In the boiling hot sun one Sunday in July we headed for a morning at Scotney Castle; its under an hours drive from us, so not too far and its somewhere my husband has not visited before. We arrived about 11am and I was so surprised to find that there weren't too many visitors. We could easily get tickets for the house, stroll around without being disturbed and get pictures without anyone else being in them. It was delightful.
Our first stop was the modern house, which was built in the early 1800's to replace the original moated castle from the 1370 's. This old castle is now just a folly purposefully destroyed when the new house was built. How frivolous some people are to destroy a perfectly good castle, so just so it looks pretty in your garden!
It took us about half an hour to look around the house, we did it at quite a brisk pace and didn't read all the literature that was available, nor chat to all the wonderful volunteers who were in the house ready to help with their knowledge and passion. My girls found this visit really interesting as the original owner of Scotney Castle was Robert Ashburnham and we now live in Ashburnham Place, his ancestral home.
After a wander round the house we headed down to the gardens and there is quite a steep path down, but you can take it slow. We stopped in the bookshop, where there is a good selection and you can leave a donation for those books you fancy. This area was a kids nature area the last time we visited and there are still some binoculars there to be able to sit and watch out the window to see what might go by.
As always with the National Trust, there are loads of wonderful garden areas to explore, most of which look as if they just occurred on their own. There is also 780 acres to the wider estate that you can walk, picnic and explore.
New this year is the Badger and Pepper play area with tree swings, natural climbing frames, a fabulous ball run and even a mud kitchen. My girls at 11 were a little big for the area really but as we were the only people in there they enjoyed it and we choose to picnic in there as it was super shady.
You can go inside the parts of the old castle that are still standing and there are some lovely views and more history to absorb.
The girls found their favourite place whilst my hubby and I had a relax, a nice shady tree for them to climb. Check out the what to do section on the Scotney Castle website to see all the organised things going on, like outdoor theatre, big tree climbs, organised activities for the National trust's 50 things to do before you are 11 3/4's initiative.
Address: Lamberhurst, Tunbridge Wells, Kent, TN3 8JN
Telephone: 01892 893820
Parking: is limited on site, so you may get turned away at busy times
Dogs: Are allowed in the gardens and wider estate on a short lead and you can borrow one from the visitor reception
Exploring the Estate: Ask at reception if you'd like an explorer map
Food and Drink: is available in the tea room from 10m each day. There are always good beverages, cakes, scones and light meals available and between 12 - 2.30pm you can get hot lunches. We had jacket potatoes when we visited, which were very good.
Toilets and baby change: are right by the entrance to the site, so make sure you use them before going in, or you'll have quite an uphill walk if you need one in a hurry.
Shop: by the tea room and entrance there is a shop, in the usual National Trust style with gifts and pretty home items.
Opening Hours: Generally the garden and estate open at 10am, and the house at 11am and then depending on the season closure is between 3 - 5pm. Make sure you check the website before you travel for accurate times for your chosen day.
Entrance Costs: An adult is £13.50, £6.75 for a child and £33.75 for a family. Of course if you have National Trust membership you won't need to pay a penny, not even the £3 daily parking fee.
Why not pin this post for later?
We also visited in 2014 and I wrote about our visit then as well.
Nothing to disclose, we paid for our own membership and day out.