Things to see & do
Early summer treats
Indulge in a spot of planning ahead. We’ve got delightful, and unusual, treats for you to enjoy both indoors and out.
Choose from theatre tours and war time stories, garden-inspired art and contemporary crafts, boating and bird’s eye views, not to mention smart new cafes.
Here are some of our favourites:
Gardens of Delight at Mottisfont
Gardens of Delight at Mottisfont brings together a vibrant mix of paintings, prints, photographs and sculpture that celebrates the nation’s love of gardens, from the late 19th century to the present day.
Immerse yourself in treasured window boxes and suburban gardens, greenhouse vegetables and botanical rose prints from the Royal Horticultural Society.
New viewing platform at lighthouse
A new viewing platform has opened above South Foreland Lighthouse whilst we carry out conservation work. Six metres above the balcony, take a guided tour, see the weather vane face-to-face and get even better views of France.
The 16.2 metre high tower and its outbuildings will be coated with 170 litres of paint to weather proof the building.
Double the dazzle at Polesden Lacey
Polesden Lacey is restoring a 150m double herbaceous border – one of the longest in the country - in the exuberant planting style of the Edwardian period.
This is the first time in over 70 years that there has been a double border at Polesden Lacey. The south side was given over to vegetables during the Second World War. Apprentice Rangers aged 14-17 years old helped with the project, using rare plants.
Art tells tales at Uppark
Delve into the intriguing stories behind Uppark and its fascinating owners in a unique exhibition of contemporary arts and crafts that echo the mansion’s colourful past.
Unravelling Uppark showcases the work of leading artists inspired by Uppark’s elegant Georgian interiors, sumptuous Grand Tour collection and larger than life historical characters.
Go backstage at Smallhythe Place
After three months of restoration, brand new backstage tours are now open at Smallhythe Place. Tread the stage’s famous boards and explore new spaces for the first time including the historic green room and dressing room.
See and touch 1920s theatrical make up, costume trunks and original 1930s props, many of which have never been on display before.
Chill out this summer at Claremont
Row a boat this summer across Claremont Landscape Garden’s picture-perfect lake.Historic paintings show people in the 18th century rowing on the lake in distinctive long, flat boats.
Replicas of these boats have been created for visitors. Volunteer harbour masters run the boats on weekends from April to September. Phone 01372 467806 to check that the boats are running before you visit.
Birling Gap visitor centre now open
The new visitor centre at Birling Gap is now open. Discover stories of local people, coastal wildlife and the natural processes that have shaped the chalk landscape at Birling Gap over time.
There are also spaces for the little ones to get ‘hands on’ with fossils and rock pools, or to play in a recreated ship and in dressing up areas.
Letters from the Front Line at Nymans
From 14 June
At the outbreak of the First World War, debarred from active service on account of his German ancestry, Colonel Leonard Messel of Nymans devoted his time to training battalions of the Royal East Kent Regiment.
These men wrote to him during the war. To mark the centenary of the start of the Great War, Nymans is displaying the selected contents of some of the letters Colonel Messel received, alongside audio recordings.
Our packed events programmes are full of tantalizing excuses for a day out. There are garden tours and wildlife walks, food festivals and craft fairs, live music and thrilling theatre, to name but a few. Take a look to see what tickles your taste buds.