The Garden at Scotney Castle

Scotney Old Castle reflected in the moat during summer

Scotney Castle’s garden is like a landscape painting with drama and romance. From a stunning vista of the old castle glimpsed through a swathe of rhododendrons and azaleas in spring to colourful reflections in the moat throughout autumn.

A landscape with drama and romance

From the early 18th century, British landscape gardeners had been creating gardens inspired by pictures, but by 1800 a backlash had set in. Critics considered the grassy vistas designed by Capability Brown too smooth and tidy. Scotney's picturesque garden is a last fling in this backlash style of gardening.

A fairytale feel

The garden has naturalistic planting which is seemingly untouched by human hand and its cloud-like planting of rhododendrons and azaleas creates a fairytale feel, with the ruins of the Old Castle at its centre. Wisteria and old English roses adorn its sandstone walls, whilst the surrounding herbaceous beds are always throwing out new colours throughout the seasons.

The Castle is clothed in climbing Wisteria, Roses and Clematis, and herbaceous beds give colour and interest during the summer months. The terraces around the house are managed for the rare green-winged orchids, a plant that was in decline after WWII but thrives in lawns around the house. Venture further away from the castle and you discover a thatched Ice House, acres of wild meadows alive with butterflies and insect, and the stream that feeds water to the moat.

White wisteria growing over the walls of the Old Castle
Scotney Castle summer garden white wisteria on old castle
White wisteria growing over the walls of the Old Castle

Picturesque landscape

The picturesque garden was the vision of Edward Windsor Hussey, with vistas across the quarry towards the ruined Castle and out into the estate. These views which were framed by  large specimen trees and large clumps of Rhododendron give a wild feel to the garden, a key feature of a picturesque landscape.

Walled Garden

The one-acre Walled Garden was built around 1840 to provide the family and its household with fresh fruit and vegetables every day. You will notice that its octagonal in shape, to make the maximum use of the growing space for fruit trees trained up the walls. The garden team restored the Walled Garden to its former glory in 2007, and today you can see a wide selection of fruit and vegetables, an assortment of cut flowers that are used for displays in the house, and a selection of freshly picked produce that is available to buy.

Flower beds in the Walled Garden at Scotney Castle
Flower beds in the Walled Garden at Scotney Castle
Flower beds in the Walled Garden at Scotney Castle


Picnic blankets are welcome in the garden, however chairs and tables can only be used on the wider estate. If you enjoy a picnic on the estate please be aware livestock may be present and take all your litter home with you.