When we arrived at Chiddingstone Castle on a sunny “post-lockdown” afternoon, we weren’t sure what to expect. We had been driving through the Kent countryside near Sevenoaks, looking for a pub to enjoy a thirst-quenching beer when we saw signs for Chiddingstone Castle. Always on the lookout for somewhere new to visit, we headed through the stone entry pillars and pulled up in the car park.
My first thought was how had I never heard of Chiddingstone Castle before. I’ve been to Scotney Castle many times, and it is practically around the corner, but regardless of that, I was so glad I was here today ready to explore what delights this Kent castle and village had in store for me.
An honesty box is in the car park for your parking fee of £3 – a bargain, and if you want to BYO fishing equipment, then there is a £10 charge for fishing in the lake. So bring yourself, a picnic and, maybe your fishing gear and enjoy a perfect day out at Chiddingstone Castle, one of the lesser-known castles in Kent.
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Chiddingstone Castle History
The castle’s history has Tudor origins, a connection you will see when you visit the village of Chiddingstone; accessible through the castle grounds. It was remodelled in the 1800s to represent a medieval castle complete with turrets and a doorway worthy of any historic house. The last owner was the renowned collector Denys Eyre Bower, who bought the castle in 1955 to house his extensive art collections.
His collection remains here despite his passing and contains artefacts from Egypt and the Far East. Some say that this is the second most important collection of ancient Egyptian artefacts after the British Museum!
Unfortunately, the castle and tea room weren’t open on our visit, but we will return at a later date to have a look inside and enjoy a Chiddingstone Castle afternoon tea.
Check online to see what’s on at Chiddingstone Castle.
Chiddingstone Castle Grounds
Sensational views out across the countryside can be seen from the vantage point of the castle. Golden fields of wheat are a common crop grown in the UK and Kent, and you will see acres of them as you drive around the area.
Chiddingstone Castle Fishing
A beautiful 3.5-acre lake complete with water-lilies is the centre-piece of the grounds. On my visit, the lake looked so pretty with ducks gliding across it and overhanging branches from the weeping-willow tree dipping themselves into the mysterious dark water. Anglers lined themselves up on the bank waiting for that elusive tug on the fishing rod; this was all such an English scene with the backdrop of the castle, and I loved it!
A bridge across the lake links the castle grounds to the village of Chiddingstone. Standing on the bridge reminded me of my visit to Monet’s Gardens in Giverny – I wonder whether there are any watercolours of Chiddingstone’s lake hanging inside the castle.
Chiddingstone Medieval Tudor Village
Outside the castle’s gates, we finally found a thirst-quenching beer at the 15th-century Castle Inn located in Chiddingstone – one of Kent’s oldest villages. Owned by the National Trust this one small street is the perfect example of a surviving medieval Tudor village.
The pub in Chiddingstone has a lovely outdoor garden seating area and several tables at the front, so there is plenty of space to enjoy a drink or a meal. Being my first venture to a pub since lockdown, I was happy to feel safe and secure with the social distancing measures they had put in place.
We wandered around the 17th-century church of St Mary’s, as I have a penchant for headstones and obituaries, before heading further up the village to discover the Chiding Stone legend, from where the castle and village take their name. On our way, we checked out Berghesh Court ad 1453 to visit the Tulip Tree Tea Rooms and popped into the post office/gift shop, believed to be the oldest working shop in the country and once owned by Anne Boleyn’s father!
The Chiding Stone
I know what you are thinking – probably the same as us. Who wants to visit a stone; however, this lump of stone is millions of years old and has many stories connected to it.
Local folklore claims it to be the place where nagging wives or villains were “chided” (told off by the rest of the villagers); hence the name “Chiding Stone”. Another explanation was that it could have been a Saxon boundary marker or even a Druid’s altar. I would like to believe the latter that mystical things may have happened on this spot but whatever the truth is we will never know, so for now, I am happy to believe in folklore tales.
Chiddingstone Castle Address: Hill Hoath Road, Edenbridge, Kent, TN8 7AD
A visit to Chiddingstone Castle is the perfect way to spend a day in Kent.
Other historic venues such as Hever Castle, the childhood home of Anne Boleyn and Chartwell, Winston Churchill’s family home are very close.
Countryside walks at Toys Hill and Emmetts Garden will give you sensational views across Kent.
Why not stay longer at one of the comfortable guesthouses in the adjacent area of Edenbridge including apartments at Hever Castle!
Tuesday 1st of September 2020
Kent countryside looks amazing with this magnificent Chiddingstone castle. Even the castle lake with ducks look very pretty. Also walking on narrow wooden bridge must be fun and a good place to have romantic photos.
Friday 28th of August 2020
A visit to Chiddingstone Castle does seem the perfect way to spend a day in Kent - your photos are so beautiful. Would love to walk around the lily ponds. Haven't been here yet and you have certainly inspired me to add Chiddingstone to my list of weekend visits.
Jenn | By Land and Sea
Thursday 27th of August 2020
I feel this is a quintessential visit in the English countryside. Beautiful castle, charming village, and quaint surroundings! So glad you were able to get away and make this visit happen!
Thursday 27th of August 2020
This looks like such a beautiful place & so quintessentially English. Those lily ponds could literally have come out of a Monet painting, totally agree! I am finding so many places now that I would like to visit that I have never bothered with & are on my doorstep. We are very lucky to live in the UK & I'm looking forward to seeing much more of it for at least the remainder of the year. Thanks for opening my eyes to the wonders of Kent!
Thursday 27th of August 2020
There are so many beautiful places to visit around Kent - I am sure you would enjoy a trip there.
Linda (LD Holland)
Wednesday 26th of August 2020
The Chiddingstone Castle and village look like a great post-lockdown spot to visit. I love that you got some wide open countryside. And a fun village to tour as well. The town villages do look a bit like you have taken a step back in time. Always fun when something like the Chiding Stone have more than one tale tied to them.