Sissinghurst Castle, Kent
English Summer Gardens with Hampton Court Garden Festival
Sunday 5th – Friday 10th July 2020 (5 nights)
This spectacular high-season tour explores some of our very best English gardens and houses. Our base is the historic and luxurious Hever Castle and we will enjoy extraordinary gardens in their full profusion, private tours, fascinating historic houses, attractive scenery and experience members-only day at RHS Hampton Court Garden Festival – the largest of its kind in the world.
- Prestigious members-only day at RHS Hampton Court Garden Festival
- 5-star accommodation at Hever Castle with access to the gardens after closing & private castle tour with dinner in the castle
- Pre-opening visit to the iconic gardens of Great Dixter
- World-renowned Sissinghurst Gardens and an exclusive visit to Long Barn – the first home of Vita Sackville-West & Harold Nicolson
- Exclusive lunch and garden tour at Gravetye Manor – former home of William Robinson – father of the ‘English Garden’
- Explore the historic town Royal Tunbridge Wells
- Visit to Chartwell House – home of Sir Winston Churchill, British wartime Prime Minister
- One year’s individual membership of the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS)
Photo credit: Great Dixter, Long Barn and Gravetye Manor – Claire Takacs; Hampton Court Palace – VisitBritain; Penshurst Place; all other images copyright Sisley Garden Tours
Our tour departs Heathrow Airport mid-morning and we make our way to Penshurst Place, a wonderful 13th century fortified manor house with an 11 acre, formal, Grade I listed garden. There is time for lunch (independent) here.
Later we check into the very special Hever Castle, the childhood home of Anne Boleyn, second wife of King Henry VIII. Marvel at this double moated castle and its garden, with a 35 acre lake, fountains and magnificent original Roman and Italian Renaissance statuary. Our exclusive accommodation for five nights, is in the Astor and Anne Boleyn Wings at Hever Castle. We will enjoy dinner in the Tudor Dining Suite (included). Guests are able to explore parts of the grounds at Hever Castle after the castle closes to the public.
Monday 6th July
This morning we enjoy a visit to Nymans Garden, one of the most fashionable and romantic gardens of the Edwardian and interwar years, and the creation of the Messel family. The house was devastated by fire, leaving just a romantic ruin to dominate the garden. We will enjoy a guided garden tour followed by free time for refreshments and exploration.
We then head to Gravetye Manor, the spectacular home of William Robinson, author, botanist and gardener. Gravetye is considered to be amongst the most influential in English gardening history. Robinson’s ideas about naturalised plantings, allowing nature to flow into the garden were ground breaking. The house is now an independently owned hotel. We are treated to lunch in the hotel restaurant (included), followed by a guided tour of the gardens with the Head Gardener. We return to Hever for time at leisure and a light supper (included).
Tuesday 7th July
Tuesday is the prestigious first members-only day of the RHS Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival, the largest flower show in the world and a highlight every time this world-class show is on our itinerary. Explore magnificent floral displays, fascinating show gardens, garden tools and products, a host of garden structures and artefacts and entertaining live music and gardening talks. If you need a quiet moment, step into the beautiful Palace gardens adjacent. Lunch is at leisure at the show (independent).
We return to Kent where we will have dinner (included) in a traditional pub before returning to Hever Castle.
Wednesday 8th July
We start the day with a private pre-opening guided tour of Great Dixter House and Garden, a cottage garden on a grand scale. In 1910 the English architect Edwin Lutyens restored the house and designed the gardens. The well-known gardening writer and lecturer Christopher Lloyd who further developed the garden until his passing in 2006, liked to tease the followers of garden fashion with bold experimentation. The gardens are now superbly managed by internationally renowned gardener, Fergus Garrett.
Our second visit today is to Sissinghurst Castle, a romantic garden created around a slender brick-built castle tower – this is always one of our most enjoyed visits. Its designer Vita Sackville-West’s own words describe the garden: “Profusion, even extravagance and exuberance within the confines of the utmost linear severity”. There will be free time for lunch (independent) and exploration of the gardens.
We end the day with a lovely walk through the historic spa town of Royal Tunbridge Wells where we have dinner (included).
Thursday 9th July
Today we visit Chartwell House, home of Sir Winston Churchill, wartime British Prime Minister. Chartwell is much more than a house, it boasts an extensive garden with far-reaching views, a studio which is home to the largest collection of Churchill paintings and an estate comprising of over 80 acres to explore. there will be time for lunch (independent) in the pleasant cafe and shop before we leave.
In the afternoon we are treated to an exclusive visit to the beautiful private gardens at Long Barn, the first home of Vita Sackville-West and Harold Nicolson – where they ‘served their gardening apprenticeship’. We will meet the owner and have refreshments on the terrace before strolling through these historically important gardens.
We return to Hever Castle for a private tour of the castle followed by dinner in the majestic and atmospheric Castle Dining Room (included).
Friday 10th July
For our final visit of the tour, we go to RHS Wisley, the home of the Royal Horticultural Society. Full of ideas and information, the garden delights and inspires in any season of the year. We enjoy a guided tour so you’ll be sure to see the very best of these impressive gardens. The shop offers a large collection of books on gardening. We stay for lunch (independent) at Wisley.
We then make two coach drop-offs; the first at Heathrow Airport and the second in central London. We can advise on departure planning.
Note: This tour includes one year’s individual membership of the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS).
Please read our Tour Joining and Departure Arrangements information sheet here
Have you ever dreamed of staying at an English Castle? Well, here is your chance.
Our luxury accommodation for this five-night tour will be in the Astor Wing and the Anne Boleyn Wing, an Edwardian Wing designed in the Tudor style attached to Hever Castle by an enclosed bridge over the moat. The comfortably appointed accommodation offers antique furnishings and original features along with all the modern comforts required – ensuite bathrooms, wifi and luxury textiles. We will have exclusive use of the Astor wing during our stay. There is an outdoor heated pool, tennis court and billiards room for your exclusive use. Guests can access parts of the garden when it is closed to the public.
|Tour cost per person (sharing twin or double room)||Single Supplement (for single occupancy of a double room)|
|£3,550 (GBP)||£290 (GBP)|
PRICES INCLUDE: Exclusive accommodation at Hever Castle with en-suite facilities based on twin/double room share; buffet breakfast daily; 1 lunch and 5 dinners; admissions to gardens and RHS Hampton Court Garden Festival on members-only day; one year’s membership to the RHS; deluxe coach travel with professional driver; guided tours as described in an information pack provided at the start of the tour; services of your Sisley tour director throughout; arrival transfers are included only if you are joining the tour at Heathrow Airport on the first morning of the tour.
PRICES EXCLUDE: Airfares; passport and/or visa fees; beverages; laundry; telephone calls; lunches and dinners (except where included in the itinerary); gratuities; souvenirs and items of a personal nature.
EXCHANGE RATE INFORMATION: You can get an idea of the cost of the tour in your local currency by using a currency converter. Conversion rates are based on institutional or inter-bank daily rates. Retail conversation rates include fees and will generally differ from these rates.
We are delighted you’ve decided to join a Sisley Garden Tour. There are several ways to book:
- You can book directly through Sisley Garden Tours
- You can book through our appointed agents in the USA, Worldwide Traveler and pay in $USD
- You can ask your local travel agent to contact us and book on your behalf
- We can also offer Bespoke Tours for small groups (minimum 12). Please contact us with your requirements.
We very much look forward to welcoming you.