A stunning display of rhododendrons and azaleas
We visited the enchanting Scotney Castle in Kent for the first-time last autumn. The foliage was turning into many shades of gold, and the russet brown leaves were shimmering in the autumnal sun.
We decided there and then that we would return to Scotney Castle in the spring. Looking forward to experiencing the transformation of the seasons and admiring the rhododendrons and azaleas in full bloom.
We certainly weren’t disappointed.
The meticulous care and commitment that the National Trust team dedicates are astonishing and the gardens are magnificent.
Where is Scotney Castle
How to get to Scotney Castle
- By Train
Scotney Castle is reasonably remote; therefore, the nearest train station is Wadhurst, which is 5.5 miles from Scotney Castle. A prearranged taxi may be advised.
- By Car
Scotney Castle can be accessed from the A21. There’s a free car park for National Trust members, or parking charges apply to non-members visiting the castle.
A brief history of Scotney CastleThe idyllic moated manor house
As soon as you catch a glimpse of Scotney Old Castle, it’s how you would imagine a secluded romantic castle should be. Nestled upon its own island with reflections of the captivating circular tower rippling across the moat.
The 14th-century Scotney Castle is located within the Wealden Kent countryside. It was built in 1377 when the threat of a French invasion was impending.
It is believed that when Scotney Castle was completed, there were originally four round corner towers; however, only one remains today. Over the subsequent 400 years, the ancient medieval castle slowly began to decay, and Scotney fell into decline.
In 1778 the Hussey family resided at Scotney and began to erect a beautiful sandstone family home upon the hill overlooking Scotney Castle. The new home is known as Scotney ‘New’ Castle or Scotney House.
The sandstone for the house was quarried from the estate, and whilst doing so, they unearthed fossilised remains from the Wealden seabed. A footprint impression of a 100-million-year-old Iguanodon dinosaur was discovered.
Where to stay nearby Scotney Castle
- Sissinghurst Castle Farmhouse – Yes, amazingly, you can stay within the grounds of the National Trust Sissinghurst Castle Garden.
This beautiful farmhouse has been lovingly decorated throughout and offers a delicious variety of breakfasts.
- The Woolstore – This delightful holiday cottage is within a short distance of Sissinghurst.
The Woolstore makes a perfect place to stay while discovering the Garden of England. Wake up every morning amongst cherry orchards and sheep meadows.
Blooming rhododendrons and azaleasFragrance in the air
If you're intrigued by Kent's weird and wonderful history, or all unusual stories around the county, then take a peek at "Kent's Strangest Tales".
You won't be able to put it down, you can pick it up for your Kindle or in good old paperback.
Arriving at ScotneyThe early bird catches the worm
It’s so pleasurable brushing past the stunning shrubs; your sense of smell kicks into overdrive. You immediately turn back to relish the sweet fragrance once more.
Planted amongst the structural rhododendrons and striking azaleas is one of my favourite ornamental trees. With their feathery dissected leaves, the Japanese Acer’s deep red garnet foliage blends effortlessly with the surroundings.
If, like us, you enjoy visiting the National Trust gardens around the United Kingdom, then grab yourself a copy of the latest ‘Gardens of the National Trust’.
It’s a beautifully illustrated book, and it won’t be long before you’re planning your next trip.
Discovering Scotney boathouseFull of rustic charm
My advice is to just keep ambling around the footpaths, not worrying about which way you’ll be guided; you never know what you will discover. To our surprise, we spotted the rather dilapidated old boathouse at the end of a moated island.
I imagine it’s been a while since the characterful boathouse last saw any action.
Hiking the Kent Countryside
Scotney Castle is located near Royal Tunbridge Wells. This region of Kent is ideal for hikes as it is in the High Weald (AONB), an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. To explore the trails in this region of Kent, the Ordnance Survey maps that will help you along the route is no. 136, ‘High Weald’.
Alternatively, why not purchase and download the OS Maps App, which covers all of Great Britain.
The natural planting at ScotneyMother natures palette
Escape for a few days
Are you looking for that ‘perfick’ holiday hideaway to relax in while you discover the Garden of England?
After a day exploring the Kent coast and its many historic castles enjoy one of the handpicked properties and unique retreats at Holiday Cottages.
Exploring Scotney quarryVisiting the Walled Garden
Ensure you don’t miss visiting the quarry; the planting here is beautiful, and the colours are so vibrant.
The quarry was excavated in 1835 to provide additional stone to build Scotney House. As I mentioned previously, they unearthed fossilised remains and a 100-million-year-old footprint impression of an Iguanodon during the dig. How impressive.
Just before you leave Scotney Castle, head to Scotney’s one-acre walled garden located by the car park. The walled garden was built in 1840 to provide the Hussey family with delicious fresh fruit and vegetables.
The historic garden had been neglected over the years, and in 2007 the National Trust team restored it back to its former glory.
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