As a child, I spent many weekends and school holidays visiting (being dragged) around various National Trust properties, stately homes and grand gardens. At the time, I didn’t really appreciate the beauty of the places we saw, mostly because my number one goal was to find the biggest hill to roll down, but now that it’s less socially acceptable for me to loll about in landscaped gardens, I’ve started to enjoy the other elements a bit more.
Just outside Lamberhurst you’ll find Scotney Castle, and with a manor house, moated castle and gardens it ticks all of the boxes (and yes, there are some sizeable hills if rolling is your thing).
From where I live, this National Trust property is only a 20 minute drive away, so it’s a great place to go for a Sunday stroll. There are some lovely picnic spots for lunch with a view – although the tearooms are pretty good too.
Visiting in the springtime is stunning because it’s when the gardens wake up from winter and the colours start to burst through – but autumn at Scotney is also not to be missed. Not only are the browns and reds of the leaves against the backdrop of the castle beautiful, it’s also hop picking season, and as the only working hop farm in the National Trust’s collection, it’s well worth visiting and taking one of the guided hop walks.
Scotney is a great day out for families with kids and dogs, but it’s equally as nice if, like me, you have no children and pets that aren’t conducive to lead walking (crazy cats). It’s just off the A21, so really easy to access from Tunbridge Wells, the Wealden areas of Kent and even from the coast.