Penshurst Place & Gardens
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Closed until Feb 23, 2024

Penshurst Place & Gardens

Penshurst Place & Gardens
4
Temporarily closedClosed until Feb 23, 2024
About
Discover the beauty and tranquillity of this enchanting historic family home and gardens, once the property of Henry VIII. With a unique medieval Baron's Hall, staterooms, and intimate walled Tudor gardens, that have colour and variety throughout the seasons. Penshurst Place is great for a family day out, with a large wooden Adventure Playground, Toy Museum, Woodland Trail, Garden Restaurant, Porcupine Pantry Coffee Shop, a Gift Shop (open all year) and an events calendar full of entertainment.
Duration: 2-3 hours
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  • FSHK
    Zurich, Switzerland273 contributions
    Fabulous historic gem - a good half day's visit with the gardens.
    Amazed that having lived in Epsom and visited what I thought was pretty much every historic house in the SE, this was my first visit last week. Although the weather was dreadful, the setting and the house still looked spectacular and the gardens are beautifully kept, even though there's not much to see at this time of year. I would LOVE to come back and see them in summer as the layouts are incredible. The house was fascinating - seemingly an extraordinary room or a gem of a piece of furniture around every corner. I think the fact it is still privately owned, and lived in, means it has so much more of an atmosphere than an NT property. The baronial hall is a place of wonder. Staff were incredibly lovely and welcoming, cake in the cafe was delicious (they are renovating to something much larger) and I spent quite a lot of money in the excellent shop. I went in order to kill time before a Gatwick flight. I left an absolute fan, and do hope to return on another visit to the UK. The small toy museum is interesting too. Something for everyone.
    Dear FSHK, thank you so much for your generous review. We are delighted that you enjoyed your visit to Penshurst despite the inclement weather! I hope that you can revisit again in the summer when the gardens are in full bloom.
    Written March 22, 2023
    This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
    Visited March 2023
    Written March 19, 2023
  • Hils43
    England, United Kingdom107 contributions
    Very pretty and grand in equal measure.
    Very pretty. Am pleased I came. Efficient and friendly entrance and purchase of ticket and guide book. Car park is fine and not too far away. Penshurst is very delightful. All very human and family scale. The barons hall is a real sight to behold. Sadly, I have left my glasses behind so could not read all the leaflets in each of the rooms. I assured myself that key items would be in the guide book purchased but sadly no. It is a lovely book but a little light on internal paintings and features. But I loved it all nonetheless. There are not lots and lots of rooms to see to manage expectations. There is also a walk down some stone stairs. They do have a holding bar on the side. One elderly lady nearly fell and many people there were very elderly so if you are take care and take it slowly. The gardens are lovely. A suggestion if I can would be to have a few more signs. Not many, just one or two. It is easy to get a bit lost. But they are helpful, especially for the exit. We did not eat in the restaurant. It was a very muggy day but the sign suggested we could not eat outside.
    Thank you for visiting Penshurst Place and for taking the time to review your visit. We're thrilled to read that you enjoyed your visit, the Baron's Hall is one of few still-surviving medieval halls in England and it really is a must see. The guidebook is intended to supplement the in-room guides with additional information about the wider history and family so sadly it does not feature the information you would have needed during your visit as you couldn't make use of the room guides. Thank you for your suggestion regarding signage. We understand it is difficult to navigate the walled gardens from certain areas and this is something we are currently addressing ready for the new season. Food and drink purchased in the cafe can be eaten inside or outside, I am sorry to see our signage may have made it appear otherwise. We will look into this. Thank you again for your visit. I do hope we can welcome you back soon.
    Written September 10, 2023
    This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
    Visited July 2023
    Written July 29, 2023
  • remmingtonLeeds
    167 contributions
    re visit
    good place to visit. The grounds and garden, are also good to walk around. The house has plenty to see, including the newly opened period kitchen. There is an exibit showing details and costumes from the tv series Wolf Hall. There is a childrens play area near the porcupine cafe and gift shop. There is also a toy museum to visit.
    Thank you for visiting Penshurst Place and for taking the time to review your visit. We're thrilled to read you enjoyed your time with us and hope we can welcome you back again soon.
    Written September 10, 2023
    This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
    Visited August 2023
    Traveled solo
    Written September 6, 2023
  • flutefairy
    Borough of Brentwood, United Kingdom469 contributions
    An enjoyable visit
    We thoroughly enjoyed our visit to Penshurst Place on September 9th and thought we got very good value for our money for what was provided. The ancient house was very interesting indeed, as was the toy museum housed in a separate building; the gardens were good too (although being late in the season were a little past their prime). We had an enjoyable lunch at the Porcupine café at the entrance to the house. We noted that there was also children’s playground and a well -stocked gift shop on site. There is plenty of free parking near the entrance. It is worth noting that there are two entrances to Penshurst Place, our SatNav took us to the private entrance (that I also believe is used for weddings) however, it was easy to turn around at this entrance to drive a very short distance to the main visitor entrance. Incidentally, whilst having lunch I looked at the booklet regarding weddings at Penshurst Place and was very surprised to see how reasonable the costs were to have a wedding at such a grand venue. Overall, this was a lovely visit and I think we will return and bring our granddaughters with us in the future.
    Thank you for visiting Penshurst Place and for taking the time to review your visit. We are so glad you had a lovely day out and enjoyed what we offer here at Penshurst Place. We look forward to welcoming you all back soon!
    Written September 22, 2023
    This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
    Visited September 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written September 19, 2023
  • Julie P
    1,779 contributions
    A lovely house and garden
    It's over 40 years since I was last here and I couldn't really remember it, but loved it from the start. The guide in the Great Hall was very welcoming and the other room guides friendly and knowledgeable. We loved the house. It was very hot, so spent less time in the garden, but what we saw we liked and there were plenty of flowers, including the Union Jack flag, which was past its best. The shop had an interesting range of items for sale. The cafe had a limited menu but the quiche and salad were excellent and reasonably priced and we managed to find a shaded spot in the courtyard. The car park is a walk from the house, via the garden and you have to enter via the ticket office. Entry is free to Historic House members and 2 for 1 with the BBC Gardeners World ticket (issued each May).
    Thank you for your kind review and visit to Penshurst Place and Gardens. It's fantastic to read you were able to enjoy much of the Gardens and House despite the warm weather, as well as our other facilities. We certainly hope we can welcome you back again soon.
    Written October 26, 2023
    This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
    Visited September 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written October 4, 2023
These reviews are the subjective opinion of Tripadvisor members and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as wait time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

