January and February at Ightham Mote
It's the most wonderful time of the year at Ightham Mote. With frosted branches glistening in the sunshine, widespread views opening up through leafless trees... it's time to wrap up warm, and enjoy the crisp, fresh air.
Winter is one of the most peaceful times of the year in the garden. As you wander down the slope, the silver birch, underplanted with cyclamen, snowdrops and hellebores, will begin to provide a colourful display. With the newly re-instated hard path through the orchard, you can now access most of the garden this winter.
One of the first things people say when they walk down the slope is 'wow' - but how many really stop to look at the exterior of the house? Camera's quickly come out and snaps are taken, but then many rush inside. With the house closed for conservation until the first weekend in March, this is the ideal time to study the picturesque exterior of the house. Dogs on short leads are also allowed in the garden at this time.
Having been built and added to by successive owners, over 6 centuries, Ightham Mote evolved as a living house, rather than being a planned building. When you look carefully, you will see different building materials, bricked up windows and higgledy-piggledy additions. Look up and see the chimneys - are they all the same? When you start to look closely, there are many questions you can ask yourself.
New this winter, we now also have the courtyard open to visit. This gives you the chance to much more of the outside of the house and provides an area where you can sit, pause, and take in the building's facinatine architecture.
Ightham Mote is more than just a house and garden, it is surrounded by a 546 acre estate. With plateau hilltops, steep valley sides, woodland and farmland, the estate provides wonderful walks and vistas across the Kent countryside, in this Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
You could also take the children on a walk across the estate with our winter activity pack to help them tick off some of their 50 things - Winter activity pack (PDF / 1.3955078125MB) download .