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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 the house across the parkland at Knole, Kent
Place
Place

Knole 

Be part of a 400 year history of visiting Knole

Sevenoaks, Kent

Fully open today
The Rose Garden at Sissinghurst Castle Garden
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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

Partially 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

Fully 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

Hidden Treasures of the National Trust

Tune in to the second series of the BBC's behind-the-scenes look at the work of the National Trust. Discover incredible objects and properties and meet the passionate staff and volunteers who care for them. Fridays at 9pm on BBC 2 and available on BBC iPlayer.

A view of Scotney Castle
Place
Place

Scotney's starring role 

Scotney Castle in Kent is one of the places to feature in the BBC's second series of 'Hidden Treasures of the National Trust'. Follow our experts as they conserve a treasured table designed by a famous architect, and delve into a sketchbook collection that inspired one man’s mission to preserve the English country house. Visit Scotney for a rare chance to see both items on show in the mansion.

Tunbridge Wells, Kent

Fully open today
Collections and house manager at Polesden Lacey cleaning a red Faberge egg
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Hidden Treasures of the National Trust 

Follow our conservators, curators and volunteers at work and get closer to the objects they care for in the second series of Hidden Treasures of the National Trust.

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.

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.

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.

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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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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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
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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.

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.

Family on a bridge over the moat at Scotney Castle, Kent. A young child is pointing at something in the water below.

May half term in Kent 

New family trails, a teddy bears' picnic and geology-inspired activities for May half term in Kent

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).

Great Big Green Week events

We’re hosting lots of events to celebrate nature and climate action during Great Big Green Week 2024. From guided nature walks to conservation activities and climate action conversations.

Deer wander through Knole Park outside the West Front entrance of Knole, Sevenoaks, Kent

Knole 

Join a series of parkland walks for Great Big Green Week. Discover seasonal highlights and hear how the park team is adapting to climate challenges on a Nature Park Walk (8 & 16 June). Do your bit on a litter pick whilst learning about this special landscape (9 & 15 June). Boost your mood on the Wellbeing Walk (12 June) with fresh air, nature, and spectacular scenery in plentiful supply. Booking essential.

Image of a large black beetle on soil

White Cliffs of Dover 

Become a nature explorer this Great Big Green Week at the White Cliffs BioBlitz day. Help us identify the many wildlife and plants that call the White Cliffs home. There will be face painting and family crafts too. 15 June, drop in 10.30am to 4pm, free event.

Changed Priorities Ahead at Scotney Castle

Scotney Castle 

Learn about Scotney’s resident reptiles, try pond dipping and get simple gardening tips for climate change in a series of free walks, talks and tours for Great Big Green Week. See beautiful wildflower murals painted onto road signs by artist Nessie Ramm. They celebrate forgotten flowers and Scotney’s own conservation projects.

Checking the beehives at Attingham Park, Shropshire

Bateman's 

Buzz over to Bateman’s for a Beginners Guide to Identifying Bees workshop. Learn about their colour patterns and body shape, and join the hive in the gardens up close. Our experts will share top tips on how to attract and support these important pollinators in your own garden too (13 June & 3 July, £25 per person). Plus, there are pop up garden talks throughout Great Big Green Week with our team.

Festival of Archaeology events

Whether you’re an archaeological amateur or the next Indiana Jones, celebrate the Festival of Archaeology with the National Trust.

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

Fully 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.

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 site by one of the largest and finest Iron Age hillforts in the country, close to London and many National Trust places with free entry for campsite guests.

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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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.

Upcoming events

Event

Toddler Mondays at Knole 

Knole, Sevenoaks, Kent

Have you got a little one under 5? Then come along for a fun morning at Knole with babyccino coffee mornings and storytime in the bookshop.

Event summary

on
17 Jun to 16 Dec 2024
at
10:00 to 12:00
+ 19 other dates or times
Event

May Half Term: Unfolding Operation Overlord Trail 

Chartwell, Westerham, Kent

Join us for the 80th anniversary of D-Day.

Event summary

on
17 Jun to 30 Jun 2024
at
10:00 to 16:00
+ 13 other dates or times
Event

Insect Walk and Talk 

Petts Wood and Hawkwood, Chislehurst, Kent

Hover flies, beetles, moths, dragon flies and more we hope!

Event summary

on
17 Jun 2024
at
11:00 to 13:00
Event

D-Day at Chartwell: Unfolding Operation Overlord 

Chartwell, Westerham, Kent

Join us as we commemorate the 80th anniversary of D-Day.

Event summary

on
17 Jun to 30 Jun 2024
at
11:00 to 15:40
+ 13 other dates or times
Event

'Changed Priorities Ahead' exhibition (1 June-20 October) 

Scotney Castle, Tunbridge Wells, Kent

Teazels, cowslips, toadflax, vetch ... Discover the wildflower paintings of contemporary landscape artist, Nessie Ramm, displayed both inside the old castle and doors and as a trail in the garden.

Event summary

on
17 Jun to 20 Oct 2024
at
11:00 to 16:00
+ 125 other dates or times
Event

Sargent’s Palette in Bloom Display 

Ightham Mote, Sevenoaks, Kent

Join us this Spring for our series of displays celebrating renowned artist John Singer Sargent!

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on
17 Jun to 31 Oct 2024
at
11:00 to 16:00
+ 136 other dates or times
Event

Snapper Snapped: Photos from the Scotney Collection 

Scotney Castle, Tunbridge Wells, Kent

Enjoy a new display in the Friends Room in the mansion house of rare archive photographs from the Scotney collection.

Event summary

on
17 Jun to 3 Nov 2024
at
11:00 to 16:00
+ 139 other dates or times
Event

Vita: Discover a story of love and life at Knole 

Knole, Sevenoaks, Kent

Discover the story of Vita Sackville-West’s life at Knole.

Event summary

on
17 Jun to 13 Oct 2024
at
11:00 to 16:00
+ 118 other dates or times
Small girl running between conical topiary hedges in the Cherry Garden at Ham House

Where will you visit next?

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