So on Saturday, my only brief to Mr HenHouse for our day trip was "somewhere I don't have to drive". Being the railway devotee he is, I was asking the right person!
He devised a route to take us right from our local station five minutes away, via East Croydon, to a little known station on the way to the coast, named Eridge.
We were lucky as it was such a beautiful day and arriving at our destination was like stepping back in time to a small country station.
We weren't staying in Eridge though. What had so appealed to Mr HH was that Eridge had recently linked up with a local preserved railway. It is now possible to get on a vintage train of the Spa Valley Railway at Eridge and ride through the lovely countryside to Tunbridge Wells.
Everything got off to a good start with the jolly driver on a visiting Great Western Railway engine.
We savoured the views as the train took us through some pretty countryside, those traditional oast houses where the hops used to be dried, reminding us that we were in the garden of England: Kent.
Such a civilised way to travel. Mr HH even partook of tea, served in a proper china pot.
Upon arriving at the little station at Tunbridge Wells West, the boys perused the second hand book stalls whilst I was rather charmed by this dinky cinema showing old railway film.
Off into the town to explore then.
What a lovely place Tunbridge Wells is, no wonder it has Royal status. "The Pantiles" is a historic area filled with beautiful old shop fronts and as the weather was lovely, many folk were taking the opportunity to sit a while at little tables out on the pavements in the sunshine.
Mr HenHouse had a result when he spotted this sign!
A teeny tiny little vintage fair was taking place in the hotel. There was a table of pretty china...
..and interestingly for me, a lovely lady selling fabulous vintage dresses at very reasonable prices. I came away with two stunners, one from the 1940s and one from the 1950s. No more cakes for me!
Wandering on up the street after lunch, The Pantiles gives way to the High Street but this still has a lot of lovely individual shops. Tunbridge Wells is what one might call a select area and there were some fabulous jewellery shops with fabulous prices! Mr HH swiftly moved past those and we eventually found an old friend...
One day, I will get round to having a patchworked chair...
We had to dash back to the train, so I only had five minutes in Cath's shop but it's certainly a lovely one, with beautiful displays, as usual.
After a lovely day, the Gods were smiling on us, all our connections were caught and we were home in a flash. We will definitely be returning to Tunbridge Wells via this route as we did not have enough time to explore.
Now I know we were away for Easter, and I seem to recall I said something about no more cake, but you can't not have a Simnel cake once a year, can you?!
A fitting end to a great weekend.