Simon explains how he came to make the move to Shoreham in 2011: “I was a bit addicted to looking at properties on Rightmove at the time, trying to find somewhere that I could move to that has a relatively easy commute into London. When The Mount came up for sale, I knew very little about wine, apart from drinking it, but the property itself was so beautiful. A lot of the vines had already been planted, so at the back of my mind it was a future escape route from the city and in the meantime a great place to live and hopefully start a family.”
His hopes for the future were soon realised, having grown The Mount Vineyard into a successful business and award-winning destination for food and wine, but also managing to achieve a work-life balance. Simon’s future wife Sarah joined him in the Sevenoaks district in 2015 and they later married among the vines in 2019. Simon and Sarah now live on site with their young daughter, Ellie.
Simon outlines what he thinks the local area has to offer as a place to live and spend time: “There’s so much local history, which spans right through the ages and there’s plenty of ways to see it. My four year old daughter is big into her history, particularly the Tudors, so there is Hever Castle for that. There is also a lot of Roman history in the valley with Lullingstone Villa, the Battle of Britain was fought over our skies and there’s an RAF museum here in the village.
“The natural spaces are amazing too – ancient forests, massive parklands and lots of public footpaths, so it is easily accessible. I think strangely enough the pandemic put rural destinations on the map. It reminded people that the best things in life can be free whether that’s going for a long dog walk or taking a picnic in a rucksack and meeting friends. From that point of view, it’s got the history and the natural beauty.”
Simon and his family have certainly set down roots in the Sevenoaks district, with The Mount going from strength-to-strength and having recently opened The Samuel Palmer pub in Shoreham, they are set for the future.