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Kent

Find fairy tale castles, a treasure house fit for a king, the home of Churchill and a world-renowned garden dedicated to beauty. These are just some of Kent’s highlights along with spectacular coastline, ancient woodlands and rolling downs. Discover what to see and do in the Garden County of England.

Places to visit

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Top places to visit in Kent

A view of the path through the Golden Rose Avenue with flowers in bloom on either side at Chartwell, Kent
Place
Place

Chartwell 

Family home and garden of Sir Winston Churchill

Westerham, Kent

Fully open today
View of historic stone building with green grass and deer in front of the building. There is blue sky with a few clouds and a partial view of a green-leaved tree on one side.
Place
Place

Knole 

Take in the scale and magnificence of this 600-year-old estate with its courtyards, showrooms, Gatehouse Tower and acres of parkland.

Sevenoaks, Kent

Fully open today
The Rose Garden at Sissinghurst Castle Garden
Place
Place

Sissinghurst Castle Garden 

Historic, poetic, iconic: a refuge dedicated to beauty. Vita Sackville-West and Harold Nicolson fell in love with Sissinghurst Castle and created a world-renowned garden.

near Cranbrook, Kent

Fully open today
A view of Scotney Castle
Place
Place

Scotney Castle 

Ruined medieval castle. Victorian mansion house. Rolling parkland. Ancient woodland. Picturesque garden. With romance, drama and nature around every corner, Scotney is truly a castle for all seasons.

Tunbridge Wells, Kent

Fully open today
Blue sky over the half-timbered west front of Ightham Mote, a moat in the foreground
Place
Place

Ightham Mote 

Outstanding 14th-century moated manor house, gardens and estate

Sevenoaks, Kent

Fully open today
Image of visitor walking along the clifftop at the White Cliffs of Dover, Kent on a sunny day in August
Place
Place

The White Cliffs of Dover 

Magnificent coastal site overlooking the English Channel

Dover, Kent

Partially open today
Pink roses in the Italianate Rose Garden with the fountain and a glimpse of the view in the distance
Place
Place

Emmetts Garden 

Interesting hillside garden with year-round features

Sevenoaks, Kent

Fully open today

What's on for families in Kent

Let little explorers loose in the outdoors. They'll love squelching in mud kitchens, scrambling across natural play areas and running free across open meadows at places like Chartwell, Knole and Sissinghurst Castle Garden.

Mother, father and child between them walking in the garden at Sizergh, talking animatedly. They're surrounded by green trees and plants.

Family-friendly places in Kent 

Find inspiration for your next family day out in Kent, with nature-themed activities ranging from spotting fish to bug hotels.

Summer of play poster illustration

Summer holidays in Kent 

Pick up a parkland adventure pack at Knole, clown around at Scotney Castle and try a host of sporty activities across our places as part of the National Trust’s Summer of Play (sponsored by Starling Bank).

Top gardens to visit in Kent

Discover year-round interest in walled gardens, vegetable plots and borders – and one of the most famous gardens in the country.

Visitors admire the stone columns and plants in the re-created Delos garden at Sissinghurst Castle Garden, Kent

Summer highlights 

Kent’s Head Gardeners and gardening experts reveal their summer highlights. From hopelessly romantic old roses at world-famous Sissinghurst Castle Garden, to new exotic planting at Scotney Castle. Plus stunning Wealden views from Chartwell, and a slice of Italy in the rose garden at Emmetts Garden. Pause in Ightham Mote’s Quiet Garden, surrounded by 700 centuries of history. Fast forward to the early twentieth century in the rose garden at nearby Bateman’s, designed by Jungle Book author Rudyard Kipling. For boutique beauty, try Smallhythe Place, Quebec House or Lamb House.

