Gardens of Kent & Sussex (RHS Package)
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- Lullingstone Castle’s innovative World Garden of Plants
- Outstanding plant collections at Nymans
- The magnificently manicured gardens of Sissinghurst
- In the footsteps of Queens at Hever Castle
If there is one tour that epitomises the joy of strolling around a perfect English country garden it is this one, with one shining example after another to be savoured and enjoyed.
Kent and Sussex are home to some of the finest gardens in the country and well deserve a tour of their own to be enjoyed to the full. Even if you have visited some of these properties before, such is their allure that you can return again and again, just as you would re-read your favourite novel. First-time visitors will be bowled over by the sheer quality and pedigree of these gardens, which epitomise that indefinable but much-imitated essence of the English country garden.
We start with Great Comp, a plantsman’s delight filled with rare and beautiful shrubs, followed by Lullingstone Castle, home to the innovative World Garden of Plants. Nymans Garden offers an outstanding collection of plants in a theatrical setting and is twinned with Wakehurst Place, the National Trust’s most-visited property in 2009-10. A mouth-watering double-bill follows as we visit stunning Sissinghurst, surely the most-copied flower garden in the world, and Great Dixter, where Edwin Lutyens' original design was embellished by the late Christopher Lloyd. The spectacular gardens of Hever Castle complete a heavenly tour.
We depart from our pick-up points and head towards Kent and our first visit, Great Comp Garden – a beautiful 7 acre garden with many beautiful and rare shrubs, perennials and other hardy plants. From here we continue to the magnificent Lullingstone Castle. The garden was designed by horticulturist Tom Hart Dyke, a modern day plant hunter who followed in the tradition of plant hunters risk their lives in pursuit of fantastic blooms and plants – spending nine month kidnapped by Colombian Guerrillas in 2000.
We continue to our hotel, the Lingfield Park Marriott Hotel & Country Club, where dinner will be served this evening.
After breakfast, we set off for Nymans Garden, an outstanding plant collection in an inspirational setting. There are many rare and exotic plants combined with a pinetum, walled garden, Italian garden and woodland walks. Our next visit is to Wakehurst Place Gardens, near Haywards Heath – which boast a walled garden with cottage style garden plantings, a water garden with a mixture of plants growing in and around the water and the Himalayan Glade. In May, we visit Borde Hill Garden – a beautiful and botanically rich heritage garden, set within over 200 acres of traditional parkland.
We return to the hotel in time for dinner.
This morning, we visit the magnificently manicured gardens of Sissinghurst. It is a large connoisseurs’ garden consisting of a series of small romantic areas enclosed by the surviving parts of an Elizabethan mansion. Sissinghurst is surely as close to gardening perfection as you can get, and it continues to be one of the most-copied flower gardens in the world. We continue to another classic English Country Garden – Great Dixter. No gardener could come to Great Dixter without making discoveries and rekindling a zest for gardening.
We return to the hotel in time for dinner this evening.
We leave the hotel and head for our final visit, the gardens of Hever Castle – once the childhood home of Anne Boleyn. One of the most magnificent areas of the gardens is the Italian Garden, which was designed to display William Waldorf Astor’s collection of Italian sculpture and includes the colourful walled Rose Garden with its 3000 plants. You can stroll through the Tudor Garden, Rhododendron Walk and along Anne Boleyn’s Walk with its collection of trees planted over 100 years ago.
We return to our original pick-up points in the afternoon.
- 3 nights at the 4* Lingfield Park Marriott Hotel & Country Club, Surrey – dinner, bed & breakfast
- Visit to the gardens of Lullingstone Castle, Great Comp, Nymans, Sissinghurst, Great Dixter, Hever Castle and Wakehurst Place (replaced with Borde Hill on the May departure)
- Services of a professional tour manager
Supplements Per Person
- Single room supplement: £90.00
- Insurance: £21.00 (under 65); £42.00 (65-74); £63.00 (75-90)
Please note all timings are approximate and may be changed. They will be confirmed when the joining instructions are sent out, approximately ten days prior to departure.
Departure points and times
(Tothill St, Westminster)
(Copthorne Gatwick Hotel)