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Gardens of Kent and Sussex holiday cottages

Gardens of Kent and Sussex

Kent is described as the ‘Garden of England’ and Sussex has a large percentage of beautiful woodland and miles of spectacular coast. It stands to reason that the people who live there are inspired by their exceptional surroundings enough to apply it to their own gardens, regardless of scale. Take a look at our guide to public gardens across both Sussex and Kent.

Sussex

GREAT DIXTER

The garden of the late, great Christopher Lloyd, one of Britain’s best known, and most innovative gardeners. Christopher Lloyd grew up at Great Dixter, an impressive estate featuring a Tudor house, and landscaped its gardens for more than 40 years. The gardens are now run by a charitable trust and is one of the most famous twentieth century Arts and Crafts gardens.

  • Where: Northiam, East Sussex
  • Opening times: 11am-5pm Tuesday-Sunday and bank holidays, from April-November
  • Prices: adults from £9, children from £1.50, under-5s free
  • Facilities: gift shop, café, picnic area, parking, toilets, some disabled access

PASHLEY MANOR GARDENS

Pashley Manor Gardens is located on the border of Sussex and Kent. The gardens showcase wonderfully romantic, mixed planting schemes and it is characteristic of the type of classic English Garden that many horticulturalists want to achieve. Surrounding the Tudor and Georgian manor house, the gardens are decorated with an array of fountains, old trees and ponds. Try to pay Pashley Manor Gardens a visit in the late spring when the tulips are in bloom.

  • Where: Ticehurst, East Sussex
  • Opening times: 10am-5pm Tuesday-Saturday and bank holidays, from April-October
  • Prices: adults £10, children £5, under-6s free
  • Facilities: gift shop, café, picnic area, parking, toilets, some disabled access

HERSTMONCEUX CASTLE AND GARDENS

Herstmonceux Castle is a picture-perfect edifice of the kind you would expect to see in a fairy tale. Tours of the Castle must be pre-booked, however you are free to explore the gardens to your heart’s content. There are around 300 acres of woodland and a number of themed gardens to explore, which include the Elizabethan garden, the rose garden and the butterfly garden. The estate is also home to an amazing observatory, which is also open to the public.

  • Where: Herstmonceux, East Sussex
  • Opening times: 10am-6pm April-September, 10am-5pm in March and October
  • Prices: adults £6, concessions £5, students and children £3, under-5s free, family tickets £14
  • Facilities: tearoom, parking, toilets, dogs allowed

BORDE HILL GARDEN

With great views over the Sussex Weald, Borde Hill is home to 17 acres of formal gardens, designed as a series of ‘outdoor rooms’, and a previous winner of the HHA’s Garden of the Year. Each has its own individual theme, from the Azalea Ring to the Italian Garden, and is just as special as the last. The garden showcases the work of the Great Plant Hunters, who from 1893-1937 brought a variety of shrubs, trees and plants from around the world here.

  • Where: Haywards Heath, West Sussex
  • Opening times: 10am-5pm from 25th March-2nd October, 10am-6pm during July and August
  • Prices: adults £8.20, concessions £7.80, children £5.50, under-3s free
  • Facilities: café, restaurant, shop, parking, toilets, play area, disabled access, dogs welcome

Kent

HEVER CASTLE & GARDENS

The former home of the infamous Anne Boleyn, the second doomed wife of King Henry VIII. Set within magnificent gardens, from the majestic formal Italianate Garden and topiary chess set to the informal meanderings of the lakeside and Sunday Walk, the gardens of Hever Castle are a Kentish must-see. For children, try the Water Maze on Sixteen Acre Island, while the Yew Maze challenges both adults and children alike!

