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Exhibition: Selby Spies

Discover the shadowy story of the Selby family at Ightham Mote this summer and their connection to the mysteries of Elizabeth I’s court and secret schemes of Mary Queen of Scots.

  • Booking not needed
  • Free event (admission applies)

Explore the fascinating history of the Selby family and their rise to prominence from the 1580s to the 1640s. This exhibition delves into their acquisition of Ightham Mote in 1591 and the impactful lives of William Selby the elder, William Selby the younger, and Dorothy Selby.

Historical Insights: Discover new research on the Selby family's political connections during the reigns of Elizabeth I and James I.

Archival Treasures: View primary source materials including State and Border Papers, wills, and local court records.

Immersive Experience: Enjoy written interpretations, visual displays, and historical objects throughout the Courtyard, Great Hall, Crypt, Oriel Room, Old Chapel, and New Chapel.

Interactive Content: Engage with dynamic content and special events designed by our Visitor Experience and Programming Manager and Learning Volunteers.

Children’s Spy-Themed Trail: Fun and educational activities designed for young visitors to explore the history through a spy-themed adventure.

Join us for a captivating journey into the past and uncover the lives and legacy of the Selby's at Ightham Mote.



Event ticket prices

This event is free, but normal admission charges apply for the venue.

Check admission prices

The basics


Children welcome

Meeting point

This exhibition can be found in the main house.


The garden is steep in places with steps and gravel, cobbles and grass pathways - please speak to staff on arrival for the best route for your needs. Disabled parking is available near visitor reception but there is some gravel in areas of the car park. Pushchairs are permitted in all areas of the garden, but please take care. Take care, there are many open water areas around the garden.

Upcoming events


Sargent’s Palette in Bloom Display 

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

Event summary

21 Jul to 31 Oct 2024
11:00 to 16:00
+ 102 other dates or times

Selby Spies: Summer Crafts 

Get crafty with us this summer!

Event summary

25 Jul to 15 Aug 2024
11:00 to 15:00
+ 3 other dates or times

Selby Spies: Garden Trail 

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

Event summary

29 Jul to 1 Sep 2024
10:00 to 17:00
+ 34 other dates or times

Gallyard Tudor Dancers 

Dust off your dancing shoes for a day of Tudor dancing!

Event summary

11 Aug to 18 Aug 2024
11:30 to 15:00
+ 1 other date or time