When I first clapped eyes on the Lavender Fields in Provence I added them to my bucket list as somewhere I would very much like to visit one day. I could just picture the hedonistic scene in my head as a distant dream into the future. Then there I was scrolling through instagram to see someone I had followed (call it fate – thanks @mrskpxx) in fields of blue which caught my eye and later on the very same day Claire (@iamchouquette), a blogger I follow, was at the very same place…in Kent! KENT! As in Kent just down the road from Essex!! My heart started going…I was getting excited at the prospect of seeing these lavender fields. You know youre getting old when such things excite you. Well I was there in a shot! (Two days later no less).
So, Castle Farm is a family run farm just through the pretty village of Shoreham in North Kent which I loved driving through. The farm have their very own cows for beef, apples, apple juice, hops, dried flowers, Kentish lavender and honey which are all sold through the unique, award-winning farm shop; The Hop Shop along with carefully selected gifts, cards, crafts, seasonal decorations and food hampers. It really is unlike any other farm shop you would have visited and has an upmarket selection of food products.
The shop is open year round Mon – Sat: 9am – 5pm, Sundays & Bank Holidays: 10am – 5pm, and is popular with anyone seeking a relaxed independant shopping experience away from the hustle and bustle of supermarkets and towns.
The setting is so beautiful with landscapes of bluey purple hues, Jersey cows (and other breeds) and other gorgeous scenery featured regularly on television for adverts and filming and in many home, lifestyle and food magazines.
As soon as I entered the lane leading into the farm which was at the top of a hill, I had to stop the car and take in the view. Breathtaking.
I don’t know what it is about seeing the seeminglessly endless rows of lavender but it just takes your breath away. Nature at its finest. Natural beauty. Ordinarily you can’t just go into the fields as they take great care in conserving the environment but I was lucky enough to meet Lorna who along with her family owns the farm and she was so lovely and showed me around and allowed me and my girls into one of the fields where I was able to share these shots with you chanelling my inner French maiden in my favorite denim top which you can buy here and whimsical white skirt.
The skirt is from Zara last year but if you head to my SHOP page I have listed a couple of similar ones so you can recreate the look.
So as I mentioned I had my girls with me not only to get them interested in some natural beauty (and since their visit they have been lavender obsessed spotting it when we are out and about with my three year old gushing the words ‘lavender’ at almost any purple or blue looking flower), but also to take the opportunity to photograph them in such a beautiful setting. At first they were a little wary of the bees but with the suggestion of a race against mummy up and down the rows, they were soon giggling and were enjoying getting in amongst the flowers; smelling and picking them. Lorna also introduced them to the gorgeous beetles that have a bronzed gold metalic body and as beetles go were quite pretty. Back to the bees…the sound was quite incredible. The gentle hum of what must be thousands and thousands of buzzy bees was quite something. An experience you don’t get every day!
We took the lavender tour where we were able to see more lavender fields and learning lots of things about lavender (there are two different types don’t you know), it’s uses and how the farm distill the lavender on site and send it all over the world for different purposes. Then we found a lovely spot and were treated to the farms very own distilled apple juice (they have an Orchard where you can pick apples and they grow their own pumpkins ) and the most amazing lavender shortbread biscuits which if you follow my Snapchat you will know these are my new addiction. It goes without saying, the aroma envelopes you the entire time you’re there and maybe it sounds silly but I just felt at one with nature whilst there and as you can guess; very relaxed. I just adore being in the countryside which might come as a shock to some. I almost didn’t want to leave. But I didn’t leave without a visit to the famous Hop Shop which is just about the most delightful farm shop you will ever see with a huge selection of homemade edible lavender goodies as well as lavender essential oils, room sprays, dried lavender, fresh lavender bunches and everything else I mentioned earlier.
We bought lavender biscuits, gorgeous meringues, a lavender sleep pillow, fresh bunched lavender and dried hydrangeas.
The fields have now been ploughed so there will be no more tours until next year but fear not, if you visit their website you can shop their lavender products and gifts (you must order the biscuits trust me).
Next year I am going back for a picnic evening and for an aromatherapy massage in the heart of the lavender rows…dreamy! I just can’t wait to breath in that lavender air again.
Visit www.hopshop.co.uk for more details.