Gardens to Visit in Kent

The mild southern climate of this county provides some impressive displays of plants, trees and shrubs. The county is awash with stately gardens, market gardens and nurseries. There is an exceptional number of arboreta and impressive large mature trees, which adorn the lawns of rich properties, once owned by London's landed gentry. Not only is there a large number of historically important gardens here, many are Grade 1 listed.

Bedgebury Pinetum

Marshal's Lake Bedgebury © Ron Strutt (CC2)

Over 100 acres of rolling countryside, planted with a diverse collection of pines, conifers, larches and birches. Including an impressive group of Metasequoia glyptostroboides (dawn redwood) and Taxodium distichum (swamp cypress). Not to be missed are the spectacular reflections on Marshal's Lake in spring and Autumn.

Facilities: parking, cafe, dogs welcome
Open: all year, daily (exc. Xmas)
Address: Goudhurst, Cranbrook TN17 2SJ
Tel: 01580 879820 - The Forestry Commission
Web: bedgeburypinetum.org.uk

Belmont House

Belmont House walled garden © Marathon (CC2)

A magnificent neo-classical house with distinctive late 18th-c. gardens. Visitors can enjoy beautiful walled gardens, formal lawns and borders, a large kitchen garden and a charming Victorian shell grotto. There is also a fine pinetum and mature woodland area.

Facilities: parking, tea room, plant sales
Open: April to September
Address: Throwley, Kent ME13 0HH
Tel: 01795 890 202
Web: belmont-house.org

Chartwell

© National Trust Images/David Sellman

The family home and garden of Sir Winston Churchill. This charming landscaped site affords magnificent views across the Weald. The spacious and expansive gardens are extremely well planted and laid out. Every part of the house and garden exudes history.

Facilities: parking, restaurant, shop
Open: March to November
Address: Westerham, Kent TN16 1PS
Tel: 01732 868381
Web: nationaltrust.org.uk

Cobham Hall

Spring Bulb Display © Seasonal Gardening

A magnificent Elizabethan mansion set in a 150 acre ancient deer park. The Repton designed gardens are natural delight, especially in spring when they overflow with spring bulbs. The gardens are currently being restored by the Cobham Hall Heritage Trust.

Note: The house is currently run as a private school.

Facilities: parking
Open: Various Sundays & BH (see website)
Address: Cobham, Kent DA12 3BL
Tel: 01474 823371
Web: www.cobhamhall.com

Emmetts Garden

Emmetts Garden ©Oast House Archive (CC2)

Delightful Edwardian tree and shrub paradise. At 700ft above sea level, it commands spectacular views over Bough Beech Reservoir and the Kent Weald. Packed with trees of varied textures, shapes and sizes that contrast well and give spectacular displays in autumn. Other features include a rock garden, bluebell wood and good selection of flowering shrubs.

Facilities: parking, cafe, shop
Open: March to October
Address: Ide Hill, Brasted TN14 6AY
Tel: 01732 750367 - Run by National Trust
Web: nationaltrust.org.uk

Great Comp

Great Comp Gardens ©Oast House Archive (CC2)

A delightful seven acres surround this 17th-c manor. All season interest is guaranteed by its good selection of interesting rare trees, shrubs, heathers and herbaceous plants; all punctuated with fine lawns and grassed pathways. Regular summer events include chamber music and classical concerts presented by the Great Comp Society.

Facilities: parking, cafe, restaurant, plant sales
Open: April to October
Address: St Mary's Platt, Sevenoaks TN15 8QS
Tel: 01732 882669
Web: greatcompgarden.co.uk

Hever Castle

by Ron Porter (CC0)

The gardens of this fine 13th-c moated castle were laid out between 1904 & 1908. These spectacular grounds have now reached full maturity, with long herbaceous borders, rose gardens, classic topiary, yew maze, water maze and a large lake. There is also a four acre Italianate garden full of classical sculptures.

Facilities: parking, shop, cafe, garden centre
Open: March to November
Address: Hever, Kent TN8 7NG
Tel: 01732 865224
Web: hevercastle.co.uk

Leeds Castle

(GSP)

Historic castle, spanning two islands in the middle of a lake. Set within 500 acres of historic Grade II gardens and landscaped parkland, with good plantings of shrubs and trees. The main gardens are laid out in a mediterranean style, with an interesting grotto set in the centre of a maze. Not to be missed is the terraced Lady Baille garden, overlooking the Great Water.

