Explore the historical gems and inspirational gardens of Kent and East Sussex
Castles and Gardens
Great Dixter House and Gardens - 4.7 miles
A perfect visit for garden lovers. The original house at Dixter, which dates from the mid 15th century, was acquired by a businessman named Nathaniel Lloyd in 1909. He had a 16th century house in a similar style moved from Kent and the two were combined with new work by the architect Edwin Lutyens to create a much larger house, which was re-christened Great Dixter. It is a romantic recreation of a medieval manor house, complete with great hall, parlour, solar and yeoman’s hall. The garden is in the arts and crafts style with profuse, structured planting that features many bold experiments of form, colour and combination. Great Dixter's Website.
Camber Castle, Rye - 7.3 miles
A fascinating journey back into history, Camber Castle lies between Rye and Winchelsea and was originally located on a shingle spit which protected the approach to both towns. There is a limited season for visiting the inside of the Castle in July, August and September but you can visit the outside of the building all year round. View website
Bodiam Castle (National Trust) - 9.3 miles
Archetypal 14th century moated castle with ruined interior - a glimpse of medieval splendour. Voted "Sussex Family attraction of the year”.
The impressive towers and broad moat of Bodiam Castle are like a scene from a fantasy as you gaze at them for the very first time. At a quick glance, it appears to be the very epitome of a medieval castle but in fact Bodiam Castle was built during an evolutionary stage when the nobility wanted more comfortable places to live that offered them security, as well as an outward show of their wealth and rank. View website
Hever Castle - 37.1 miles
The childhood home of Anne Boleyn. The castle has a homely atmosphere and houses historic 16th century portraits, furniture and tapestries and two magnificent Books of Hours (prayer books), both signed and inscribed by Anne Boleyn. There is also a very popular costumed figure exhibition in the Long Gallery that adds to the atmosphere of this beautiful castle. Hever Castle Website
Leeds Castle - 33.7 miles
Leeds Castle is set on two islands on the River Len in the heart of Kent and has been the home to royalty, lords and ladies for over 1000 years. When you visit, you will be transported through 900 years of the castle’s history: an eclectic mix of period architecture, sumptuous interiors and family treasures waiting to be discovered. The internationally renowned aviaries offer a fascinating glimpse into the world of modern conservation and captive breeding programmes while the gardens the gardens offer continuous colour throughout the year. Leeds Castle Website
Battle Abbey (National Trust) - 15 miles
Stand at the centre of the landscape where England’s future was fought. On the 14th October 1066 an army of invading Normans defeated the English at the Battle of Hastings in East Sussex. Imagine the battle as you follow in the footsteps of King Harold and William the Conqueror. Uncover the stories of the day, all vividly brought to life in the exhibition and audio tour. Start planning your attack on the country’s most famous battlefield and abbey ruins, and experience the atmosphere for yourself. It is a great day out for the whole family. National Trust Battle Abbey Website
Scotney Castle (National Trust) - 17.5 miles
Scotney castle is a Victorian country house set in one of England's most romantic gardens surrounded by a beautiful wooded estate. The garden ranks as one of the most romantic in England with the ruined 14th century castle set in a tranquil lakeside setting. There is also a superb display of rhododendrons and azaleas. With a few rooms now open in the mansion, Scotney is well worth a visit on a peaceful afternoon. National Trust Scotney Castle Website
Sissinghurst Castle and Gardens - 15.6 miles
One of the world's most celebrated gardens, Sissinghurst was the creation of Vita Sackville-West and her husband Sir Harold Nicolson. Individual gardens with their colourful floral displays and romantic little compartments make up the garden richness in the intimate setting of the grounds of this Elizabethan mansion. The lakeside and woodland walks are open all year presenting you with lovely unspoilt views of the Wealden countryside. National Trust Sissinghurst Castle and Garden Website
Batemans - 17.4 miles.
An intriguing insight into the life of Ruyard Kipling. Batemans is a Jacobean house that was once the home of Rudyard Kipling. It has been left just as he left it, reflecting the author’s exotic oriental tastes. The delightful gardens run down to the River Dudwell where there is a working watermill. There’s even the opportunity to see Kipling’s 1928 Phantom 1 Rolls-Royce. National Trust Batemans Website