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Not-to-Miss Gradens near Cranbrook

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Not-to-Miss Gradens near Cranbrook

We will be staying in Cranbrook in late May 2012 and want to visit several gardens. Sissinghurst is a given, but what are other ones we shouldn't miss?

We are avid gardeners living in the US and especially enjoy charming gardens designed with rooms, woodland gardens, and rose gardens.

We also plant to visit Hever Castle and would like to see one "stately home" with gardens, if possibly.

16 replies to this topic
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1. Re: Not-to-Miss Gradens near Cranbrook

Make sure you don't go on a Wed/Thurs to Sissinghurst as the gardens are closed

(as a friend discovered)

posts: 2,250
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2. Re: Not-to-Miss Gradens near Cranbrook

Sissinghurst is a National Trust property (NT members get in free) and the NT own hundreds of old houses and gardens.

Visitors from the USA can join the NT for one or two weeks BEFORE they come and use their NT pass for all the NT properties.

It is called a National Trust Touring Pass and you can read more here


Note the pass must be sent to your HOME address before you set off so make sure you join in plenty of time. You CANT join this scheme once you are here.

Edited: 3:41 pm, November 17, 2011
posts: 2,250
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3. Re: Not-to-Miss Gradens near Cranbrook

If you go to the National Trust page for Sissinghurst (see below), in the top right they have a list of "places nearby".

You can click on the links and find out more about those places.

Of course those places may also have THEIR "places nearby" (which may be different) so by looking at all the links you can build up a picture of some of the houses and gardens near Sissinghurst.


Edited: 3:45 pm, November 17, 2011
posts: 2,250
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4. Re: Not-to-Miss Gradens near Cranbrook

As mikscotty says, check all the opening and closing times of all NT properties you want to visit.

These are not commercial locations as such, and most are manned by volunteers, so they will often close one or two days a week, and the days can vary by location.

Also often the grounds / gardens can be open longer than the house, if you want to get there early before the house opens or stay late after the house has shut.

Bath, UK
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for Budapest, Hungary
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5. Re: Not-to-Miss Gradens near Cranbrook

Depends what you mean by close - less than an hour by car ?

Scotney falls into that categoryt, and is a National Truss property


Bodiam is my favourite in the area (my cousin lives nearby) my Mother used to call it the most castley castle in England - also an NT property


Bayham Abbey is not far from Scotney, it was used for the chuch service scenes in the film Oh What a Lovely War


Finally Great Dixter, which is Christpher Lloyds magnum opus.


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6. Re: Not-to-Miss Gradens near Cranbrook

I have had a look at the NT map for the area and it seems there are 7 houses/gardens nearby to Cranbrook (they circle it). I cant comment on any of the other 6 having only been to Sissinghurst.:

1) Sissinghurst (of course)

2) Sprivers Garden

3) Scotney Castle

4) Batemans (Rudyard Kipling's home)

5) Bodiam Castle

6) Smallhythe Place (Ellen Terrys house)

7) Lamb House

Slightly further away to the West (but all well worth a visit - I have been to all three) are:

1) Wakehurst Place (this is owned and run by Kew Gardens)


2) Sheffield Park and Garden - wonderful park and gardens


3) Nymans


These 3 above are all near each other and all internationally renowned.

Edited: 4:05 pm, November 17, 2011
Good old Sussex by...
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7. Re: Not-to-Miss Gradens near Cranbrook

"Slightly further away to the West (but all well worth a visit - I have been to all three) are:

1) Wakehurst Place...

2) Sheffield Park and Garden...

3) Nymans...

These 3 above are all near each other and all internationally renowned."

This is a good call. The soil and conditions in Mid Sussex apparently allow some interesting stuff from far flung parts to flourish (can you tell I'm not an expert ?) which is why they were sited here there in the first place. Nymans is my favourite, but you could probably see two of these in a day. About an hour's drive from Cranbrook.

PM me if you need some pub recommendations for luncheon - or just take a picnic !


Canterbury, United...
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8. Re: Not-to-Miss Gradens near Cranbrook

Bear in mind the OP said "gardens" and not ruins - which is what Bodiam and Bayham Abbey are - Bodiam is a spectacular castle ruin but not for one seeking gardens.

There is also:

Bedgebury National Pinetum

Penshurt Place

Hole Park - famous for bluebells in May


Groombridge Place

Great Comp

Lullingstone World Garden

Emmetts (NT)

Good call for the world-famous Great Dixter

Also look at the National Gardens Scheme (NGS) for small private gardens that open on occasional dates for charity http://www.ngs.org.uk/

Edited: 4:28 pm, November 17, 2011
posts: 2,250
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9. Re: Not-to-Miss Gradens near Cranbrook

>>>Bear in mind the OP said "gardens" and not ruins -

Yes but I was mainly commenting that if they bought an NT card they would have other places to visit nearby.

Also many (but not all) buildings and castles have gardens of some kind, even if they are not known for their gardens.

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10. Re: Not-to-Miss Gradens near Cranbrook

Good suggestion from everyone.

Bodiam, although plenty of grass and trees does not really have any flower gardens.

Bedgebury National Pinetum is a lovely place to walk and cycle and it has a huge collection of pines and conifers from all over the world, some very rare but once again no flower gardens.


Probably the nearest to Cranbrook after Sissinghurst is Hole Park in Rolvenden and as you are visiting in May you should be in very good time for their famous bluebells.


One other place that has not been mentioned is Godinton House on the outskirts of Ashford, not so well known but beautiful house and gardens.


You need to check the opening times of the last two places as they can sometimes be restricted.

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