National Trust – Scotney Castle, Kent

UPDATE MARCH 2022: This article was written whilst government restrictions were in place due to Covid-19. It is not now necessary to pre-book your visit. Additionally more areas at Scotney Castle are now open and face masks are not mandatory.

PLEASE NOTE: I’ve left the body of this article as it was originally written as I think it’s beneficial to look back to see how things were for a period in England during 2020 and 2021. In a way I feel that it makes us more appreciative of the freedom that we usually take for granted. I hope that the pandemic has made many people more thankful for simpler things and also perhaps to have developed a love of nature.

They say you don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone… I now really value and appreciate those little things that we usually take for granted, particularly because of the pandemic that is affecting the world at the current time. I honestly didn’t realise how much I have missed jumping into the car and jaunting off for a wonderful day out on a whim. I think the last four months have just been an emotional whirlwind with all that’s been going on and we have just been forced to gracefully accept that places of interest, visitor attractions, gardens, restaurants and pubs are all going to be closed until further notice.

It’s probably common knowledge that the National Trust re-opened their gardens a little while ago but I was a little too apprehensive to visit immediately. I think like many others, being at home is my comfort zone and if I’m honest I’ve been avoiding supermarkets and anywhere else that people are likely to be frequenting, like the plague (no pun intended.). Last week I was brave enough to visit our local garden centre and how glad am I that I bit the bullet, especially as it led to an enjoyable afternoon of gardening and planting – I think the garden was pretty thankful too. Subsequently with shops and pubs now opening up again, it felt like the time was right to consider visiting one of our much loved National Trust treasures again.

A sneaky peek of the old Scotney castle

Our usual haunt is Chartwell but we decided we should be a tad more adventurous and venture a little further afield. Looking at the National Trust website for gardens that are dog friendly we made the decision to visit Scotney Castle in Kent, as we have never been there before. Scotney Castle is situated in the pretty village of Lamberhurst, close to Tunbridge Wells.

Pretty scene at Scotney Castle

We are members of the National Trust and usually a visit can be made on the spur of the moment, however to ensure social distancing it is now necessary to book a timed slot. Unsurprisingly many time slots were already booked but 11.30am – 12.00 pm today (Thursday) was available and although the weather forecast for the day was actually pretty bleak, I felt so eager to actually go out somewhere that I wouldn’t have cared too much had it been hailing!

In the National Trust handbook, Scotney castle is described beautifully as follows:

The medieval moated Old Scotney Castle lies in a peaceful wooded valley. In the 19th century its owner, Edward Hussey III, set about building a new house, partially demolishing the old castle to create a romantic folly, the centrepiece of his picturesque landscape. From the terraces of the new house, sweeps of rhododendrons and azaleas cascade down the slope in summer, followed by highlights of autumn leaf colour, mirrored in the moat. In the house three generations have made their mark, adding possessions and character to the homely Victorian mansion which enjoys far-reaching views out across the estate.

If you want to find out more about Scotney Castle and the facilities available take a look at the National Trust website.

There were so many beautiful hydrangeas in bloom

It was evident on arrival that social distancing measures are in place, particularly that there is a one way system enabling all visitors to Scotney Castle to enjoy the grounds without coming into direct contact with others – actually this was particularly helpful for us as we hadn’t visit before so at least we had a route to follow! We were accompanied by our two springers, who needed to be kept on leads, and we really enjoyed strolling around the grounds at our leisure. It was really simple to follow the route and there were a couple of options where you could go a little off track if you wished to.

Dog walk at Scotney Castle

It honestly was so lovely to actually be out somewhere, I can’t believe how much I had missed enjoying a day out, I guess we just go with the flow don’t we and obey the rules for the ‘new normal.’ It is so good for our mental health to get outside in the fresh air and particularly if we can find somewhere we can be surrounded by nature. I am really trying hard to improve my photography skills and there were some stunning flowers, plants and scenery to capture with my phone. I am still learning so please be kind!

There were certain areas that aren’t open yet, such as the walled garden, the house and the castle. A map is available showing the closed sections. Personally for me it was disappointing that the walled garden wasn’t open – I absolutely adore a walled garden, don’t you? However I am certain that the National Trust have made that decision for good reason. Several people were queuing outside the gift shop so we didn’t venture in, choosing instead to sit on a lovely old stone bench with a bottle of delicious Sicilian lemonade. I didn’t see the Tea Room, this may have been inside the shop building but as a cautious adventurer I was not in too much of a hurry to sit inside.

Dog friendly Scotney Castle

Importantly I felt so safe whilst there and for a couple of hours we were able to appreciate and acknowledge our love of nature, almost forgetting the pandemic that is currently sweeping the nation.

What you need to know about Scotney Castle

  • You can find out more about Scotney Castle on the National Trust website or app.
  • Scotney Castle is located in Lamberhurst, fairly near to Tunbridge Wells, Kent and accessed and signposted from the A21.
  • Sandwiches and refreshments are available for purchase during your visit.
  • There are toilets available for your use.
  • Dogs are welcome but they do have to be kept on a lead whilst walking around the estate.
  • There are speed bumps along the main drive leading to the car park.
  • We visited at a time when Covid restrictions were in place. Now restrictions are lifted it is not necessary to book.


    • Thank you! We’ve been on a few other walks but seeing so many more walkers than normal. It’s so nice to get back to NT especially now
      Visitors are numbered 😀

      Liked by 2 people

  1. I really enjoyed reading this post and love your pretty photos! Your dogs are adorable!💗 What phone are you using? The quality is so good I assumed it was a DSLR.

    Like you I’m slow to venture out but miss having adventures. Thanks for sharing yours.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment on my post, I am so pleased you enjoyed it. I just took my photos on my iPhone XS so thank you for the compliments!! I’ve missed going out so much so have booked to visit Chartwell on one of my days off next week 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much Alex, I’m really sorry it has taken me so long to reply, your comment didn’t show for some reason and I’ve just found in whilst in WP-admin. We had a really lovely day and I am trying really hard to improve my photography skills so really appreciate your feedback xx

      Liked by 1 person

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