Popular mentions

4.0
632 reviews
Excellent
325
Very good
192
Average
58
Poor
29
Terrible
28

Mark K
West Malling, UK33 contributions
Aug 2021
Nice gardens (those that are being maintained anyway). Nice playground for the kids. Expensive cafe - £5.50 for 2 small scones and a miniature jar of jam and cream for example. Toilets closed, disabled access is extremely poor. Pretty easy to address by providing ramps, portable or permanent. The 'Toy Museum' really doesn't contain enough exhibits or information to call itself a museum - it's more of a small collection, housed in one room that seems only to be accessible by a flight of steep steps. No good for the disabled or those with poor mobility.

The public is limited to a very small selection of rooms in the house, only ONE of which is accessible to wheelchairs. One of two downstairs rooms simply contains a few photographs of the cast of 'Wolf Hall' and a couple of cabinets produced for the series. That's it. This room is not accessible to wheelchair users, but, quite frankly, they aren't missing anything.

Similar photos are used as 'fillers' in the upstairs 'State Rooms'.
The upstairs 'State Rooms' - I think there were 4 of them) are extremely sparsely populated with exhibits spread out to try and give the impression that there are more than there actually are and I'm pretty sure that staff (volunteers?) were the oldest things in a couple of the rooms.

However, should you be a wheelchair user, or have limited mobility, you can view a DVD of the tour upon request......

Entry to House and Gardens cost us £13 each today and was £7 per child aged 5 to 15. Gardens only were £11 for adults and £6.50 for children. There are family tickets available but these give a meagre saving of £4 for a family of 2 adults & 2 children. Given the incredible limitations in access for wheelchair users and those with limited/poor mobility, I believe that it's actually outrageous to charge them anything for access. I understand that carers get in free, but this doesn't mitigate these limitations.

