Little hidden gems in Kent

Wind down country lanes, cross peaceful pastures and venture into unknown corners of great houses to seek out Kent's hidden gems. A knight's dwelling at Old Soar Manor, secret gardens at Knole and even an empty tomb at Cobham Wood & Mausoleum await, each with a different story to tell. Every time you seek out tucked-away treasures, you help us open new places to discover.

The exterior of the remaining 13th century home

Old Soar Manor 

Negotiate the winding country lanes until you come upon this thirteenth century knight's dwelling. Wander in the footsteps of those who came before you to uncover its secrets. A historic haven today, the arrow slits and defensive passages suggest there's a different story to tell. Open Saturday to Thursday, 10am to 6pm.

The front of the red brick house at Owletts

Owletts 

Step inside this Charles II house and be struck, despite the grandeur, by its familiarity. Sir Herbert Baker's descendants still call Owletts home. Wander past the oval stained glass window and electrical empire clock out into the sunny sunken garden to make memories of your own. Doors open on Sundays from April, 11am to 5pm.

Traditional herbaceous borders line the pathway in the garden at St John's Jerusalem, Kent

St. John's Jerusalem 

A hidden garden paves the way to a thirteenth-century chapel. Surrounded by a moat, the island retreat is laden with soft swathes of colour in the beds and borders, underpinned by a rustling breeze and birdsong. Visit on Wednesday afternoons, 2pm to 6pm.

The restored Darnley Mausoleum

Cobham Mausoleum 

The lovingly-restored eighteenth century mausoleum at Cobham Wood is a place of peace and reflection. Though it never took on its intended purpose of nobleman's resting place, it maintains its proud place among the pastures. Open first Sunday of the month, April to September.

The stunning view of Knole from Lord Sackville's private garden

Lord Sackville's private garden at Knole 

Step into the centuries-old private garden at Knole to find winding wisteria, towering oaks and over-sized cabbages. Disappear, quite literally, into 'the wilderness' and beyond to uncover a lesser-known corner of Knole's history. Open Tuesdays from 5 April, 11am until 4pm.

The studio at Chartwell

The studio at Chartwell 

Uncover a politician's passion for painting in the garden studio at Chartwell. Not many people know about Sir Winston Churchill's hidden hobby. Yet, despite not picking up a paintbrush until his early forties, he created more than five hundred works. Visit his artistic refuge daily from 12pm to 4pm. Normal admission applies.