Sissinghurst is one of the most visited gardens in England and offers a series of 10 small and distinct ‘garden rooms’ that are divided by high-clipped hedges and pink brick walls within the grounds of an Elizabethan mansion and medieval ruins.
Each garden is styled with a different colour and/or theme in a profusion of rare plants that merge with traditional English garden flowers to provide year-round colourful displays.
The world famous garden is a prime example of the Arts and Crafts style and features the concept of using colour themes in planting design, first used by the influential British garden designer, Gertrude Jekyll.
Writer and poet Vita Sackville-West, along with her husband, diplomat and writer, Harold Nicolson, created Sissinghurst.
Highlights – Discover the Cottage Garden, which uses only warm colours – reds, oranges and yellows; the White Garden, with its many shades of white, greys and greens; and the Lime Walk, designed for spring effect. Then enjoy lakeside and woodland walks in the unspoilt Wealden countryside.
Size – 2.4ha
History – Sissinghurst was first laid out in 1938 and has been owned and maintained by the National Trust since 1967.
Location – Sissinghurst is 3km northeast of Cranbrook, Maidstone, Kent.
Getting there – Trains from London Charing Cross to nearby Staplehurst take less than an hour, with a special bus service between the station and Sissinghurst operating on Tuesday, Friday, Sunday and Bank holidays. On other days, the Maidston-Hastings bus connects Staplehurst Rail Station to Sissinghurst, a distance of 2km.
Opening times – You can visit Sissinghurst from mid-March to October, from 11am to 6.30pm on Monday, Tuesday, Friday, and from 10 am to 6.30pm on Saturday, Sunday and Bank holidays.
Best time to visit – Any time between April and September. Summer temperatures average 18°C (64°F) with a high of 30°C (86°F), while spring averages 13°C (55°F)and winter averages 5°C (41°F).
Kent is often referred to as the ‘Garden of England’ as it is home to numerous gardens laid-out in a range of styles. Here are three not to miss:
Explore these beautiful terraced gardens created by Sir Winston Churchill. The 4.8ha garden features an avenue of golden roses that runs down the middle of a walled garden, laid out in the Arts and Crafts style, a water garden and an informal garden climbing over a hillside with scenic views over Weald of Kent.
Don’t miss the main house, crammed with an unrivalled collection of Churchill’s paintings, photographs and memorabilia.
Opening times – Located in Mapleton Road, Westerham and open from 11am to 5pm, Wednesday to Sunday all year round (except 25 December).
Explore one of the most beautiful gardens in England, also one of the oldest, dating back to 1346. The 4ha Old English-style garden surrounds a castellated medieval house and features a series of rectangular garden ‘rooms’, each treated in a different way and divided by 3km of yew hedging.
Explore the box parterre, orchard, rose garden and the 100m-long Peony Borders designed by Lanning Roper.
Opening times – Located at Penshurst, Tonbridge and open daily from 10.30am to 6pm.
Set in the grounds of an imposing Victorian mansion, the landscaped gardens cover 4ha and feature: a woodland garden with magnolias, rhododendrons, camellias and azaleas; an Edwardian rock garden with pools; a formal garden with herbaceous borders; and a flint and brick folly.
Impressive clipped yew hedges and many trees frame the extensive lawns and avenues of flowerbeds.
Opening times – The gardens are located in Doddington, near Sittingbourne and are open from 2pm to 5pm every Sunday from Easter Day until the end of September.
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Latest update: Sissinghurst Garden, Kent: 10 January, 2023