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Group visits at Sissinghurst Castle Garden

Keen photographers in a group visit to Sissinghurst Castle
Keen photographers in a group visit to Sissinghurst Castle | © National Trust Images/Arnhel de Serra

Whether you’re a regular visitor to Sissinghurst Castle Garden, or planning your first trip, make your group visit a happy and memorable one.

A creative approach to gardening

Sited in the grounds of a great Elizabethan house, framed by the rich Kentish landscape of woods, farmland, lakes and streams, the famous Sissinghurst Castle Garden with its pink brick tower is the result of creative tension between the formal design approach of Harold Nicolson and the abundant planting preferences of his wife, Vita Sackville-West.

Layers of colour

The layers of colour, intimacy of different garden ‘rooms’ and rich herbaceous borders are the epitome of an English garden and provide an ever-changing picture through the seasons.

Vegetable garden and wildlife

The wider estate includes a vegetable garden, lakes, fields, woods and a rich variety of wildlife. Spot dragonflies, birds and butterflies among a carpet of bluebells in spring and wildflowers in summer.

The vegetable plot, as well as offering far-reaching views of the estate, is also where we grow some of the ingredients used in the restaurant and coffee shop, ensuring it’s travelled metres, not miles.

Plant sales and gift souvenirs

For a gift or souvenir, look no further than our gift and plant shops with ranges designed exclusively for Sissinghurst, or take home a plant grown in our nursery.

Plan a group visit

If you’re planning a visit with 15 or more people, please pre-book, which will also book a coach or minibus space. This ensures that there aren’t too many people in the garden at any one time, and your queuing time will be reduced. We’ll send you a booking form and confirm prices with you when you phone or email.

Three visitors, one in a wheelchair, passing a mound of purple flowers in the gardens in July at Sissinghurst Castle, Kent
Enjoying the gardens in July at Sissinghurst Castle, Kent | © National Trust Images/Arnhel de Serra

Enjoy an early-bird tour

From March to October on Tuesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday mornings, from 10am-11am, there’s exclusive garden access for early-bird groups, before normal opening hours. This is a guided visit where you can find out more about the garden, the wider estate and its history and then stay a while to explore on your own.

The guided tours are in English and large groups are often split into smaller groups of approximately 10, with one guide per group. Please make sure that you have sufficient interpreters, if required.

Due to the garden’s narrow paths it’s not possible to lead a guided tour after 11am. If you have any questions during your visit please don’t hesitate to ask a member of staff or volunteer.

How to make a group booking or an early-bird booking

For a group booking, or early-bird booking, there must be a minimum of 15 visitors, maximum 35 visitors, and the visit must be booked in advance.

To check availability for your chosen date email: sissinghurst@nationaltrust.org.uk or telephone 01580 710700. These tours can sell out quickly and we suggest that you provisionally book your group as far in advance as possible to avoid disappointment.

Please have the following ready when you contact us.

  • whether it’s a group booking or an early-bird booking
  • contact details (name of group, address, phone number and email address if possible)
  • details of group leader
  • visit date
  • coach arrival time (not garden entry time)
  • approximate group size
  • group catering requirements The minimum number for group catering is 15 and all members of the group must choose from the same menu in advance of their visit. Final numbers and menu choices must be confirmed in advance and full payment made on arrival.

Once a provisional booking is made we’ll send you a booking form. Please complete and return a copy of this as soon as possible. Once we’ve checked everything, we’ll send you a confirmation.

Visitors in the autumn at Sissinghurst Castle Garden, Kent, surrounded by orange and yellow flowers, with the tower visible in the background
A warm autumn day at Sissinghurst Castle Garden, Kent | © National Trust Images/Arnhel de Serra

On the day

If you’re delayed, it’s important that the driver or group leader contacts us on 01580 710701. When you arrive you’ll be welcomed by a guide, who will show you to your parking space. The group will be met at visitor reception by the additional guides and the tour will begin.

A buggy is available from the main car park to transport you to and from various points on our site. If any of your visitors have mobility issues please inform us in advance, as the guided tour may need to take a different route depending on your requirements.

If you need further assistance you can borrow wheelchairs from visitor reception. A map of the garden, showing accessibility routes, is available at the garden entrance.

If you’ve booked catering, your group should go to the restaurant at the pre-booked time and the group leader should speak to a member of staff. You’ll be directed to your seating while the group leader makes a single payment for the pre-ordered meals (we accept cash, credit or debit cards, cheques, made payable to National Trust, or travel company vouchers).

Opening times for group visits and early-bird visits (main season only)

Normal garden opening times, 28 March– 31 October, 111am-5.30pm, seven days a week. Last admission 4:45pm.

The earliest possible coach arrival time for standard group visits is 10.30am.

Early-bird tours 28 March –31 October, 10am-11am Tues/Fri/Sat/Sun.

Catering and retail outlets opening times, 9 March - 31 October, 10am-5.30pm, seven days a week.

Enjoy lunch or afternoon tea

Lunches are served in the Granary Restaurant. Our menu changes every season and uses produce from the Sissinghurst Castle estate. Or treat yourselves to afternoon tea, with sandwiches, a freshly baked scone, clotted cream and locally made jam, and homemade cake, plus a pot of tea or a cup of filter coffee.

There are picnic benches on the grass plain opposite visitor reception if you wish to bring your own food; we’re unable to allow picnics in the garden.

Free familiarisation visits for group leaders

If you're planning a group visit you can request our free Travel Trade Pass and you and a friend or colleague will gain free entry to over 300 of our places throughout England, Wales and Northern Ireland for 12 months. There’s nothing quite like seeing or experiencing somewhere for yourself to help you plan a successful visit. To receive your pass, call 0344 800 2329 or email us at NTTravelTrade@capita.co.uk.

Who is eligible for free entry?

Registered tourist board guides (on production of a valid badge), coach drivers and tour leaders escorting groups of 15 or more. National Trust members also receive free entry, so it is at your discretion whether to refund the entrance fee to members if you have included it in your package – this is not refunded by the National Trust.

Members must bring their current membership cards with them to avoid paying the full group rate. If any of your group would like to join the National Trust please direct them to our Membership page or call 0344 800 1895.

The tower is seen through the branches of a magnolia tree, with a few pale pink flowers, at Sissinghurst Castle Garden, Kent

Discover more at Sissinghurst

Find out when Sissinghurst Castle Garden is open, how to get here, the things to see and do and more.

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