Dadmans is a perfect venue from which to explore the Garden of England.
It is midway between the coastal ports (and Channel Tunnel) and London, which can be reached in 35 minutes or 1 hour respectively.
Below is an index of some of the delights this county has to offer.
There are three important reserves on the North Kent coast, the closest being only 10 minutes drive away at Conyer. For more information contact http://www.northkentbirding.co.uk.
- DEAL CASTLE is another of Henry VIII’s fortresses and is built in the shape of a Tudor Rose. There are battlements, dark passages and a huge basement within which various exhibitions are staged. http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/server/show/nav.14558
- DOVER CASTLE is strategically placed on the famous White Cliffs of Dover and can be reached in 35 minutes. Not only is there a splendid Norman keep but the secret Wartime tunnels provided a World War II hospital and operation centre used in the evacuation of Dunkirk. See also www.English-Heritage.org.ukfor more details
- LEEDS CASTLE “The most beautiful castle in the world” –Lord Conway. Set in 500 acres of parkland and a site of heritage and natural habitats. Interesting gardens and other visitor attractions including open air concerts in the summer. See also www.leeds-castle.com
- RICHBOROUGH ROMAN FORT is the point from which the Romans launched their successful invasion of Britain in 43 A.D. Extensive remains of the walls and defensive ditches can be seen. 01304 612013. Visit English Heritage Site.
- ROCHESTER CASTLE. See http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/daysout/properties/rochester-castle/.
- WALMER CASTLE was built in 1540 as part of Henry VIII’s chain of coastal defences. Centuries of domestic refinements have transformed it from a fortress to an elegant stately home with beautiful gardens. It is the official residence of the Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports. See also Gardens. Tel: 01304 364288
- Canterbury Cathedral 01227 762 862 www.canterbury-cathedral.org
- Rochester Cathedral 01634 843366 www.rochestercathedral.org
There is a huge choice in the area – Canterbury alone has many, many to choose from so here are a few within 10 minutes drive in local villages and our nearest town, Faversham.
- Faversham Read’s Restaurant 01795 535344
- Lewson Street The Plough Inn 01795 521348
- Lynsted The Black Lion 01795 521229
- Milstead The Red Lion 01795 830279
- Eastling The Carpenters Arms 01795 890234
- Newnham The George 01795 890237
- Oare The Three Mariners 01795 533633
The list is endless and the Yellow Book Gardens Open for Charity is perhaps the best guide to use but listed below are some of the most well-known. For more information www.ngs.org.uk
- BELMONT HOUSE, Faversham. Not only outstanding gardens but the home of a wonderful clock collection in a beautiful house. (See Museums) Tel. 01795 890202. www.belmont-house.org
- BROGDALE FARM is home of the National fruit collections. It has over 4000 varieties of fruit trees and plants in 150 acres of rural Kent. https://www.brogdalecollections.org/
- DODDINGTON PLACE GARDENS are the closest to Dadmans being less than five minutes drive away. May is the best time of year to see the rhododendrons and woodland walk, but the formal gardens and Edwardian rockery are well worth a visit. Open from Easter to the end of June. An opera is staged in the summer. Tel. 01795 886385. www.doddingtonplacegardens.co.uk
- GOODNESTONE PARK GARDENS cover approximately 14 acres. Old specimen trees, a newly planted lime avenue, mature woodland, 1920’s rockery and pond and the “infamous” walled garden. The garden is undergoing changes and new planting all the time and the house was visited frequently by Jane Austen as her brother married a daughter of the house. Throughout the year various events are staged ranging from educational horticultural talks to concerts and firework displays. Tel. 01304 840107. www.goodnestoneparkgardens.co.uk
- MOUNT EPHRAIM GARDENS are enchanting Edwardian gardens with terraces of fragrant roses which lead to a small lake and woodland area. Spring bulbs, trees and shrubs, including rhododendrons, topiary and an extensive Japanese rock garden as well as a vineyard. Throughout the year various events are staged such as plays and operas. Tel. 01227 751496.
- SISSINGHURST CASTLE. The famous gardens laid out by Vita Sackville-West and best referenced through the National Trust which will have information on other gardens in the South East.
- WALMER CASTLE GARDENS have been influenced over the centuries by successive Lord Wardens. The gardens comprise the Broad Walk with its large groups of bearded irises, phlox and New Zealand flax. There are Yew hedges and terraces and a 95’ lily pond, topiary and a new summer house recently designed and laid out for the Queen Mother. (See also Museums). Tel. 01304 364288.
- Boughton 01227 752277
- Chart Hills, Biddenden 01580 292148
- Faversham 01795 890275
- The London, Brands Hatch 01474 879899
- Royal Cinque Ports, Deal 01304 374328
- Prince’s, Sandwich 01304 611118
- Royal St George’s, Sandwich 01304 613090
Again, there are many, but here are a few to whet your appetite in the following towns.
- The Canterbury Tales
- The Roman Museum
- Chatham Historic Dockyard
- Maison Dieu Hall
- The Roman Painted House
- The White Cliffs Experience
- Belmont House
- The Fleur de Lis Heritage Centre
- Motor Museum
- Spitfire and Hurricane Memorial Building
- Quex Park
- Walmer Castle (see under Gardens)
- Lydden Circuit 01304 830557
- The Gulbenkian Theatre, Canterbury Tel: 01227 769075
- The Marlowe Theatre, CanterburyTel: 01227 763262
- Gatwick: 1 hour 10 minutes
- Heathrow: 1 hour 40 minutes
- Channel Tunnel: 30 minutes
- Dover: 40 minutes
- London: 1 to 1½ hours
- P & O Stena Line Dover Tel. 0870 600 0600
- Seafrance Tel. 0870 571 1711
- Sittingbourne for London/Dover 5 miles
- Ashford for London or Channel Tunnel (Lille/Paris etc.) 20 miles
- National Rail Enquiries, Tel: 0845 748 4950
- Channel Tunnel, Tel: 01303 272222
- See www.ordsvy.gov.uk for the relevant Landranger map number
- The North Downs Way can be picked up 6 miles away just above Lenham. The Saxon Shore Way can be picked up 4½ miles away in Conyer.
- We also hold many maps which you are welcome to peruse.
- HOWLETTS: Wild Animal Park is a 90 acre site with the largest captive breeding group of gorillas in the world. There are also African elephants, tigers, wolves, wild dogs, small cats and rare monkeys. Tel. – 01227 721286.
- PORT LYMPNE: Wild Animal Park is even bigger than its relation, Howletts and has lions, rhinos, bison and many more animals. Tel. 01303 264647 www.howletts.net.