The gardens are nice to wander around but £11/£6.50 per person for a nice picnic spot is pretty steep.
Written August 14, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Dear Mark, Thank you for your review and for visiting us here at Penshurst Place. I’m sorry to read that after your visit you felt we were simply a nice picnic spot. With 11 acres of beautiful formal gardens, a medieval house and centuries of history behind us, we are much more than that. As a listed building, we are somewhat limited as to the alterations we can make to accommodate our visitors with accessibility issues, though we acknowledge there is always more one can do to ensure all visitors are informed and confident about adjustments to their visit, before they head out, and we will be reviewing how we communicate this information. That leads me to address your issues with the House itself, and whilst I could happily talk through the period furniture and the family portraits in the House and their historical importance to the owners and indeed the nation, you overstepped the line from a constructive review to an insulting one with your offensive comment about our (paid) members of staff. Outside of their working hours, our staff read, research and learn about the Sidney family at Penshurst Place and we are incredibly grateful for their loyalty and passion for our history, the family, and our team. Your comment has negated any positive impact you might have intended to make.
Written September 2, 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

nicolefenton688
Hertfordshire, UK9 contributions
Mar 2020 • Friends
I chose this house because it was up the road from where my friends live but knew very little about it. We were there for about two hours and we were lucky it was a quiet day but it enabled us to see the house in a very quiet environment and have lots of chats with all the volunteers that sit in the rooms who help you answer all your questions. Even though the garden wasn’t in full bloom because it’s early in the season it was absolutely beautiful and daffodils everywhere. We had a cup of tea in the restaurant which was very nice and all the staff are absolutely delightful. The house itself is stunning and in the archway in the garden there is the story of all the owners of the house However the main family have owned the house for over 500 years. They did have some very special guests including Henry the eighth.anne Boleyn father worked there. What makes it even more special is it’s privately owned and still used as a home. It may not be as famous as some of the other houses but it’s definitely one of the most special I’ve ever been to
Written March 11, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

AndreK933
London, UK278 contributions
Oct 2020 • Couples
I only discovered Penshurst Place a few weeks ago whilst looking for local things to do in light of COVID. Found this gem and booked our tickets online quickly. You can either get morning tickets or afternoon tickets, we chose afternoon as we had dinner booked nearby. Not sure if it was COVID or the unpredictable weather but we had the grounds almost to ourselves. This allowed for amazing photos with nobody in them. If I read correctly, with only two staff currently working to maintain the grounds, they were in impeccable condition. We have already decided to visit again next spring/summer to see what the gardens offer then. Baron’s hall was magnificent, the lady in there was so informative and friendly. It was nice to hear the property is still privately owned and lived in.

We got to the porcupine cafe late and technically the kitchen had closed for food but the lady offered to ask the chef if he could prepare a sandwich, which he agreed to. Really appreciated they went to the effort and it added to the general charm of the property.

Lots of COVID precautions in place, even hand sanitiser in the middle of the gardens!

We will definitely be back!
Written October 9, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

machinmad
Yaxley, UK2,490 contributions
May 2022
The castle looms large as you drive through the pretty old village with its Tudor cottages and ancient Pub. The walk to the castle entrance is via a lime tree avenue, you catch glimpses of the gardens as you go.

The great hall entrance is magnificent, the ceiling must be 60 foot high; cavernous. There are plenty of info boards in each room to paint a vivid picture of the artefacts on view and the history behind them. Lots of interesting items and history to learn about. There are also many references and pics of Wolf Hall, which was filmed here.

The gardens comprise many compartments, all different and beautifully manicured. The flag garden is particularly stunning. There are plenty of seats dotted around to just sit and admire the views. Henry VIII courted Anne Boleyn here, you can imagine them wondering the grounds together.

