Bus Trip to Groombridge and Langton Green
On Friday 15 September a group of us departed Tunbridge Wells on the hourly Metrobus 291 service to East Grinstead and Crawley at 11.52 . Our destination was Groombridge, a village that is in both Kent and Sussex.
Our visit started at the Junction Inn Groombridge, a pub which is across the border in Sussex. It was originally called the Junction Hotel and was built with the coming of the railway to Groombridge. It is now a large pub with three distinct drinking/eating areas with outside tables to the front and rear. There was just the single cask beer available, Harvey's Sussex Best.
The next pub on the agenda was the Crown Inn which is a short walk across the border into Kent. The Crown Inn dates back to about 1585 and its low beams and inglenook fireplace has a wealth of history. During the 18th Century the Crown Inn became the headquarters of the Groombridge Gang, ruthless smugglers who terrorised the country between the village and the South coast.
We arrived on a hot afternoon and after getting our drinks sat out the back of the pub with nice shady umbrellas. Some of our party partook of the food on offer and there was much discussion of the East European dishes available. The cask ale on offer here was Harvey's Sussex Best and the rarely seen Larkins Pale Ale. After a couple of drinks and finishing the meal it was time to move on to our next destination.
Some of us went to the front of the pub where there is a very convenient bus stop for the short hop up Groombridge Hill to the Hare at Langton Green. However, a couple of the more fitter members of our group decided to walk up the footpath to Langton Green. The bus came almost on time and we were quickly whisked up the hill.
The Hare at Langton Green is a new name for the pub. It was formerly the Greyhound Hotel dating back to 1785. The original building was demolished in 1900 when a fire partially destroyed the living accommodation and revealed the old house to be in an advanced state of dilapidation. The current building was completed in 1901. It is not known when the name changed from the Greyhound Hotel to the Hare but there is an Inn sign for the Hare dating back to 1992.
On arrival we quickly made our way to the light and airy bar area where we found four cask ales available. Green King IPA and from the same brewery, Ruddles Best. Of more interest to us were the other two ales. Cellar Head Session Best and Five Points XPA. We had to wait for our colleagues to walk up the hill and they soon arrived in desperate need of a drink. After a pleasant stay and a look around the pub it was soon time to catch a bus back to Tunbridge Wells.
A few of us ended up at Fuggles Beer Cafe as it is in an excellent location for catching buses back towards Tonbridge. There was the normal extensive list of cask ales and cider and craft beers and ciders to choose from.