Gardens of Kent and Sussex Gardeners World Exclusive

All tours on this holiday have now departed. Future departure dates will be confirmed in due course.

  • Glorious Sissinghurst Castle, creation of Vita Sackville-West and Harold Nicolson

  • Borde Hill’s enchanting “garden rooms”

  • Wakehurst – the Sussex outpost of the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew

  • Lutyens’ Great Dixter House and Gardens

  • Hever Castle and Gardens – childhood home of Anne Boleyn

Kent is known as the “Garden of England” for good reason – historically for its production of hops, fruit and vegetables and, in recent times, for the superb wines that its plethora of vineyards, such as Chapel Down, produce. So, it is no surprise that its gardens, and those of neighbouring Sussex, are as prolific and abundant as its agriculture. Our lovely new tour for 2024, in the company of BBC Gardeners’ World Associate Editor David Hurrion, takes us to a selection of wonderful gardens, in a variety of styles and sizes and often attached to spectacular houses, such as Sissinghurst Castle, home to Vita Sackville West and Lutyens’ masterful Great Dixter House.

ITINERARY

Day 1: Arrive independently at the East Sussex National Hotel from 15.00 for check-in. Evening welcome drink and talk from David Hurrion followed by 3-course dinner with 2 glasses of wine per person.

Day 2: Borde Hill and Wakehurst
Our exploration begins with a guided tour of Borde Hill Garden followed by a light lunch. The “garden rooms” at Borde Hill were originally planted by Col Robert Stephenson Clark but have been renewed, updated and refreshed by subsequent generations of the family, giving the visitor a series of delights including Jay Robin’s Rose Garden, Italian Garden, Paradise Walk, Round Dell, Garden of Allah and Azalea Ring. After lunch we head to Wakehurst, the Sussex outpost of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, to see its wild botanic garden, home to the Milennium Seed Bank and over 500 acres of diverse landscapes and plants from around the globe. Evening dinner in the hotel restaurant.

Day 3: Sissinghurst Castle Garden, Great Dixter House and Hole Park Gardens
A packed day starts with a visit to Sissinghurst Castle Garden, a world-renowned garden, created by Vita Sackville-West and Harold Nicolson, famous members of the literary “Bloomsbury Set” of the early 20th century, who fell in love with the Castle. Free time for lunch (not included) before moving on to Great Dixter House and Gardens. Family home of gardener, gardening writer and TV presenter, Christopher Lloyd, the house was designed by Edwin Lutyens, whose work in Delhi and Flanders made him one of the most famous architects of the 20th century. The garden was nurtured by Lloyd until his death in 2006 and is in the Arts & Crafts style with three 18th century oast houses and a 15th century barn in its midst. Finally, to privately-owned Hole Park Gardens, designed by Christopher Lloyd, for a guided tour followed by some light refreshments. Evening dinner in the hotel restaurant.

Day 4:  Pashley Manor Gardens and Hever Castle
The last day of our fascinating itinerary takes us to Pashley Manor Gardens for a guided tour and free time for lunch (not included). The 11 acres of Pashley Manor Gardens display all the ingredients of a classic English Country Garden – sweeping herbaceous borders, immaculate lawns, rose walk, walled and kitchen garden, box hedges – with a grade I listed house as its stunning backdrop. Our last visit is to historic Hever Castle and Gardens, child hood home to Anne Boleyn, mother of Queen Elizabeth I. The double-moated 14th century castle is set in 125 acres of grounds and time is allowed to visit the castle and the magnificent award-winning gardens. Return to the hotel for approximately 17.30hrs.

NB: Exact order of itinerary may vary according to local conditions and tour manager's discretion 

Please note: Post tour extra nights are available at a supplement.

Please note the maximum group size on this tour is 48 passengers.

INCLUDED

  • Three nights’ dinner, bed and breakfast at the four-star East Sussex National Hotel, based on shared occupancy of a twin/double room
  • Welcome drink and two glasses of wine with first night dinner
  • One light lunch at Borde Hill Garden
  • Light refreshments at Hole Park Gardens
  • Coach transfers throughout the tour
  • David Hurrion as tour manager and expert throughout the tour

NOT INCLUDED

  • Transport to the hotel is not included
  • Double for sole use supplement - £180  
  • Extra nights on bed and breakfast basis
  • Holiday insurance 
  • Meals other than those stated
  • Items of a personal nature such as drinks, laundry, telephone calls etc
  • Porterage and gratuities

HOTEL

East Sussex National Hotel, Little Horsted, nr Uckfield

Four-star spa hotel, with two championship golf courses and well located to visit the sites on this itinerary. Facilities include bar, restaurant, spa, indoor pool and very comfortable bedrooms with all modern amenities including en-suite bathroom, TV, telephone, free wifi, air-conditioning, hairdryer and tea/coffee making facilities. 