Adult entry is just £13.50, a seal for this historic slice of England.
Written May 30, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Thank you for taking the time to leave a review about your experience at Penshurst Place. We're so pleased to read how you enjoyed your visit to our medieval Baron's Hall and the 11 acres of formal gardens that surround it. The walk from the visitor entrance to the House via the avenue of trees you mention is certainly an unbeatable sight. We do hope we can welcome you back, soon.
Written June 7, 2022
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Norman237
New Romney, UK60 contributions
Jul 2021
Beautiful buildings and could been a beautiful park. spoilt by badly maintained bits of garden,The gardens the roses were full of dead flowers had not been deheaded. One of the ponds weeds had been taken out and left there smelt awful. Toilets one set closed the others dirty. The main prk area there were children charging about one fell into a bush and is was damaged, mothers stood talking and ignoring them. The is a play area for children. The web page said thee were only 2 rooms down stairs the disabled could see. Ok I saw one, asked where the other one was was directed to a door whhich had a huge step. very helpful for a mobility scooter. The one cafe open was expensive and having a mobility scooter the was nowhere to sit inside. Big step.We have been to many castles and country houses and the standards here are lower, The prices were higher. the lack of care and staff was obvious. we can say we enjoyed our visit but it could have been so much better.
Written July 30, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Poppy2
London, UK10 contributions
Jul 2020 • Friends
We were a group of 4, so paid £42 collectively to walk the gardens as the house was closed due to the current situation.
None of the herbaceous borders were particularly well cared for, in fact, they looked rather scruffy in parts. Dead heads everywhere, in dire need of irrigation, and just indifferent. We was hoping to be inspired, but to be honest, our own gardens have much to see and enjoy. I'm sure, when the house reopens, the visit would be more pleasurable. So, if you're an avid gardener, like us, I'd give it a miss for the time being.
Written July 19, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
We are surprised and disappointed to read your comments following your recent visit. Since reopening the gardens in June following ten weeks of enforced closure, we have been overwhelmed by the positive feedback from visitors about the colour and vibrancy of the garden and the collections, and the manner in which they have been maintained. We are immensely proud of our Head Gardener and his small team who have worked tirelessly in exceptionally difficult circumstances to present the gardens in such excellent condition.
Written July 21, 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Julie F
30 contributions
Aug 2020
Visited here whilst on holiday in August 2020.
You are required to book online in advance for either a morning or afternoon slot. The car park is very big so no problems parking.
On arrival we were greeted by helpful and friendly staff and given details of what we could do and and at what time due to covid restrictions etc. There are plenty of sanitising stations dotted around the grounds.
The gardens were stunning and as the weather was stunning too, the gardens were looking at there magnificent best. There are plenty of shaded spots and benches to rest the legs and have a water break etc.
Due to covid, only the Barrons Hall was available to view. Wow! What a hall. So interesting and fascinating if you are interested in History. Again, staff were informative and helpful in this area too.
For smaller children there was a brilliant wooded play area which was safe and enjoyable and this area too has picnic benches should you require them.
You can purchase drinks and ice creams or bring your own food to enjoy a picnic.
On exit you go through the gift shop where we had a lovely chat with the lady who worked there. There is no pressure to buy anything.
We were very impressed with our visit. The teenager who was with me asked if we could come again where more of the house is open!
We need to support these places as without our support they will be lost forever and a part of our history will be lost with it. Ignore the negative reviews and visit this gem of a place if you are in this area. You will not be disapointed.
Written August 16, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Thank you so much for visiting and for your kind review. It looks like you really got a lot out of your day with us and we are all thrilled to see how many of our attractions you enjoyed. We have been truly humbled by all the support we have received in these difficult times, and hope we can welcome you back for another visit very soon.
Written August 20, 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Googly2010
Tonbridge, UK850 contributions
Jul 2020
This was our first family outing with 2 grandchildren since the lockdown and we passed a lovely morning at Penshurst. I hate to say it but the restriction on numbers has made the place so much more peaceful, especially the childrens’ play area. We were told by a staff member that the current regime is financially viable which is reassuring to hear. We especially liked the nature trail by the lakes, seeing several types of butterflies and also a stoat or weasel. The gardens were great and the children enjoyed feeding the fish. The only disappointing element was the rather soft/pappy bread rolls served with the hot sausages in the Porcupine cafe, where very safe distancing/hygiene measures are in place. We bought a family season ticket so will return with the other “brood”!
Written July 26, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Thank you so much for your kind review about your visit. We are working hard to navigate the new ways of doing business that we currently find ourselves in, and its reassuring to hear that this saw you have an enjoyable day. We will pass along your comments regarding your experience in the cafe to our partner caterers, and look forward to welcoming you back as a season ticket holder very soon. Thank you.
Written August 12, 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

PARASCOSA
Knebworth, UK270 contributions
Aug 2020
We consider that the entrance price (£11.50) just for the gardens and the baronial hall was extremely steep and very poor value for money. The map we were given was extremely poor and next to useless and so we had to ask staff where to find things as the signage was also poor.

We had with us a small child in a push-chair and there was only one ramp available; all the the rest was steps.