Facilities: parking, tea room, shop
Open: February to November
Address: Maidstone, Kent ME17 1PL
Tel: 001622 765400
Web: leeds-castle.com

Owl House

© Stephen Nunney (CC2)

Small timber framed house set in a picturesque landscape, packed with spring flowers, azaleas, rhododendrons, roses, flowering shrubs, ornamental fruit trees and a tranquil water garden. Visitors can also enjoy divine walks through its fine Oak and Birch woodland.

Facilities: -
Open: Currently not open to public
Address: Mount Pleasant, Lamberhurst TN3 8LY
Tel: -
Web: -

Penshurst Place

Italian Garden © Marathon (CC2)

Fine country mansion set in 10 acres of walled and formal gardens, within rolling parkland. This prestigious 600 year old site has a formal parterre and Italianate garden, a Heraldic garden and a Union Flag Garden. Visitors can also enjoy nature trails, an adventure playground and a museum in traditional Sussex barn.

Facilities: parking, restaurant, shop
Open: March to October
Address: Penshurst TN11 8DG
Tel: 01892 870307
Web: penshurstplace.com

Quex House

The rose garden © Michael Garlick (CC2)

The house and gardens are set within 250 acres of parkland, that also include 1500 acres of farmland. Near the house are a further 15 acres of magnificent mature gardens, including a restored Victorian walled garden. Various events take place throughout the summer.

Facilities: parking, restaurant, shop
Open: April to October
Address: Ouex Park, Birchington CT7 0BH
Tel: 01843 842168
Web: quexpark.co.uk

Scotney Castle

Castle Moat by skeeze (CC0)

Developed in the 13th-c alongside the remains of an old moated castle, Scotney is one of the most romantic English gardens. All season colour is provided by spring flowers to roses, followed by superb autumn leaf colour. Highlights include fine cedars, cypress, azaleas and rhododendrons. There is also a lily covered moat with lush waterside vegetation, plus 770 acres of woodlands and meadows.

Facilities: parking, garden centre, shop
Open: all year
Address: Tunbridge Wells TN3 8JN
Tel: 01892 893820 - Run by National Trust
Web: nationaltrust.org.uk

Sissinghurst

The Long Border © Seasonal Gardening

A soaring Tudor gate-tower provides the dramatic entrance to one of Britain's finest gardens. Developed by Harold Nicholson and his wife the novelist and poet Vita Sackville-West. It is a charming arrangement of garden rooms, filled with iconic planting schemes, including the famous white garden, cottage garden, herb garden and well manicured rose gardens.

Facilities: parking, restaurant, shop
Open: March to October
Address: Sissinghurst TN17 2AB
Tel: 01580 710700 - Run by National Trust
Web: nationaltrust.org.uk

Squerryes Court

Formal Garden © Philip Talmage (CC2)

Magnificent red brick manor house, with outstanding 18th-c landscape gardens, that include a lake, dovecote and formal gardens. The original gardens were made in 1719 and have been admirably restored since 1987. The main feature is a box edged garden filled with herbaceous planting, and bounded by decorative Edwardian style borders. Excellent woodland walks can be found beyond the formal gardens.

Facilities: parking, winery, shop
Open: see website for details
Address: Westerham, Kent
Tel: 01959 562345
Web: squerryes.co.uk

Walmer Castle

The Broad Walk © Seasonal Gardening

Beautiful gardens surround this house and castle, with its sweeping lawns, colourful herbaceous borders, mature trees and a working kitchen garden. Not to be missed is the 300ft Broad Walk, lined with colourful borders and backed by a massive clipped yew hedge. The idyllic woodland walks and extensive wildlife areas are ideal for bird spotting.

Facilities: parking, shop, cafe, plant sales
Open: all year, daily from Mar to Oct.
Address: Kingsdown Rd, Walmer, Deal CT14 7LJ
Tel: 0370 333 1181 - run by English Heritage
Web: english-heritage.org.uk


Gardens by Area