Kents Hidden Gardens
Explore Kent, the Garden of England, touring some of its finest gardens and prettiest villages. We start with an exclusive tour of Godinton House and Gardens discovering 600 years of history and exploring the walled garden, rose garden and Italian garden. Another of Kents hidden gems is Riverhill Himalayan Gardens, created by John Rogers, a founding member of the RHS. Today, four generations later, the Rogers family and their staff continue continue to tell Riverhills fascinating story; its links to the Himalayas, Darwin and the great plant hunters. Castles, steam trains and more beautiful gardens combine to show you Kent at its very best.
Mercure Maidstone, Great Danes****
This hotel is located in the heart of The Garden of England, set in 26 beautiful acres of countryside adjoining the famous Leed Castle. The 126 bedrooms offer its guests stylish and contemporary comfort and after a long day you can indulge yourself in the Brasserie and The Bar or unwind in the Feel Good Health club which boasts and indoor swimming pool, newly refurbished gym, sauna, jaguzzi and steam room.
Your holiday includes:
4 nights dinner, bed & full English breakfast
Private guided tour of Godinton House and Entrance
Entrance to Chilham Castle with private tour
Garden tour by head gardner with entrance to Riverhill
Entrance to Ightham Mote (National Trust)
Entrance to Great Dixter House & Gardens
On way journey on the Kent & East Sussex Railway
Wine tasting and visit at Chapel Down Winery
Accompanied by our Tour Manager
Travel by Tally Ho Pullman Coach
£499 per person based on two people sharing a twin/double room. First 5 singles at a supplement of £65 per person.
Image copyright Stuart Render
Your nearest pick-up point.
Monday 5th August
We leave Devon and travel to our hotel in Maidstone with comfort stops on route.D
Tuesday 6th August
After a full English breakfast we make our way to Godinton House & Gardens for an exclusive tour, where the owners treat visitors as 'friends and family' as they welcome you into a haven of peace and tranquility. As a result, we'll be dropped off at the front door, and we 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 combine to offer a memorable visit.
We have a lunch stop in the'chocolate box' village of Chilham with time for lunch at the 600 year old 'Woolpack Inn' (lunch not included). We are then met by an expert guide from Chilham Castle who will take us on a gentle guided walk along the narrow main street of the village. On arrival at the Castle the gates will open exclusively for our group. The Jacobean house was built on the site of the castle in 161 by Sir Dudley Digges, a friend of Shakespeare. We have a 45 minute tour of the house to discover its surprises, there will also be time to wander around the gardens, which are only open once a month to visitors.
Wednesday 7th August
Today we will visit Riverhill Himalayan Gardens 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 on offering a personal welcome to visiting groups. You will have time to look around yourself and then the head gardener will take us on an entertaining exploration of the grounds, explaining Riverhill's fascinating history and its links to the Himalays, 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.
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.
Thursday 8th August
This morning, after breakfast, we will make our way to the market town of Tenterden to join the steam-hauled Kent & East Sussex Railway for a 45 minute journey 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. Later we will make the short drive to Great Dixter House & Gardens, the family home of the 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 availale.D, FE
Friday 9 August
After a full English breakfast we make our way home to Devon.FE
D=Dinner, FE=Full English Breakfast
Below is a list of pick-up points available on this tour.
Below is a list of pick-up points available on this tour.
|Brixham|| Brixham - Bank lane opposite Baptist Church |
|Buckfastleigh|| Lay by on old Buckfastleigh - Ashburton Rd |
Nr Furzeleigh Mill
|Dartmouth|| Dartmouth Marks & Spencer |
|Ivybridge|| Ivybridge Town Hall opp Garage |
|Kingsbridge Quay|| Kingsbridge Quay |
|Newton Abbot|| Newton Abbot opp Railway Station |
|Others|| Other pick up points are available |
|Paignton|| Paignton Great Western Road Car Park by Library |
|Plympton|| Plympton St Marys opp Church |
|Plymstock|| Plymstock Elburton bus stop opp Elburton Hotel |
|Torquay|| Torquay coach bay outside Princess Theatre |
|Totnes 7 Stars 2|| Totnes 7 Stars opp. Morrisons |
|Totnes KEVICC|| Totnes KEVICC |
|Wembury|| Wembury Odd Wheel Pub |
|Departure Date||Pick-up Time||Set-down Time|