Kent Attractions: Days Out in Kent
Another day, another castle! I was back in the lush Kent countryside and visiting the fairytale castle and gardens at Scotney. With a long and rich history, the earliest parts of the castle date back to the 14th century and sit on a moat, complete with fish, ducks and lilypads!
Scotney Old Castle
The old castle has witnessed many monarchs and wars over its lifetime and even has a formidable “priest hole” built into its walls as a hiding place for priests. Catholics were persecuted by law in England during the reign of Elizabeth l, and in the early 16th century, a priest was hidden by Scotney’s owners for seven years.
Since the 14th century, it has had many owners, including relatives of the Archbishop of Canterbury. It was most recently owned by the Hussey family and passed down through several generations.
Scotney Manor House
Designed in the 19th century for Edward Hussey lll, by the architect Antony Salvin, it is located on a hill with sweeping views down to the old castle ruins. Salvin and Hussey purposely transformed the old castle into “ruins” to be the focal point from the “manor house” of the newly landscaped gardens.
The National Trust became the estate custodians in 1970 when the owner, Christopher Hussey, passed away. His widow continued to live in the house until 2007. After that, it was opened to the public giving visitors the chance to explore Scotney castle during a day out in Kent.
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Make sure to pre-book timed tickets. On arrival, your name will be checked, and you will be advised to abide by the one-way route around the gardens. The pathway down to the “old castle” is steep, so wheelchair uses may want to bear this in mind.
There is no entrance inside the old castle ruins or the manor house during Covid-19. Admissions and opening times can are here.
The Quarry gardens are also closed due to narrow steps and pathways.
Despite these closures, you will have a wonderful time exploring the gardens and woodland walks.
Tea-rooms are open for refreshments with spaced outdoor seating areas.
One-Way Route around the Grounds
View down to Scotney Castle
Ruins of the Old Castle
The Walled Garden
The wooden bridge leading to the moat walk
Castle and Moat Views
A circular walk around the moat will lead you back towards the manor house. Try to find the ice-house on your way.
Scotney Manor House is built with sandstone quarried from the estate. Today the quarry is a garden complete with the imprint of a dinosaur’s footprint, which was discovered during construction works!
Imagine, 100 million years ago, a dinosaur would have been wandering around these grounds!
Closer to the present time, Margaret Thatcher, Prime Minister in the 80s, held an office here, and the house appeared in the 1979 film Yanks, starring Richard Gere!
Cute corners and doorways lead you to the exit.
On your way out, don’t forget to stop off at the tearooms for hot or cold refreshments.
Need To Know Information
Scotney Castle is in the town of Lamberhurst and a 20-minute drive from Royal Tunbridge Wells. This close proximity offers you a perfect day out at two of the best places to visit in Kent.
You may want to enjoy a weekend in the area as there are so many things to see and do in Kent and so some suggestions of places to stay are listed below.
How to Get to Scotney Castle
By Car: Take the A21 to Lamberhurst and look for signs for the castle; there is plenty of parking on-site.
By Train: London Bridge Station to Tunbridge Wells and then jump in a taxi to the castle (it takes about 20mins).
Where to Stay in Lamberhurst
Where to Stay in Tunbridge Wells
Are you looking for other things to do in Kent?