Voted among the top 10 best English gardens to visit, Scotney Castle looks like it came out from a fairytale. Located south-east of Lamberhurst in Kent, it features a medieval moated manor house, Scotney Old Castle, which was built by Roger Ashburnham at the end of the 14th-century and quietly sits across the still waters of the moat.
The next owners, the Catholic Darrell family who rebuilt the south wing in 1580 in Elizabethan architecture style, hid the Jesuit Father Blount in the Priest's hole which can still be seen in the Castle. 50 years later, the eastern range was rebuilt in three story Inigo Jones style. The Elizabethan wing remained a bailiff's residence until 1905, but the eastern range was partly dismantled.
It is romantically surrounded by sloping, picturesque, wooded gardens, which produce exquisite displays of colors in spring thanks to their extensive collection of rhododendrons, azaleas and kalmia.
The Old Castle, glimpsed beyond a carpet of colourful flowers, from the Bastion - ©National Trust Images/Stephen Robson
Picturesque gardens by the moat
Wisteria and roses contribute to the summer colors and fall brings a spectacular festival of warm hot colors as the leaves turn. Here are some beautiful bright pink and vivid orange Ghent azalea.
Ghent azalea - ©National Trust Images/Stephen Robson
The Darrell family owned the estate for some 350 years. In 1778 Edward Hussey bought the estate and his grandson, built a 'new' Castle at the top of the gardens between 1835 and 1843.
The nineteenth-century house designed by Salvin in 1835
Designed by Anthony Salvin, it is an early, and unusually restrained, example of Tudor Revival architectural style in 19th century Britain. It can be visited for our great pleasure.
The Hall towards the fireplace and alcove in the new house at Scotney, Kent
The hollow created was developed into a Quarry Garden and contains a 100 million year old impression of a dinosaur's footprint.
Steps leading to the quarry garden with ferns and welsh poppies and azaleas below -©National Trust Images/Stephen Robson
On Christopher Hussey's death in 1970 the estate was left to the National Trust (www.nationaltrust.org.uk). Following the death of the last resident, Elizabeth Hussey, in 2006, this house was opened to the public for the first time on June 6, 2007.