A character-filled, historic and lively town rich in British history dating back to Roman times. The spectacular cathedral is the home of the Church of England.
Travel bucket list idea:
Sissinghurst Castle Garden
Cranbrook, Kent, United Kingdom (UK)|www.nationaltrust.org.uk
One of England’s most beautiful gardens, Sissinghurst Castle and gardens was rescued from decay in the 1930s, when it was bought by the author and poet Vita Sackville-West, and her husband, Harold Nicholson. Together they transformed the grounds into a series of ‘garden rooms’, filling them with abundant planting that continues to blaze with colour today.
The house became a hub for writers and artists, and alongside the garden some of the estate buildings are open to the public, including South Cottage, a small house in the centre of the garden that was Vita Sackville-West’s bedroom and Harold Nicolson’s writing room.
A visit to Sissinghurst is a glimpse into the literary life of two of Britain’s most famous writers, and the extraordinary garden they created.
Many of the ‘garden rooms’ blaze with colour, but The White Garden is a stunning, monocolour array of white irises, pompom dahlias, gladioli and Japanese anemone.
The Gazebo, a small building on the corner of Sissinghurst’s moat, was built in 1969 to the exact specifications of the Apollo 11 lunar module, which had captivated the world that year. Harold Nicolson used it as his office; the desk where he wrote Portrait of a Marriage, his most famous work, is still in place.
While you’re there
Sissinghurst village, a mile up the road, is well worth a visit, with a clutch of small shops, restaurant and pub. The Milk House is a chic gastropub, focusing on classic pub dishes with excellent vegan and GF options.
Getting there & doing it
Sissinghurst is around 1hr 15 mins drive from London, and is located two miles north of Cranbrook, and a mile outside Sissinghurst village. The nearest train station is Staplehurst, an hour from London Charing Cross. Taxis are available but must be booked in advance; the station is five miles from Sissinghurst.
Wear sturdy footwear as the paths in the garden can become quite muddy, and there are lots of steps and different levels.
When to do it
The gardens are open all year round, seven days a week daily, with shorter opening hours in winter. As with any garden, the best times to visit are in the late spring and summer, although the garden does get busy with tour groups in those months.
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