Apple blossom with the house in the background at Chartwell, Kent

Spring highlights 

Gardens in Kent burst into life in springtime. From sunshine-yellow daffodils at Sissinghurst Castle Garden, to beautiful blossom across the gardens at Chartwell and a sea of tulips at Emmetts Garden. The orchards are soon filled with fruit tree flowers, including heritage varieties in delicate pink and white. Magnolia trees are a particular favourite, lining the paths later in spring at Chartwell and Sissinghurst. Blue skies bring with them beautiful reflections in the lakes at Ightham Mote, whilst Scotney’s Flower Festival spreads spring cheer into the mansion house too. Discover more highlights for the spring season in Kent.

A view over the misty garden at Ightham Mote manor house, complete with small bridge, pond and shrubbery

Winter highlights 

Explore rich evergreens at Emmetts Garden and garden water features at Chartwell and Ightham Mote. Keep your eyes peeled for the pure white of snowdrops as they begin to grow. Our gardens offer peace and tranquillity in the winter months. Wrap up warm and take in their structural beauty.

Autumn leaves in the foreground at Scotney Castle, Lamberhurst, Kent, with the ruins of the fourteenth-century moated castle in the distance

Autumn highlights 

With gardens filled with colour and orchards hanging low with fruit, autumn is a great time for a day out at National Trust places nearby. Catch late flowers in the Purple Border in early autumn at Sissinghurst, and breathe in the intoxicating scent of the Katsura Cercidiphyllum japonicum (toffee apple tree) near the North Lake at Ightham Mote. Dahlias and sunflowers continue to bloom in the early autumn sunshine at Chartwell. Later in the season, spot weird and wonderful mushrooms emerging at Emmetts Garden.

House and collections highlights in Kent

A large portrait of a man from the 18th century dressed lavishly is carried over to a wall to be re-hung in a historic house
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Article

Restored masterpiece at Knole 

A full-length portrait of John Frederick Sackville, 3rd Duke of Dorset (1745-1799), gazes imperiously over the showrooms at Knole once more. After expert cleaning and conservation, visit Knole to see the eighteenth century masterpiece by Sir Joshua Reynolds (1723-1792) in vivid colour and newly restored detail. Watch a short video to hear how expert conservators, including in the Royal Oak Foundation Conservation Studio at Knole, transformed the Duke back to glory.

Mercury head found at Smallhythe
News
News

See 'incredibly rare' Roman finds at Smallhythe Place 

Roman finds have gone on display in the tearoom at Smallhythe. The head of a figurine of the god Mercury - one of less than 10 ever discovered from Roman Britain – was discovered during a dig there last summer. There are also tiles stamped with the mark of the Roman fleet (the Classis Britannica) and an intact pot, all dating from 1st to 3rd centuries AD. The discoveries were 'quite exceptional', says archaeologist Nathalie Cohen. In the main house, discover the story of Victorian actress Ellen Terry. Open Wed to Sun from 28 February.

A woman hangs a large watercolour painting of a buffalo onto a wood-panelled wall
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Article

Rare Jungle Book illustration at Bateman's 

An original illustration from 'The Jungle Book' has gone on display at Bateman’s, family home of the story's author Rudyard Kipling. The large watercolour is one of just four known to have survived from a set of 16 painted for the book by the Detmold twins. See more illustrations of the much-loved tale from around the world in a new display. Plus, browse illustrated story editions and hear a reading of the classic tale in our new cosy reading space.

Oil painting on Changed Priorities Ahead road sign of teazels and goldfinches
Article
Article

Nature art exhibition at Scotney Castle 

With a display in the old castle and a trail in the garden, 'Changed Priorities Ahead' showcases the work of nature artist, Nessie Ramm. Nessie paints our native wildflowers with exquisite detail as they thrive undisturbed on roundabouts, slip roads and laybys. Using metal road signs as her canvas, her large-scale art renders visible the wildness and value of these unloved spaces.

Festival of Archaeology in Kent

Join us as we celebrate the UK’s annual Festival of Archaeology from 13th – 28th July 2024. Find lots of events and activities happening in Kent.

