Winter walks at Scotney Castle
Don't let winter stop you getting outdoors and enjoying some fresh air. The Scotney Castle garden and estate are the perfect place to stretch your legs whatever the weather. With four way-marked trails suitable for all abilities, there really is a walk to suit everyone.
It may be winter and the temptation to stay on the sofa is huge but there's nothing better than gathering friends or family and heading out for a walk. Make a plan to get outdoors to blow away the cobwebs on a winter's day followed by a warming drink and a tasty treat in the tea-room at Scotney Castle.
Don't want to get muddy?
The formal garden has a network of hard standing paths so there's no need to worry about getting muddy shoes if you don't want to. Although the garden is steep in places, there are plenty of pushchair and wheelchair-friendly routes you can take, just ask at Visitor Reception if you need some guidance on where to go. Enjoy the reflections of the castle in the moat, step inside the ice house or take in the pictureseque wintery view from the Bastion view point.
Take the kids to Badger and Pepper's play area
UPDATE: Badger and Pepper play area is temporarily closed so that we can carry out repairs and replace the wood chip to keep the mud down. We expect it to be open in time for the February half term holidays.
If you are visiting with children, don't forget to visit Badger and Pepper's play area. Here you can find natural play equipment such as climbing frames, ball runs, stepping stones, a playhouse and a mud kitchen, all within a fenced area with benches for weary parents to rest and watch on. You can find it to the right-hand side of the main path down towards the old castle.
Bring your four-legged friends
Your four-legged friends are also welcome in the garden on a short lead. If you don't have a short lead with you, don't worry, we can always lend you one of ours. Just swap it over at Visitor Reception and we'll look after it for you whilst you're enjoying the garden. You'll find dog bowls outside reception and by the tea-room and bins for dog waste next to the toilets.
Pick up your Kent pooch passport
We know how much our visitors love bringing their dogs out with them on a visit to Scotney Castle or one of the many other National Trust properties in Kent. So from this November, we are launching a brand new Pooch Passport.
Between November 2019 and February 2020, you can collect stamps from any of the six participating National Trust places and collect an extra special treat for your dog once you have all six.
Ask for your passport at Visitor Reception next time you're visiting Scotney Castle. The other properties taking part are Chartwell, Emmetts Garden, Ightham Mote, Sissinghurst Estate and The White Cliffs of Dover. From ancient woodland wanders to pristine garden strolls, cliff top and castle views,andand castle views, Kent has so many different backdrops to choose from, ready for the next time you’re out with your dog.
Happy to explore a bit further?
If you'd like to roam a bit further afield onto the estate, then pull on your walking boots or wellies and follow one of our four way-marked trails. You can select the one that's right for you - whether it's distance, time or views you need to consider, or whether you'd like to head to the woods or over to the hopping huts. Maps are available to buy from Visitor Reception so that you can take one with you as you explore. Or you can download it to your phone following the link below.
Follow in our ranger's footsteps
Our ranger team know the estate like the back of their hands and they recommend you take a stroll along the waymarked parkland trail that takes you around the old castle. Climb the hill and turn to take in a warming winter view. The jagged ruins compliment the straight-lined mansion towering above. Hardy sheep graze the frozen ground and ducks paddle in the chilly moat. It's definitely worth the walk.
Something to warm you up afterwards?
No visit is complete without a trip to the tea-room either to set you up for the walk ahead or to warm you up afterwards. With stews, one-pots, soups, jacket potatoes and daily specials, to warming mugs of coffee and hot chocolate, tasty cakes and freshly baked scones, it's a well deserved treat on a winter's day. The luxury hot chocolate is well worth a try and over the Christmas period, you can choose a warming glass of mulled wine and mince pies too. So if all that walking has built up an appetite, stop by the tea-room to round off your visit.
Browse the shop
Winter brings on the desire to snuggle up and keep warm but that doesn't mean you can't embrace the season and bring the outside in. From rugs, throws, cushions, scented candles, gloves, scarves and luxurious food and drink items, take a browse of the shop to pick up some Christmas gifts or some bargains in the sale in January. Our Christmas shop opens in November with the sale lasting until mid-January so you never know, you might just find the perfect gift or a bargain in the sale on your visit too.
Indulge your inner bookworm
Have you visited our secondhand book shop? Tucked away at the top of the garden, our bookshop is stocked completely by donations and managed by our team of literary volunteers. You can find everything from fact to fiction, cookery to biographies and children's books to rare editions. For a small donation, take home a book of your choice or drop off your old books to us to add them to our collection. We'll be very grateful as all the money raised from the bookshop is used to help conservation projects taking place around Scotney Castle.