, I just had to remember to pay that Dartford Crossing toll online before midnight of the next day but at Β£2.50 each way it's quite reasonable.

The picture above was taken from the hotel's river terrace garden which is a fabulous vantage point for watching the vessels of all shapes and sizes make their way out of the city of London towards the sea. We were met by David the duty manager of the Clarendon on the Saturday that we arrived and invited to to take a drink in the river terrace garden and then for some light lunch in the restaurant, so my birthday got off to a nice start.

clarendon_2.jpg

Finding out a bit of the background to the hotel is always fascinating and this hotel is steeped in history. The building was built in 1665 by the Duke of York and it has been a hotel since 1842 and has welcomed lots of notable visitors including the Prince of Wales, later Edward VII, Queen Victoria's eldest son in 1863, when he greeted Princess Alexandria to the UK shores before marrying her.

One of the suites here is named after her as well as the delightful Pochahontas suite, named after the infamous Native American who was unfortunately taken ill at Gravesend on the 21st march 1617 whilst sailing with her husband John Rolfe and their two year old son Thomas bound for the Commonwealth of Virginia. Pocahontas sadly passed away and she was buried under the chancel of the nearby parish church of St George.

 There is a statue dedicated to her memory just a short walk from the hotel. One of King Henry VIII's Tudor forts also stands right outside the front of the hotel's entrance and so you can really appreciate what a key part of British history this area has played.

clarendon_3.jpg

Accommodation is set across 23 fabulous individually styled bedrooms consisting of; one executive double bedroom suite, two double bedroom suites, five 1 bedroom suites, 2 executive doubles and thirteen double rooms. Many rooms have beautiful views of the River Thames and we stayed in the 1 bedroom Hibernia suite where I spent a large part of my time there looking out of the windows that overlooked the river. The picture below is of this suite during the blue hour just after sunset.

clarendon_4.jpg

We found the staff to be very attentive and accommodating and our suite had an ensuite, separate lounge/dining area, full kitchenette, oven, washing machine, microwave, fridge/freezer, electronic safe, free wifi, flat screen TV, iron, ironing board, hairdryer, and fan. We ate brunch in the nicely designed bar area which had jazz music playing in the background and flat screen televisions on the walls. We were served by a really nice Spanish member of staff whom I didn't manage to catch his name but shared good humour with us and made our time there very relaxing.

clarendon_5.jpg

Sunday lunch was delicious with Sue opting for the gammon and myself trying out the salmon with a mouth watering parsley bechamel sauce. Desserts were completed with an Eton Mess and Chocolate Profiteroles, which were both sumptuous.

clarendon_6.jpg
clarendon_7.jpg

On our second day we ventured into nearby Rochester which is a historic town with a stunning Norman castle towering above the River Medway, it was on this site that the Romans built the first fort to guard the bridge that connected the London to Dover route. It is also the site for the architectural delight of Rochester Cathedral. 

But mainly famous for its connections to Charles Dickens, the area was his home from the age of five and it was where he found inspiration for many of his famous works, with lots of the buildings having plaques on the outside including Restoration House, used in Dickens' novel 'Great Expectations' as the home of Estella and Miss Havisham and The Six Poor Travellers House, immortalised by the author in a Christmas short story.

clarendon_8.jpg

On our second day we ventured into nearby Rochester which is a historic town with a stunning Norman castle towering above the River Medway, it was on this site that the Romans built the first fort to guard the bridge that connected the London to Dover route. It is also the site for the architectural delight of Rochester Cathedral. 

But mainly famous for its connections to Charles Dickens, the area was his home from the age of five and it was where he found inspiration for many of his famous works, with lots of the buildings having plaques on the outside including Restoration House, used in Dickens' novel 'Great Expectations' as the home of Estella and Miss Havisham and The Six Poor Travellers House, immortalised by the author in a Christmas short story.

clarendon_9.jpg
 

A lovely weekend exploring this part of Kent with so much history and staying in a delightful hotel comfortable accommodation, good food, accommodating hosts and a spectacular view of the River Thames.

Thank you Clarendon Royal Hotel for having us to stay!

Our stay at Clarendon Royal Hotel was complimentary. As always, all opinions are my own.

iPhone Camera Features

iPhone Camera Features

Jurassic Coast

Jurassic Coast