Medieval palace in Kent to host boutique wine hotel

A boutique wine hotel and restaurant is to be developed at the historic Archbishop’s Palace in Maidstone as the hub of a wine tourism industry in Kent on the lines of California’s Napa Valley or Western Australia’s Margaret River.

Under ambitious plans agreed by Maidstone Council and entrepreneur Richard Balfour-Lynn, founder the Balfour winery in Staplehurst, three new buildings will be constructed in the grounds of the 14th-century palace, originally a stopping-off point for the archbishops of Canterbury en route to London.

Less than an hour from London today, the new venue will encompass luxury accommodation, restaurants and wedding and conference facilities, serving as a focal point for visits to the eight wineries of the Wine Garden of England partnership.

Balfour-Lynn has four decades of experience in wine-focused hotels, including Hotel du Vin, Malmaison and De Vere hotels. He said: “The Archbishop’s Palace will become both the champion and beating heart of Kent wine, spirits and local food produce. Part of our plans will be to run tutored wine tastings, as well as wine making and viticultural courses, from the venue, with The Palace becoming the centre of the Kent wine tourist sector. Authenticity will lie at the heart of the offer.” 

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