Pictured: A gardener at Chartwell. (Photo credit: National Trust Images and Chris Lacey).
If vibrant floral colours, scented displays and relaxing green spaces are exactly what your group is after this summer, then look no further than this list of recommended Kent-based gardens.
Some of the National Trust’s head gardeners have picked out their top outdoor spaces to visit during the summer months, and the options include best places for blooms, colour bursts and technicolour borders.
Chartwell, near Westerham
From ponds to rose gardens and lakes to orchards, the garden at Sir Winston Churchill’s former family home is alive with colour in the summer months. Wander the top terrace of the kitchen garden to admire the pink and purple borders and enjoy majestic yellow displays of the golden rose avenue.
The head gardener loves: Chartwell’s collections of lilies, weigela, and technicolour sweat peas.
Sissinghurst Castle Garden, near Cranbrook
Pictured: The white garden in July at Sissinghurst Castle Garden. (Photo credit: National Trust Images and Marianne Majerus).
Vita Sackville-West, the poet and writer, began transforming Sissinghurst Castle in the 1930s with her diplomat husband, Harold Nicolson. Visitors today can enjoy architectural planning of the garden rooms and the colourful, abundant planting in the gardens, which is said to reflect the romance and intimacy of Vita’s poems and writings.
The head gardener loves: the new quince trees in the white garden and the wildflowers in the newly planted meadows.
Emmetts Garden, near Sevenoaks
Pictured: The lily pond in the rock garden in August at Emmetts Garden. (Photo credit: National Trust Images and Andrew Butler).
Emmetts Garden is an Edwardian estate that was owned by Frederic Lubbock, becoming both the plantsman's passion and a much-loved family home. The garden was laid out in the late 19th century, and contains many exotic and rare trees and shrubs from across the world.
The head gardener loves: the unusual wedding cake tree in the north garden.
Ightham Mote, near Sevenoaks
Pictured: Aubrieta flowering on the moat wall, in the garden at Ightham Mote. (Photo credit: National Trust Images and Andrew Butler).
Built nearly 700 years ago, Ightham Mote has seen many changes and been owned by Medieval knights, courtiers to Henry VIII and high society Victorians. The house is surrounded by peaceful gardens with an orchard, water features, lakes and woodland walks.
The head gardener loves: the café, where many fruit and vegetables grown on site are used in the produce sold to visitors.
Scotney Castle, Lamberhurst in Kent
Pictured: The walled garden in July at Scotney Castle. (Photo credit: National Trust Images and John Miller).
Scotney Castle boasts a country house, romantic garden and 14th century moated castle, all in a beautiful wooded estate stretching 770 acres. Garden highlights include a walled garden stocked with fruit trees and wild flower meadows.
The head gardener loves: the formal gardens around the estate, as well as the rhododendrons and azaleas that create a ‘fairy-tale feel’.
Group visiting National Trust gardens
Discounted entry rates, bespoke tours and familiarisation trips are available for groups at a number of National Trust properties.
GTOs can organise group trips by calling 0344-800 2329.
For further information visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk.