Hands up who’s got cabin fever! Me!
If you’re like me and still on furlough but not quite sure where you can visit now some places are open and some aren’t, fear not! I have compiled a little list here of where to go in Kent during lockdown to give you some sunny summer inspiration.
Scotney Castle is a 14th century castle surrounded by beautiful gardens situated in Lamberhurst near Tunbridge Wells. The National Trust have organised the site so it’s a one-way route around the moat so you can view the scenic castle from different angles – perfect for that insta snapshot! At present you must pre-book before you visit (tickets are released every Friday) and you cannot go inside the castle, you can only walk the grounds. There is a little kiosk on site selling drinks and ice cream, plus Bewl Water is a 6 minute drive away if you want to make more of a day of it.
Hush Heath Estate
Hush Heath Estate is a winery in Staplehurst. Under normal circumstances they would be offering vineyard tours, wine tasting and lovely food, which we wish we could have enjoyed. However, at time of writing, they have opened their doors for FREE self-guided tours of their estate. This basically means you can pop along and wander the grounds (following the designated social distancing route), pre-booking is not essential and you can buy a bottle of wine after your walk if you wish to. Our walk lasted around 45 minutes, we didn’t buy anything but we’d love to come back for some wine tasting once things return to normal.
Mount Ephraim Gardens
Mount Ephraim Gardens is a lovely estate near Faversham consisting of a country house and gardens. Due to Covid-19 the house is closed at present but the gardens are open to visitors Wednesdays to Sundays. Pre-booking is not required but do check their website (as with all of these places) for the most up-to-date information. We enjoyed a couple of hours here and took a picnic with us too.
Riverhill Himalayan Gardens
Named after some of the plants from the Himalayas, Riverhill Himalayan Gardens is a pretty, historic estate in Sevenoaks. Dogs are welcome and entry is via pre-booked timed tickets available via their website. The social distancing one-way system is a little haphazard in my opinion as we did end up crossing paths with people but as the gardens are fairly large, we weren’t too concerned. There are plants and garden ornaments available to purchase at the entrance, so we bought a peach blossom (which looks like candyfloss!). There’s also a cafe selling a few takeaway items but I wouldn’t bother as they charged me £5 for a Calippo and a Fab. £5 for a bit of what is essentially flavoured ice seems quite steep to me, so pack a picnic instead.
Penshurst Place and Gardens
Just a 15 minute drive away from Riverhill Himalayan Gardens is Penshurst Place. Under normal circumstances there’s a few different things to see such as the house and toy museum but thanks to Coronavirus it’s just the gardens you can visit at present. Bookings are separated into morning and afternoon slots and must be booked online. We booked an afternoon slot and visited the same day as we went to Riverhill. Despite furloughing most of the gardening team, the gardens were still well kept. We packed a picnic and enjoyed it in the shade overlooking the lovely gardens.
Note: due to current circumstances I would advise checking each garden’s website before visiting for the most up-to-date information. Also note that I was NOT given any freebies or anything, so all opinions are fair and my own.
Stay safe x
If you liked this you may enjoy some of my other posts about South East England.