Secrets of the Garden of England – PREMIUM TOUR
On this new Kent Gardens tour that uncovers some of the secrets of Kent there’s an opportunity to visit a privately owned house and garden for a special and exclusive visit.
Private visit to Godinton House and Gardens, where your group will be the only group in the house, visits to Riverhill Himalayan Gardens, Great Dixter House and Gardens, Ightham Mote and Bodiam Castle, a ride on the Kent & East Sussex Railway and wine tasting at Chapel Down Winery, the leading producer of English wine.
April - October 2019
Travel to Kent
Consider turning off the motorway or main road for lunch or afternoon tea. Your Greatdays consultant can offer suggestions to suit your itinerary.
Private visit to Godinton House
An exclusive morning visit to Godinton House & Gardens, a haven of peace and tranquillity whose owners treat visitors as ‘friends and family’. As a result, you’ll be dropped off at the front door, and your group will be the only group in the house. Tea and biscuits is followed by a one-hour guided tour of the house that unravels its 600 years of history and reveals a collection of furniture, art, porcelain and curios. Outside, a walled garden, rose garden, Italian garden, terraced lawns and herbaceous borders combine to offer a memorable visit.
Discover Riverhill Himalayan Gardens and Ightam Mote
Riverhill Himalayan Gardens is another of Kent’s hidden gems. John Rogers, who bought the estate in 1840, was a founding member of the Royal Horticultural Society. Today, four generations later, Riverhill is home to Ed and Sarah Rogers and their family who pride themselves in offering a personal welcome to visiting groups. After time to look around for yourself or maybe take refreshments, the Head Gardener will take your group on an entertaining exploration of the grounds, explaining Riverhill’s fascinating history, and its links to the Himalayas, Darwin and the great plant hunters. The upper levels of the gardens are accessed by some relatively steep paths, but the lower levels are accessible by all and tours can be tailored to suit needs. Riverhill’s floral displays, including a magnificent bluebell carpet, are best seen in the spring and early summer.
In the afternoon we visit the National Trust’s Ightham Mote, a lovely 14th century medieval moated manor house that conjures up the history and atmosphere of 650 years ago. The house is surrounded by a beautiful garden with lakes and woodland.
Steam train ride, Bodiam Castle, and another unusual house and gardens
This morning we travel to the market town of Tenterden to join the steam-hauled Kent & East Sussex Railway for a 45-minute ride through the countryside to Bodiam. Over the years the railway has been used as a location in a number of popular TV programmes including Downton Abbey, and The Darling Buds of May.
Bodiam Castle (National Trust) is often referred to as a fairytale castle, complete with drawbridge and moat. Built in the 14th century by Sir Edward Dalymgriggenot as a family home and a defence against invasion by the French, the castle’s structure remains mostly intact. There’s an opportunity to visit the castle and take a light lunch in the tea rooms (lunch not included in price).
A short drive takes us to Great Dixter House & Gardens, the family home of gardener and gardening writer Christopher Lloyd. Today, under the stewardship of a charitable trust, Great Dixter is an historic house, a garden, a centre of education, and a place of pilgrimage for horticulturists from across the world. An optional one-hour tour of the garden (additional charge applies) is available.
We return to our hotel with a stop-off at Chapel Down Winery for a wine tasting. Chapel Down is the leading producer of English wine and there will be opportunities to buy a range of products.
It’s time to say goodbye to the ‘Garden of England’ and travel home.
Preferred Partner Hotels – Inspected by Greatdays staff in November 2016
Mercure Maidstone Great Danes
Close to the M20 in a rural location with extensive grounds and offers 126 good size bedrooms, a spacious bar, lounge and restaurant. There is also a leisure club with indoor pool and gym. Lift and ample free onsite coach parking.
Holiday Inn Maidstone – Sevenoaks
Holiday Inn Maidstone – Sevenoaks hotel is located near junction 2A of the M26 motorway and just a few minutes from the M20. The hotel offers free WiFi and parking, plus a health club with a pool.
There is on-site parking available.
Holiday Inn Ashford North
Located just off the M20, the Holiday Inn offers 92 bedrooms which all have an en-suite bathroom, TV, Tea & Coffee making facilities, Hairdryer and Iron/Ironing Board.
The hotel does not have a lift but is only over 2 floors and has plenty of ground floor rooms. Parking is available on-site
|2019 Dates||From £313.00 per person|