Leisure & Travel
by Aspect County

Growth and Tranquility

Water Lane, Hawkhurst, is an idyllic walled garden in the High Weald of Kent on the Kent/Sussex borders. Dating back to the 1800s, the site includes Grade II Victorian glasshouses, a Melon House, Cucumber House, Pelargonium House, Peach Case and a Vinery, on what was once the Tongswood Estate. It is a special place for people to gather and immerse themselves in the tranquillity of the beautiful garden space.

The gardens at Water Lane Maria Bell Photography copyright 4

A long-term project over many years to come, the site is being sympathetically restored into a working kitchen garden with vegetable beds, cut flowers, restored vinery, outside spaces and a pavilion for dining and events. The restaurant, led by Head Chef Jed Wrobel, is located in the heated Carnation House during winter and on the open terrace, overlooking the gardens, during the warmer months. You can expect simple and elegant dishes, from an ever-changing menu, reflective of the produce available season-by-season.

Rows of seasonal cutting flowers bring joyous colour, movement and scent to the garden, all grown adhering to organic, no-dig principals. A selection of these blooms are available to purchase throughout the year as well as plants and an assortment of produce from the garden. There is also a small shop selling beautiful items, preserves and gifts for the home and garden with an online shop launching 1 May.

Head chef Jed Wrobel at Water Lane credit Maria Bell

A programme of events and workshops run throughout the year, this month, include: Modern Calligraphy with Lucy Berridge (11 May). Learn the technique of modern calligraphy to create your own invitations, table place names and menus. 

Bloom and Burn at Water Lane (12 May). A course for budding florists looking to run their own business or for those wishing to make arrangements for the home. The workshop held in the beautiful Victorian Pelargonium house will utilise flowers grown in the walled garden.

Kate Monckton Ceramics at Water Lane (26 May). Learn how to create your own candlesticks and bud vases using the slab building technique. You can decorate your pieces however you wish, making them totally unique.

Custodians Nick Selby and Ian James bring with them a wealth of food and horticultural passion from their previous business, Melrose and Morgan, a grocery store and kitchen with shops in London’s Primrose Hill and Hampstead. In collaboration with many partners, notably East Sussex based architectural company, RX Architects, the project has a ten-year timeline to restore the site to its full capacity as a productive walled garden. This will include 13 Victorian glasshouses and 72 no-dig beds, measuring over 650 metres, growing vegetables, fruit, herbs to provide for the garden restaurant and cut flowers for sale, including Larkspur, Dahlias, Sweet Peas, Nigella, Honesty, Cosmos, Zinnia and Cerinthe. 

Walled Garden, Water Lane, Hawkhurst, Kent TN18 5DH

Opening Hours: Wednesday – Friday 8.00am – 5.00pm Saturday and Sunday 10.00am – 4.30pm.