Volunteer showing the decoration on a ceramic plate to visitors at Knole, Kent

Knole 

Get up-close to artefacts uncovered at Knole, or join a guided parkland walk revealing its fascinating archaeological history (18, 21, 23 July, £7.50, booking essential). There’s a family day on 22 July. Dress up for archaeologist selfies, test your sorting skills and join archaeology-inspired arts and crafts. Book admission to guarantee entry. 

Children taking part in Dig for History, an archaeology day, at Sutton Hoo, Suffolk

Smallhythe Place 

Previous digs have revealed Smallhythe’s story as a medieval shipbuilding site and Roman settlement. Pay a visit to see some of the team’s fascinating finds. There are also drop-in meet and greets with the dig teams and an evening talk with our expert archaeologist, Nathalie Cohen. On 13 & 14 July join us for Smallfest, a family celebration of archaeology with drawing, games and more.

A child digging in contains as part of the Festival of Archaeology

Bodiam Castle 

A real-life archaeological dig launches at Bodiam’s Roman Wharf area on 27 July. From ‘behind-the-rope’ and after-hours tours to expert meet-and-greets, there’s loads of ways to get involved with 'Bodiam100'. For more archaeology-themed fun, get hands-on with finds from previous digs on Fridays, 10am to 3pm. There's also medieval-inspired crafts for kids on select dates in August.

Castles and forts in Kent

A view of Scotney Castle
Place
Place

Scotney Castle 

Ruined medieval castle. Victorian mansion house. Rolling parkland. Ancient woodland. Picturesque garden. With romance, drama and nature around every corner, Scotney is truly a castle for all seasons.

Tunbridge Wells, Kent

Fully open today
Woodland pathway through Oldbury Hill, Kent
Place
Place

Oldbury Hill 

Discover the remains of an Iron Age hill fort

Ightham, Kent

Fully open today

Coast in Kent

The Kent coast is home to towering chalk cliffs and grass downland teeming with wildlife. Pack your binoculars and get ready to take in some fantastic views.

Image of visitor walking along the clifftop at the White Cliffs of Dover, Kent on a sunny day in August
Place
Place

The White Cliffs of Dover 

Magnificent coastal site overlooking the English Channel

Dover, Kent

Partially open today
A man and a child are walking a black-and-white dog through a grassy field towards South Foreland Lighthouse, Kent. The lighthouse is painted white and stands against a grey cloud that's hanging in the sky.
Place
Place

South Foreland Lighthouse 

Striking and historical lighthouse high on The White Cliffs of Dover

Dover, Kent

Fully open today

Outdoor activities in Kent

A cyclist enjoying a ride along a leafy lane in the Kent countryside
Activity
Activity

Cycling, riding and running at Toys Hill 

With a network of bridleways, there are plenty of ways to explore Toys Hill including horse riding, mountain biking, road cycling and running on a 6km Run England route.

Spring sun through the trees at Toys Hill, Kent
Activity
Activity

Walking at Toys Hill 

Discover lots of walking routes, points of historical interest and wide-ranging views at one of Octavia Hill’s favourite places. Visit to see the landscape that inspired her.

Plan ahead for Christmas in Kent

Christmas tree decor at Rufford Old Hall, Lancashire

Christmas in Kent 

Kent's famous houses will be decorated for Christmases gone by, from a sparkling 1930s Champagne Christmas at Chartwell to a sumptuous Tudor Christmas at Ightham Mote. Have fun on new family trails with games, activities and festive characters. Keep an eye out for visits from Father Christmas himself on select dates and locations too. There are magical late-night openings, lights events and festive fairs. And it goes without saying that our cafés and tea-rooms will be filled with warming treats and Christmas lunches. Discover what's instore at National Trust places this Christmas in Kent.

