Stories about Castles and Gardens – Part 2

Ashwina reminded me that I hadn’t posted the sequel of my award-winning, must-read blog post titled Stories about Castles and Gardens. Ah, well, umm, it might not have won any awards, but it’s definitely a must-read for all of you, my loyal readers.

Over the summer we visited several more castles and houses. All of these are National Trust properties, and so entry and parking are free. We also took a week off to Suffolk, but that’s for another blog post.

Polesden Lacey

This has been our most visited property this year. Located in Surrey, Polesden Lacey is a 1,600-acre estate with a gorgeous Edwardian house and stunning gardens. It’s also the furthest away from where we live – about 100 miles drive both ways but the M25 makes it a relatively quick journey.

Ajay with the Polesden Lacey House in the background
Ajay with the Polesden Lacey House in the background
The Polesden Lacey House
The Polesden Lacey House
The view from Polesden Lacey
The view from Polesden Lacey

We’ve usually planned our trips to arrive at about lunchtime, which is the best time to arrive. During our first trip, we visited the house and the adjacent gardens. On our second visit, the weather was lovely, so we decided to walk around the estate. Our third visit was relatively quick and involved lunch and Ashwina picking up a bench from the National Trust shop.

Ightham Mote

Hidden away in a secluded Kent valley, is this perfectly preserved medieval moated manor house. Emerging from the natural landscape almost 700 years ago, Ightham Mote is built from Kentish ragstone and great Wealden oaks.

Ightham Mote Manor house - the entrance
Ightham Mote Manor house – the entrance
Ightham Mote Manor house - side view
Ightham Mote Manor house – side view

As with most places we visit, we first visited the manor house which was first built in the 14th century. Between 1985 and 2006, the National Trust spent about £10 million restoring the house. We also spent some time exploring the estate which is amazingly green and refreshing. But I can also imagine it getting very cold in autumn and winter. If you’re visiting Ightham Mote, we prepared for some steep slopes to and fro.


We decided to meet Vincent, Indrita and their daughter at Knole one hot summer day. So hot, that I wore my shorts for a change – no photos, please. The Knole estate is over 600 years old and, this time, unlike other properties we didn’t visit the showrooms/house but walked around the parkland which was teeming with deer.

Look! A Deer!
Ajay at Knole

We do plan on going back to Knole and exploring other parts of the estate – probably once the weather gets better next year.

Sissinghurst Castle Garden

This is a relatively new property compared to the other ones that we visited. Vita Sackville-West, the poet and writer, began transforming Sissinghurst Castle in the 1930s with her diplomat and author husband, Harold Nicolson.

Sissinghurst Castle - The Formal Garden
Sissinghurst Castle – The Formal Garden
Sissinghurst Castle - View from the Top
Sissinghurst Castle – View from the Top

We spent a lot of time in the vegetable garden with our little one venturing out on foot on the soft grass. I also climbed all the way to the top of the tower to capture some photographs of the entire estate.

And this brought a close to our day trips for the year. We took a week off to visit Suffolk and I’ll soon post about our holiday there. This time I won’t wait for a few months!

Have you visited any of these places?

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