The Pig at Bridge Place is not a pig in possession of a country house, but I would be for it. You cannot have enough pigs, or any edible fauna. It is, rather, a hotel inside a Jacobean mansion — or, rather, part of a Jacobean mansion, the rest burnt down, and is all the better for it — in a pleasingly unkempt part of Kent, just beyond Canterbury.
There are ten Pigs, dotted across the south coast as if in homage to Armada beacons. They are the successor to the Soho House brand, which is looking increasingly dusty, and in velvet. My main objection to Babington House is that it is for people with Peter Pan Syndrome: children who cannot grow up. They served fish-finger sandwiches and I think I saw a giant inflatable unicorn in the pool, but I have may have imagined it. And there were too many magazine journalists — the creature called Hackula — licking dated interior design while calling out to children called Jago. The Pig is more subtle and more adult, and the brickwork is finer.
Jacobean brick is rare and so, from a distance, driving across fields, you think the house is Victorian pastiche. Then you see, with wonder, that it is older. The brick is faded to a dusty pink and carved into pilasters; the house is five bays; the chimneys reach for the clouds. I will do a lot to stay in a hotel that is in Pevsner, and not over-renovated or inhabited by a madman who shoots at guests (the 7th Marquess of Bristol at Ickworth) because he is a cocaine addict and his father didn’t love him. The hotel guest in the once great house gets the best of aristocracy.