The Importance of Choosing The Right Therapist
People travel from far and wide to visit our clinic in East Malling, some as far as Cornwall and even Australia. In general, the reason they often give for choosing to make the journey is that, after reading our reviews and seeing photos of our work, they felt it was worth every mile. It always fills me with great pride when I hear stories like this from new clients and I’m immensely proud of the professional work we carry out which is reflected so kindly through my clients in their detailed reviews.
So, if you’ve made the journey to our salon in East Malling and have arrived slightly early, or perhaps you just fancy making the most of your visit to this beautiful part of Kent, here are a few of our top recommendations of local places to visit.
Places to eat and drink
If you have time either before or after your treatment has taken place, I highly recommend paying a visit to Tea at Hilltop. This beautiful, traditional farmhouse tea room is quite literally a stone’s throw from our salon so there’s no need to travel far and, as the name suggests, tea is most definitely on the menu. You can either opt for a traditional English Breakfast blend or you can experiment with a few more exotic flavours such as Assam or Darjeeling. The Hilltop also offer a range of other ‘teas’ including Mint, Chamomile and Jasmine.
If you’re not a tea fan, you can either choose from their range of coffees or go for something colder and more refreshing instead, such as their traditional homemade lemonade or seasonal elderflower cordial which is available during the hot and sticky summer months.
The Hilltop also serve a great range of simple yet delicious food with much of it being prepared in-house. The breakfast menu is only available from 10 am to midday but they also offer a really lovely range of all-day meals and sandwiches with a great range of seasonal choices on the menu. Of course, a countryside tea room wouldn’t be complete without the ubiquitous temptation of scones with jam and clotted cream on the menu, so if you’re in the mood for pampering yourself with a naughty nibble, it’s definitely worth spoiling yourself over 😉
It’s always really lovely when you find out that a local, family-owned business has an interesting past and with Hilltop, that’s certainly the case – After leaving the Armed Forces following the end of WWII Ray, the owner’s father, decided that he wanted to work in the farming industry. Since he didn’t have any land, he thought he’d have a go at buying fruit at auction to sell on for a profit. Rather than bid for the fruit once it had been picked, bidders actually placed auction bids on the fruit whilst it was still on the tree prior to harvest. This was quite a risky business as you were never quite sure how big (and what quality) the final harvest would be. The word ‘nailbiting’ springs to mind and it must have been a tense time knowing that you’d invested your money without knowing for certain what the final outcome would be.
Anyway, Ray took his chances and built up some valuable experience along the way as well as turning a profit. He was later able to buy the land that Hilltop now occupies and he and his wife built up a steady trade of loyal clientele by serving tea between 10 am and 3 pm. Since then, Hilltop has diversified whilst still remaining loyal to its rustic roots.
What I really love about this place is their traditional, down-to-earth approach to the food and drinks they serve. In their own words:
“You won’t find extravagant descriptions, or overblown statements but we do make most things ourselves, produce as much as we can, and offer you a warm welcome!”
For me, this is what makes Hilltop special; their warm and personal approach is about as far away from a corporate high street restaurant chain as you can get and, as a regular customer there, I can speak from personal experience.
After a long day providing treatments for my clients, the last thing I want to do is find myself slaving over a hot stove. If I’m really not in the mood to prepare an evening meal, I’ll often head over with the family to The Swan Bar and Brasserie in West Malling after work. Like Hilltop, The Swan is well-known for their friendly, personal approach and the high-quality food they serve throughout the day and into the evening.
If you’re en route to a late morning or lunchtime appointment at Immaculate Touch, you can pop into The Swan for Brunch if you have the time as the venue is open from 9 am during the week and 10 am on Saturday. If it’s a little later in the day, their lunchtime menu is equally appealing. If your appointment is towards the end of the day and you fancy a bite to eat and drink on your way home, they have a really great dinner menu for later visitors.
If you fancy a drive through the beautiful Kent countryside then The Swan is certainly somewhere that’s worth the short but scenic trip. Located in nearby West Malling, it’s less than 3 miles away, which is well under 10 minutes by car. In the summer months, the venue also has an elegant garden if you’re in the mood for eating outdoors.
What I really love about The Swan is their commitment to sourcing local produce from a wide range of nearby Kentish suppliers. As it’s independently owned, the place is certainly not your average pub chain and you can expect to see a diverse and interesting menu when you arrive.
Other places of interest
Being nestled in the heart of the Kent countryside, East and West Malling are stunning places to visit and there are many other wonderful places to visit nearby, but I’ll save writing about some of those for another day.
As well as having a passion for supporting local businesses (and a passion for tea and scones!), Immaculate Touch Beauty provides a range of treatments to clients in Kent, Surrey, London and beyond. Get in touch if you’d like to know more.