We spent a far shorter time in the gardens as, apart from the Union Flag Garden, there was really nothing of interest to see.

To cap it all, the only exit was via the gift shop and so we both had to put on our masks just to get out of the place.
Written August 11, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
I am sorry to read that you did not find our map to be of useful during your visit, this is the first feedback of this kind we have had, but we will take a look at it to see if there are ways it could be made clearer. We believe our entrance price of £10.50 to be a fair price for the variety of green space to enjoy whilst here, including Lancup Well where one can sit by the lake, the 11 acres of formal gardens, large Adventure Playground, Woodland Trail and the newly re-opened Baron's Hall, the latter of which is not normally included in our £10.50 garden entrance ticket. As a grade listed property and garden, we are limited in the ramps that we are able to install, but do have an accessible route map available, I am sorry that this was not bought to your attention when you entered. Thank you for bringing the issues you encountered to our attention. I do hope we can welcome you again soon.
Written August 20, 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

G B
Bromley, UK14 contributions
Aug 2023 • Family
Oh dear, the skids are really under Penshurst Place, especially when you take younger kids there for a fun outing. It is now very expensive, which might just be acceptable if the site offered more. It doesn’t. Whilst the formal gardens have charm and enough nooks and crannies to divert little ones for a few minutes, the same cannot be said of the main ‘play’ area with its now much lowered aerial walkway. The few playground items are scruffy, as is the parkland itself, with litter, lack of seating and an abysmal country walk that has almost nothing going for it. The ‘museum’ in the main house is a tired display, barely worth a look.
I’ll resist itemising the catering offers. Let’s say that poorly led staff do their best.
The only sign of investment in the site in recent years - we’ve be going there for forty years - is the visitor shop. This is clearly the financial focus of the owners.
It is difficult to justify the high entrance charges for a family when there is so little on offer that meets the standard we have a right to expect. This is a cash-cow that is being milked dry by its noble owners. It is a shame, but our advice must be: give it a miss.
Written September 5, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Dear GB, Thank you for visiting Penshurst Place and for taking the time to write down your thoughts on our historic family home and gardens. We’re sorry to read you didn’t enjoy your visit but some of your comments need to be addressed directly: 1. “It is now very expensive”. We benchmark our prices annually against similar local attractions and our current admission prices are cheaper than all local National Trust sites, and cheaper or the same price as local private attractions. 2. “The few Playground items are scruffy…”. There are more than thirty pieces of play equipment in the adventure playground, designed for children of all ages, and more items are added each winter. They are maintained and serviced on a weekly basis, and inspected by ROSPA annually. The high walk was lowered in height more than twenty years ago on safety advice, so it seems curious to mention this now. Overall, the playground is one of the most popular attractions at Penshurst Place, and regularly praised by families. 3. “litter, lack of seating and an abysmal country walk”. The 2,500 acres of parkland and the two estate walks we recommend are open all year round for dog walkers, ramblers and cyclists to enjoy, at no cost to users (which included free parking). The footpaths and bridleways are regularly maintained by the Estate team. The hundreds of thousands of visitors who visit the Estate each year, many of whom write to thank the Estate for access, would wholeheartedly disagree with your comments, as do we. 4. “The ‘museum’ in the main house is a tired display, barely worth a look.” The Toy Museum is just one of many exhibits in our House, including ten staterooms. Generations of families return regularly to enjoy the collection of historic toys, including our famous Drinking Bear. The majority of our visitors, young and old, would not recognise your description. 5. “The only sign of investment in the site in recent years….is the visitor shop.” If you really have been visiting Penshurst Place for forty years, you cannot fail to have noticed that, in the last ten years, there has been very significant investment in a new café (including a recent extension due to its popularity); a new exhibition in the house (the Victorian kitchen); new toilet facilities; the adventure playground; the woodland trail; many new garden borders and displays; visitor paths and access routes, as well as the usual annual costly maintenance of a historic property and grounds. We cannot agree that the entrance charges are difficult to justify, or that there is little on offer, as is clearly evidenced by the vast majority of reviews on this site. I am glad that you appear to have enjoyed the gift shop, but comments about ‘cash cows being milked’ are vulgar and demean whatever arguments you are trying to make. You are of course entitled to your opinions, as we are entitled to take issue with them. Please feel free to contact me directly (Ben Thomas) if you would like to discuss your visit further.
Written September 8, 2023
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

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