Historic Gardens

Sissinghurst Castle, near Cranbrook

Picture of Sissinghurst Castle This iconic 9 acre garden lies nestled in the beautiful Weald of Kent countryside surrounded by 450 acres of ancient woodland and farmland. The gardens, the result of a close collaboration between the writer and gardener Vita Sackville-West and her husband, the diplomat Harold Nicolson, were largely created between 1930 and 1939. The formal structure of the garden is attributed to Harold who described the separate enclosures as a succession of intimacies, whilst Vita was responsible for the exuberant planting that still provides wonderful displays of colour throughout the year. Since 1967, Sissinghurst has been managed by the National Trust.


The Salutation, Sandwich

Picture of The Salutation The Grade I listed manor house designed by the architect Edwin Lutyens at the turn of the 20th century stands in 300 acres of ornamental gardens, also designed by Lutyens, with planting attributed to Gertrude Jekyll. After suffering years of total neglect, the garden has been restored to its former glory by the present owners. Old stone walls surround the garden and a series of garden rooms enclosed by clipped yew hedging reveal a mix of exuberant long borders and traditional planting, reflecting earlier 20th century and contemporary design.


Vinters Park, Maidstone

In the late 18th century the industrialist, James Whatman, extensively developed the medieval park in the English Landscape style. He engaged the renowned landscape gardener, Humphry Repton (1752-1818), who completed one of his famous 'red books' about the site. In the mid-19th century, Whatman's grandson, also James, made further improvements to the landscaped garden: many exotic trees and shrubs were planted, and he created a large kitchen garden. A Victorian barrel bridge and old rockery can still be viewed. The site of the early 19th century house (destroyed by fire in the 1950s) still exists, together with surrounding ha-ha walls, the remains of steps and footpaths leading to a 19th century lake, an avenue of lime trees and an ice house. Vinters Park is now managed as a nature reserve and both the barrel bridge and the ice-house are managed as bat hibernation sites.