Places to stay in Kent

The exterior of 2 Bettenham Cottages, Kent

2 Bettenham Cottages 

Immerse yourself in rolling farmland and peaceful countryside. This cosy cottage is the perfect getaway for friends, family and one well-behaved dog.

The exterior of Priest's House, Kent

Priest's House 

Sitting on the edge of Sissinghurst Castle’s gardens, this is the perfect spot for garden lovers.

Oldbury Hill Campsite, Kent

Oldbury Hill Campsite 

A peaceful woodland campsite near National Trust attractions, and an hour from London by train.

Sustainable travel

Whether you're looking to travel by train or bus. Plan your visit using greener travel options.

Bicycle leaning against a wall at Ightham Mote, Kent.
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Sustainable travel in Kent 

There are a number of sustainable travel options for travelling to and from the places in our care in Kent, whether you're looking to travel by train or bus.

Cyclist at Ditchling Beacon, East Sussex
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Article

Sustainable travel in Sussex 

There are a number of sustainable travel options for travelling to and from the places in our care in Sussex, whether you're looking to travel by train, bus, bike or foot.

Find your local Kent supporter group

A tour group in woodland at Scotney Castle, Kent
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Supporter groups in Kent 

Join your local supporter group in Kent to meet people and enjoy talks, visits, holidays, outdoor volunteering and other social and fundraising events.

Upcoming events

Event

Summer of Play at Knole 

Knole, Sevenoaks, Kent

There's lots of fun to be had this summer at Knole. From Monday 22 July - Sunday 1 Septembr, join us for cricket, boules and try your hand at croquet.

Event summary

on
25 Jul to 1 Sep 2024
at
10:00 to 16:00
+ 38 other dates or times
Event

The Adventures of Jock: Children's Trail 

Chartwell, Westerham, Kent

Follow Chartwell's furriest resident around the Chartwell gardens!

Event summary

on
25 Jul to 1 Sep 2024
at
10:00 to 16:30
+ 38 other dates or times
Event

Summer of Play at Emmetts Garden 

Emmetts Garden, Sevenoaks, Kent

On your marks, get set, go!

Event summary

on
25 Jul to 1 Sep 2024
at
10:00 to 16:30
+ 35 other dates or times
Event

Selby Spies: Intrigue at Ightham Garden Trail 

Ightham Mote, Sevenoaks, Kent

Explore the garden as you discover the shadowy story of the Selby family at Ightham Mote

Event summary

on
25 Jul to 1 Sep 2024
at
10:00 to 17:00
+ 38 other dates or times
Event

Summer of Play at Sissinghurst Castle Garden 

Sissinghurst Castle Garden, near Cranbrook, Kent

Join us for a Summer of Play at Sissinghurst Castle Garden with an Elizabethan twist.

Event summary

on
25 Jul to 1 Sep 2024
at
10:30 to 16:45
+ 38 other dates or times
Event

Guided Garden Tours: Garden wildflowers (2-26 July) 

Scotney Castle, Tunbridge Wells, Kent

Learn how we manage the garden to encourage and promote wildflowers

Event summary

on
25 Jul to 26 Jul 2024
at
11:00 to 11:45
+ 3 other dates or times
Event

Discovering Scotney: Guided Garden Tours 

Scotney Castle, Tunbridge Wells, Kent

Scotney has one of the best examples of a garden designed along Picturesque principles in the United Kingdom. Join our guided garden tours (free with your entry ticket) to discover what this means.

Event summary

on
25 Jul to 31 Oct 2024
at
11:00 to 11:45
+ 113 other dates or times
Event

Selby Spies: Summer Crafts 

Ightham Mote, Sevenoaks, Kent

Get crafty with us this summer!

Event summary

on
25 Jul to 15 Aug 2024
at
11:00 to 15:00
+ 3 other dates or times
Visitors exploring the sand dunes and the woodland at Formby, Liverpool

Where will you visit next?

Discover lots of gardens, historic houses, days out at the coast and more.