by Aspect County

House & Gardens of Penshurst Place

With an original chestnut beamed ceiling, the Baron’s Hall at the centre of Penshurst Place and Gardens remains largely unchanged since its completion in 1341 and is one of few still surviving medieval halls in England. In 1552, the house, gardens and wider estate were given to the Sidney family by Edward VI – it has remained in their safe hands ever since. Today the hall is joined by a collection of staterooms brimming with antiquities, portraiture, tapestries, and lots more. 

Penshurst Place South

In 2023, the newest addition to the house collection was opened – the Victorian Kitchen Exhibition. Be transported through time and enjoy learning about how a countryside manor house such as that at Penshurst Place would have depended on its team of staff, its kitchen gardens, and its local landscape. Also on display is the large personal collection of the family’s copper cookware, including intricate jelly and pie moulds, alongside activities for adults and children to enjoy such as creating your own perfect Victorian menu, or having a go at identifying the smells in the mystery spice box!

Peony Border June 2022 4

Those with horticulture on their minds will adore the historic walled gardens of Penshurst Place; with records dating back to 1346, they provide a superb example of Elizabethan garden design. Visitors to the gardens will find 11 acres of garden rooms divided by over 1 mile of yew hedging, providing a variety of form, foliage and bloom throughout the year. Garden highlights include the 100metre Peony Border that blooms in late May, providing a spectacular array of pinks and fuchsias for the early summer. The Orchard, and restored Rose Garden are also not to be missed, showing a variety of plant life and colour throughout the season. Be sure to stop and admire the Union Flag Garden which showcases a spectacular Union Jack design using roses and lavender which peaks in late summer. Other fantastic garden rooms to see during your visit include the Grey and White Garden, the magnificent Italian Garden with its large central fountain, and the Magnolia Garden, to name but a few.

Barons Hall c David Fenwick

Surrounding the historic building of Penshurst Place which dates back to 1341, visitors will find a variety of manicured lawns, ancient trees, and shady spots for a quiet rest and relaxation. For those visiting with children, Penshurst Place provides a variety of family-friendly events throughout the year including garden trails, crafts, and storytelling. The historic house and gardens also play host to a number of special ticketed events including outdoor theatres, and special dining experiences. 

Away from the formal gardens, is the ancient historic parkland of the Penshurst Place estate, which features a rich mix of landscapes, habitats and wildlife. There are two self-guided walking trails available that take in the beautiful village of Penshurst, and a local bicycle route that leads cyclists to central Tonbridge. Once your walk is completed, a cup of coffee and something sweet is well-deserved and available from the onsite Porcupine Pantry Café. If a spot of retail therapy is more for you don’t miss the Penshurst Place Gift Shop which is brimming with homewares from Kent suppliers, alongside gifts, fragrances, children’s toys and much more.