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Castles and great houses

Scotney Castle

Scotney Castle, Lamberhurst TN3 8JN
Scotney is not one but two houses. At the top of the hill is the new house, designed by Anthony Salvin in Elizabethan style and built in 1837 for Edward Hussey III, who took the ‘Picturesque’ style as his inspiration. At the bottom of the valley are the romantic ruins of a medieval castle and moat. This is the focal point of the celebrated gardens featuring spectacular displays of rhododendrons, azaleas and kalmia in May/June with trees and shrubs providing autumnal colour. The estate is open all year, offering a variety of walks through beautiful parkland, woodland and farmland.

Bodiam Castle

Bodiam Castle, Bodiam TN32 5UA

One of the most famous and evocative castles in Britain, Bodiam was built in 1385 as both a defence and a comfortable home. The exterior is virtually complete and the ramparts rise dramatically above the moat. Enough of the interior survives to give an impression of castle life. There are spiral staircases and battlements to explore, and wonderful views of the Rother Valley from the top of the towers. In the impressive gatehouse is the castle's original wooden portcullis, an extremely rare example of its kind.

Hever Castle

Hever Castle, Edenbridge TN8 7NG

The home of the Boleyn family whose daughter Anne was one of the unfortunate wives of Henry the eighth has tours and extensive gardens to visit and in the months of July and August recreates jousting tournaments of knights on horseback. It owes much of its current splendor to Lord Astor, who spent large sums from his personal fortune restoring it in the early part of the 20th century and filling it with treasures. The castle dates back to the 13th century,

Leeds Castle

Leeds Castle

Leeds Castle, Maidstone ME17 1PL

It looks just like a castle should, with turrets, towers and battlements all surrounded by water and set in beautiful countryside. It has a mystical beauty about it and lives up to its description of "The Loveliest Castle in the World". Built in the twelfth century The earliest parts of the castle were built in stone by a Norman Baron some time after the Norman Conquest in 1119 and the interior reflects the rich and varied life of the building and includes the Norman Cellar, medieval Queens Rooms, The Fountain Court, Henry VIII Banqueting Hall and the Chapel established by Edward I

There is much to see outside the Castle, including the Culpeper and Lady Baillie Gardens, The Wood Garden, Great Water Lake, Aviary, Vineyard, Dog Collar museum, Maze and Grotto, also a nine hole golf course, The Duckery and a Vineyard

Knole House

Knole House, Sevenoaks TN15 0RP

Was the home of the Sackvilles and is over 500 years old. Thirteen show rooms remain much as they were in the 18th century, when they were laid out to impress visitors with the Sackvilles' wealth. The birthplace and childhood home of Vita Sackville-West, who went on to create the gardens at Sissinghurst, Knole was also the setting for Virgina Woolf's novel Orlando. The house includes world-renowned Stuart furniture, important paintings and the prototype of the famous Knole settee. Knole is set at the heart of the only remaining medieval deer park in Kent

Smallhythe Place

Smallhythe Place, Tenterden TN30 7NG
The half-timbered house, built in the early 16th century when Smallhythe was a thriving shipbuilding yard, was the home of the Victorian actress Ellen Terry from 1899 to 1928, and contains her fascinating theatre collection. The cottage grounds include her rose garden, orchard, nuttery and the working Barn Theatre.


Bateman's, Burwash TN19 7DS
Surrounded by the wooded landscape of the Sussex Weald, this 17th-century house, with its mullioned windows and oak beams, provided a much needed sanctuary for Rudyard Kipling. The rooms, described by him as 'untouched and unfaked', remain much as he left them, with oriental rugs and artefacts reflecting his strong association with the East. Bateman's is very much a family home, but impressive none the less.

Penshurst Place

Penshurst Place, Tonbridge TN11 8DG

One of Kent's finest historic houses, and also one of England's greatest defended manor houses it's history reaches back over six and a half centuries.
Built of local sandstone the finest feature in this medieval house is the magnificent Barons hall built in 1341 with its 60 ft high chestnut roof, a prime example of 14th century domestic architecture. Later additions have seen Penshurst Place expand into an imposing defended manor house, containing state rooms filled with a remarkable collection of tapestries, paintings, period furniture, fine porcelain and armour.


Chartwell, Westerham TN16 1PS
Bought by Sir Winston Churchill for its magnificent views over the Weald of Kent, Chartwell was his home and the place from which he drew inspiration from 1924 until the end of his life. The rooms remain much as they were when he lived here, with pictures, books and personal mementoes evoking the career and wide-ranging interests of this great statesman. The hillside gardens reflect Churchill's love of the landscape and nature. They include the lakes he created, Lady Churchill's Rose Garden and the kitchen garden.

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