Gardens of Kent & Sussex 2019
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- Lullingstone Castle’s innovative World Garden of Plants
- Outstanding plant collections at Nymans
- The magnificently manicured gardens of Sissinghurst
- Delicious lunch and guided tour at Gravetye Manor
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. After lunch at the garden's Old Dairy Tearoom, 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 4* Coulsdon Manor, where dinner will be served this evening.
After breakfast, we set off for the Sussex Prairie Garden at Henfield, where we are lucky enough to be led on a guided tour by owners Paul and Pauline McBride. After a lovely picnic at the garden, we continue to 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.
We return to the hotel in time for dinner.
This morning, we embark on an 'early bird visit' to the magnificently manicured gardens of Sissinghurst, before they open to the general public. 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. After lunch in nearby Hawkhurst, 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 to Wakehurst Place Gardens, near Haywards Heath. The gardens here 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.
After our exploration of Wakehurst, we continue to Perch Hill, the garden of well-known cook, writer, gardener and TV presenter Sarah Raven. After a delicious lunch, we enjoy a special guided tour in the company of the Head Gardener, before returning to our original pick-up points.
- Three nights at the 4* Donnington Manor Hotel, Sevenoaks on a dinner (with wine), bed and breakfast basis
- Two lunches
- Comfortable coaching thoughout
- Visit to Great Comp Garden, Lullingston Castle, Sussex Prairie Garden, Nymans Garden, the gardens of Sissinghurst, Great Dixter, Wakehurst Palace Gardens, and the gardens of Gravetye Manor
- Services of a professional tour manager
Supplements Per Person
- Single room supplement: £195
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.
30/05/2019 from £795pp
24/06/2019 from £795pp
Departure points and times
(Tothill St, Westminster)
(Gatwick Airport, outside Copthorne Hotel)