Car park is free of charge to guests. 

MORE INFO

Your Guide - David Hurrion
David started gardening as a young child and has been growing plants for more than 40 years. He has worked in gardens and nurseries, growing on a range of different soils and in different types of microclimate. His extensive knowledge and practical experience of plants, crops and growing techniques is founded on a thorough botanical and scientific training, complemented by an in depth understanding of garden design, wildlife, geology and climatology. He also trained as a teacher and has taught a huge diversity of subjects from botany, soil science and plant identification, to propagation, garden design and crop production, and from City & Guilds through to Degree level. He is also a popular speaker with local gardening groups.

As a journalist, David has spent more than 20 years writing for and editing the nation’s crop of garden magazines, currently as Associate Editor for BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine. He has also written for a number of websites and appeared both as a regular contributor and an expert commentator on TV and radio. David is a popular figure in the horticultural world, well liked and respected for his knowledge by nurserymen, professional gardeners, journalists and the gardening public. He has designed, built and planted show gardens and display stands at most of the major garden shows in the UK, including the world-famous Chelsea Flower Show, and is now a Designate Judge for the Royal Horticultural Society.

He has also travelled to every continent, with the exception of Antarctica, to discover plants and gardens, both independently and on more than 50 trips accompanying groups of gardeners


 

Please note that all our UK tours start and finish at the relevant hotel.  

You can normally check in from 3pm onwards but hotels will always be happy to store your luggage if you arrive earlier in the day. 

For full details of how to get to the hotel, directions and the nearest train station, please click on the hotel website or call our office for details. These will also be sent automatically with your confirmation. 

The welcome reception and first evening dinner / talk will commence at about 6pm - full details will be sent with your joining instructions about 10 days prior to the arrival date.

Administation
Brochure Description
Accommodation
Tour Manager
Sightseeing Tours
Overall Impression

guide and coach transport excellent

Review by anonymous who travelled 02-June-2024


Administation
Brochure Description
Flight/Train/Ferry
Accommodation
Tour Manager
Sightseeing Tours
Overall Impression

Tours, bus, guide, organisation were all excellent. Hotel was Ok but not a 4* hotel in my opinion as the brochure said. Food was poor and service moderate.

Review by Stutt who travelled 02-June-2024


Administation
Brochure Description
Accommodation
Tour Manager
Sightseeing Tours
Overall Impression

David Hurrion makes the trips exceptional. The hotel accommodation was really but the dinners were a let down, repetitive menus and luke warm food.

Review by anonymous who travelled 02-June-2024


Administation
Brochure Description
Accommodation
Tour Manager
Sightseeing Tours
Overall Impression

It surpassed our expectations in all aspects.

Review by Hudleston who travelled 02-June-2024


Administation
Brochure Description
Accommodation
Tour Manager
Sightseeing Tours
Overall Impression

An excellent garden tour. A very good choice of gardens. The owner of Hole Park gardens provided an excellent tour being very good and well deliverd. The coach and driver were top class. Our leader David Mullion was extremely good add approachable. Overall a great tour.

Review by Armstrong who travelled 02-June-2024


Administation
Brochure Description
Accommodation
Tour Manager
Sightseeing Tours
Overall Impression

The tour was wonderful and the guide was brilliant. I enjoyed every minute and would definitely take another trip. The hotel was ok but the food was terrible. I think i got a stomach bug there.

Review by Yotzer who travelled 02-June-2024


Administation
Brochure Description
Accommodation
Tour Manager
Sightseeing Tours
Overall Impression

As ever David is an excellent host, as a group leader and specifically in gardening matters. His knowledge is endless! The hotel was incredible, never having heard it before ( we are not golfers) but one thing was irksome. It has to be the only place where you cannot order a glass of wine at your table. A bottle yes, but a glass no! Result, queue at the bar. They can do better than that!

Review by anonymous who travelled 02-June-2024


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