  • Where: Hever, Kent
  • Opening times: open from 10.30am – check website for seasonal opening times, closed from Jan 2nd-Feb 9th
  • Prices: adults £14.20, seniors £12.70, students £12.10, children £9, under-5s free, family tickets £38.90
  • Facilities: restaurant, café, shop, parking, toilets, play area, some disabled access, dogs welcome

LEEDS CASTLE

Leeds Castle is a revelation - you will never forget the first time you see the castle. Sitting majestically in the still waters of its moat, surrounded by 500 acres of parkland and gardens, Leeds Castle is worthy of its accolade, ‘The Loveliest Castle in the World’. Highlights include the Culpeper Garden, an informal cottage garden, the Woodland Garden, carpeted with daffodils, azaleas and rhododendrons, and the Lady Baillie Mediterranean Garden Terrace.

  • Where: Leeds, Kent
  • Opening times: 10am-6pm April-September, 10am-5pm October-March
  • Prices: adults £24.90, seniors and students £21.90, children £16.90, under-4s free – tickets include repeat visits for a year
  • Facilities: restaurant, café, shop, parking, toilets, play area, some disabled access

GODINTON HOUSE & GARDENS

Godinton House & Gardens is a tranquil haven of beautifully landscaped gardens tucked away in the Kent countryside. The 12 acres of gardens offer a mix of a secluded walled garden, fragrant rose gardens, and herbaceous borders, all surrounded by ancient parkland. Much of the design is based on Reginald Blomfield’s of 1898, though the gardens, which include the walled garden, rose garden and Italian garden, span four centuries of landscaping.

  • Where: Ashford, Kent
  • Opening times: 1pm-6pm from March-November
  • Prices: adults £5, children free
  • Facilities: tearoom, parking, toilets, picnic area

DODDINGTON PLACE GARDENS

Set within the grounds of a Victorian mansion, Doddington Place contains a series of notable gardens, as well as extensive lawns and avenues framed by impressive hedges and towering trees. Take the Wellingtonia Walk through the Woodland Garden, unusual for this part of the country, see the flowerbeds and clipped yews of the Sunken Garden and behold the sight of the Folly Garden in spring.

  • Where: Sittingbourne, Kent
  • Opening times: 11am-5pm Wednesdays Sundays and bank holidays, from April 16th-September 30th
  • Prices: adults £7, concessions £6, children £2
  • Facilities: tearoom, parking, toilets, some disabled access, dogs welcome

RIVERHILL HIMALAYAN GARDENS

Riverhill is one of the most unusual gardens in Kent, showcasing a variety of gardens decorated with sculptures. The gardens here have been tended to for 170 years, and include both historic and contemporary styles. From the grass-sculpted terraces of the walled garden to the amazingly colourful jungle section, there is something here for everyone to enjoy.

  • Where: Sevenoaks, Kent
  • Opening times: 10.30am-5pm Wednesday-Sunday and bank holidays, from March 18th-September 10th
  • Prices: adults £8.25, seniors £7.45, children £5.95, under-4s free, family tickets £26
  • Facilities: café, shop, picnic area, parking, toilets, some disabled access, dogs welcome

GOODNESTONE PARK GARDENS

Renowned for its collection of ancient trees, Goodnestone Park Gardens is home to parkland, woodland, gardens and an arboretum. In the woodland garden you’ll be able to marvel at the enormous sweet chestnuts and oaks, as well as the tallest southern beech in the UK. The walled garden is one of Kent’s best, the walls decorated with climbers and many surprises are found throughout, including enormous wisterias.

  • Where: Goodnestone, Kent
  • Opening times: 11am-5pm Tuesday-Friday, Sundays and bank holidays, between April and September
  • Prices: adults £7, seniors £6.50, students £5, children £2, under-6s free, family tickets £16
  • Facilities: tearoom, shop, parking, toilets

GARDENS MAP

Find all of the gardens mentioned in this guide in the handy map below and look for a great garden near you.

LOOKING FOR MORE IDEAS?

If you’re looking for more ideas on great places to go in Kent and Sussex, check out our guide to vineyards in Kent and Sussex. Here you can get an insight into the vastly growing wine industry in south-east England and of course taste some of the products made on site.

Our family days out guide is also full of great ideas of attractions and places to visit if you’re visiting Kent or Sussex with the kids.

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