Walmer Castle Gardens
Walmer Castle Gardens

Garden Tours

Walmer Castle and the Cinque Ports

The historic pleasure gardens at Walmer Castle in Kent have been dramatically brought back to life thanks to a £2.3m restoration project funded by English Heritage, and they form the centrepiece of this new tour which also visits the ‘Cinque Ports’ of Hastings, Sandwich, Hythe, Dover, and Romney.

We begin at the quintessential English garden of Pashley Manor on the Kent/Sussex border and continue to Hastings to see the ruins of William the Conqueror’s castle. We visit the Salutation Garden near Sandwich and explore this, one of the best preserved medieval towns in the UK, before moving on to Walmer. A trip on the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway ticks off the third and fourth of our historic ports, and is shortly followed by the fifth as we tour Dover Castle, one of the most impressive of all English fortresses, which has witnessed centuries of history unfold before it.

A visit to Smallhythe Place, actress Helen Terry’s 16th century cottage and rose garden, rounds of our journey through the Garden of England and the Cinque Ports.

What's included?

  •  Accommodation
  •  Services of a professional tour manager
  •  Comfortable coach travel throughout
  •  Meals - as per the itinerary

Today's Price
£595

Deposit: £100 Single supplement: £90

Tour highlights:

  • Pashley Manor’s romantic landscapes
  • Walking in famous footsteps at the extensively rejuvenated Walmer Castle
  • The diminutive yet powerful steam engines of the RH&D Railway
  • Impressive Dover Castle, a key part of the nation’s defences for centuries
  • Theatrical memorabilia at Smallhythe Place

Tour details

Dates 15 September 2020 - 18 September 2020
Duration 4 days
Cost
Today's Price
£595
Deposit: £100 Single supplement: £90 Balance due by 23 June 2020
Activity Level
Tour code BWWAL20B

Departure Points

Location Depart Return
London
Tothill St, Westminster
0845 1615
Gatwick
Copthorne Gatwick Hotel
1000 1500

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.

Book Now or call 01334 657155 if you have any questions

15 September 2020: Itinerary

We depart from our pick-up points in London and Gatwick and for Pashley Manor, an award-winning, quintessential English garden on the Kent/Sussex border, which offers a sumptuous blend of romantic landscaping, imaginative plantings and fine old trees, along with fountains, springs and large ponds.

We continue to Hastings, the first of the ancient Cinque Ports which we will visit. The origins of the Cinque Ports can be traced back to Anglo-Saxon times,when certain south-east ports were granted the local profits of justice in return for providing ships. Here we see the ruins of Hastings Castle, the remains of the stone fortress built after William the Conqueror’s invasion and coronation in 1066.

From here we continue to our hotel, the 3-star Clifton Hotel, Folkestone. Dinner will be served in the evening.

Meals include: Dinner

Hotel: Best Western Clifton Hotel, Folkestone

This morning, after breakfast, we will set off for the Salutation Gardens in Sandwich. The original mansion and its gardens were designed in 1912 by Sir Edwin Lutyens, dividing the grounds into a series of rooms, each with its own unifying theme.

We continue to the nearby town of Sandwich, which has one of the best preserved medieval centres in England, with an opportunity for lunch (not included).

Later we visit Walmer Castle, which was originally built as a Tudor fortress but evolved into a stately home for the Lords Warden of the Cinque Ports, and became the residence of famous names from the Duke of Wellington to Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother. Our main focus is on the gardens, which have been rejuvenated thanks to a £2.3m restoration project. Begun by William Pitt the Younger in 1802, over the years parts fell into decay. The last major addition was in 1997, when Penelope Hobhouse made a new garden to celebrate the birthday of Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, the then Lord Warden. Over the course of our guided tour we will see how dilapidated areas of the garden have been brought back to life and view the new features that have been added to make this a very modern garden experience.

Dinner is served back at the hotel in the evening.

Meals include: Breakfast, Dinner

Hotel: Best Western Clifton Hotel, Folkestone

This morning after breakfast we begin at Dungeness, the starting point for a ride on the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway. Trains are hauled by beautiful 15-inch gauge steam engines which are perfect replicas of their standard gauge cousins. Our route takes us through Romney, one of the original Cinque Ports until its harbour silted up and it was replaced by Rye. Our journey ends at Hythe, which retains its status as one of the Cinque Ports.

We continue to the Pines Garden, near Dover, which has many fine features including a cascade and adjoining lake, a grass labyrinth and organic kitchen garden.

In the afternoon we visit Dover Castle. The castle’s position commands the shortest sea crossing between England and the continent, which has given it immense strategic importance. King Henry II began the building of the present castle in the 1180s, and over the next 800 years its buildings and defences were adapted to meet the changing demands of weapons and warfare. We will enter the rooms of the Great Tower and discover the fascinating underground wartime tunnels along with a guided tour of the underground hospital.

We return to our hotel, where dinner is served in the evening.

Meals include: Breakfast, Dinner

Hotel: Best Western Clifton Hotel, Folkestone

This morning after breakfast we will leave the hotel and travel Smallhythe Place, near Tenterden. The half-timbered house, built in the early 16th century when Smallhythe was a thriving shipbuilding yard, was the home of the Victorian actress Ellen Terry from 1899 to 1928, and contains her fascinating theatrical collection. The cottage grounds include her rose garden, orchard, nuttery and the working Barn Theatre.

Following this, our final visit, we return to our original departure points.

Meals include: Breakfast

15 September 2020: Additional Info

15 September 2020: Accommodation

Offering spectacular views of the English Channel, this traditional Victorian style hotel dates back to 1864, and is steeped in rich history and nostalgia.

15 September 2020: Enquiries

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