Unlocking the future of Ightham Mote

Ightham Mote from the air

As of the 11 August 2021, we're delighted that Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council has granted planning permission for new visitor infrastructure at Ightham Mote which will enhance its setting and secure the future of this historically important and valued place. 

Relocated parking will enable us to revive the historic Walled Garden (currently car park) for visitors to enjoy and the new, sustainably built visitor reception and shop will create a welcoming, accessible space for all.  

Read on to find out more about our plans.

" We’ve taken great care to consider all the feedback from the local community on our plans for Ightham Mote. We’ve reduced the size of the relocated parking in Mount Field by more than half. This ensures significantly less impact on the surrounding landscape whilst retaining the major benefits. Planting and landscaping will protect views across the Kentish countryside, and we’ve also enhanced measures to avoid congestion on the local roads."
- Bernadette Gillow, General Manager
Ightham Mote, an island in time
Ightham Mote in the spring
Ightham Mote, an island in time

The plans will deliver many benefits including:

  • Relocating some of our existing parking from areas very close to the mansion and from within the Walled Garden
  • Restoration of the historic Walled Garden  
  • The creation of a new, sustainable, fully accessible visitor reception and shop  
  • Reduced congestion on local roads by improving infrastructure and traffic circulation within our site  
  • Better management of visitor patterns across the year (supported by use of a booking system)

Since acquiring the property in 1985, we’ve invested heavily in the conservation and protection of the Grade I listed building and its rare surviving setting. Our latest proposals result from years of site planning in collaboration with a range of experts from many disciplines as well as a major public consultation prior to the previous application in 2019

" The National Trust looks after special places for everyone, for ever. These proposals will help us to do just that. By securing the long-term future of Ightham Mote with a more sustainable visitor offer, we can continue to care for the historic site whilst telling more of its stories for years to come"
- Richard Henderson, Assistant Director of Operations London & South East

More on our vision...

A new visitor reception and shop building

We will create a new, sustainable visitor reception and shop building at the southern end of the Walled Garden, close enough to the estate for simple orientation and ease of access, but far enough away to maintain the tranquillity around the house itself.  

The new building will have a flat roof planted as a green roof to limit its visibility from outside the Walled Garden. It will embrace sustainable design principles including elements such as a timber frame, generous insulation, natural ventilation, passive shading and a ground source heat pump for space heating. 

The relocated shop will enable us to intepret and present the Coach House, a historic building in its own right with its own fascinating history, to our visitors.

Artists impression of the proposed Visitor Entrance to Ightham Mote
Artists impression of people milling about outside the Mote Cafe with proposed new Visitor Reception and Shop in the re-instated Walled Garden
Artists impression of the proposed Visitor Entrance to Ightham Mote

A reinstated Walled Garden 

The Walled Garden is an important historic feature of Ightham Mote. By freeing it from its current use as a car park, we will be able to return it to its intended purpose. Our intention is to take this opportunity to involve the community in its creation and longer-term maintenance. 

The indicative design is a classic ‘quartered’ one drawn from maps of 1769 and 1803. The detail of the garden will evolve as the project moves forward.

The walled garden was still in production in the 1940s, but is now a car park.
A split image with the image on the left showing the walled garden with two gardeners at work, while on the right it shows cars parked in its present use as a car park.
The walled garden was still in production in the 1940s, but is now a car park.
Illustrative sketch of the Walled Garden
Illustrative sketch of the Walled Garden
Illustrative sketch of the Walled Garden

A holistic site design and improved site orientation

The visitor reception and shop building will be close to the Mote Cafe, welcoming all visitors to the house, garden and wider estate. There will be a freely accessible safe picnic area, away from cars, enabled by the removal of parking from the staff and volunteer car park and the relocation of the gardener's compound. There will be more efficient traffic flow within the sit with a small area of relocated parking shielded from view by landscape screening. The existing parking spaces retained have been carefully selected to cause the least impact to the heritage asset. 

Previously proposed site plan and revised site plan
Previously proposed site plan and revised site plan
Previously proposed site plan and revised site plan

Contact Us

If you have any questions or queries, please do contact us on 01732 810378 or email ighthammote@nationaltrust.org.uk.