Sissinghurst castle and gardens
Nestled in the heart of the Wealden countryside, Sissinghurst Castle Garden is a refuge dedicated to beauty. Created in the early 1930s, the garden is a result of author Vita Sackville-West’s creative ingenuity and diplomat Harold Nicolson’s formal design. Visitors are encouraged to travel through the different “rooms” of the garden, linked together with tempting pathways and walls of red brick.
The top courtyard at Sissinghurst Castle Garden. National Trust Images.Arnhel de Serra
Providing a stunning focal point for the garden is the Elizabethan Tower, one of few structures remaining on site from this period. Inside is the recently restored Writing Room of Vita Sackville-West. From the stairwell, visitors can glimpse into the creative space of this famed writer for the first time following a lengthy and complex building conservation project. Furnished with cuttings from the garden, several glass bottles help to decorate the room and reflect the delicate balance of Vita Sackville-West as both author and gardener.
At the very top of the Tower is a dazzling view of the garden and wider Kent countryside spanning miles. Spring at Sissinghurst Castle Garden is a beautiful sight to behold for any avid gardener. Now that the frost is behind us, the marble and stone statues in the garden have once again been unveiled, just in time for the seasonal colours to unfold around them.
Statue of Bacchus in the Nuttery in Spring. National Trust Images. Jonathan Buckley
The Lime Walk is particularly stunning at this time of year, framed by a floral sea of yellows, whites and reds, with Bacchante statues at either end of the walkway. Daffodils, tulips and blossom can also be found throughout the garden, highlighting the brilliance of the red brick walls. A truly magnificent Spring Garden.
Outside the walls of the formal garden is the beautiful Vegetable Garden, which achieved Organic accreditation in 2023 from the Soil Association. Although slightly sequestered, this garden is positioned perfectly in front of the Weald and plays an integral role in the day-to-day delivery of produce on site. Visitors can buy the produce grown on site in the plant shop or can even sample it in the meals prepared down in the Granary Restaurant.
With a gift shop, second-hand bookshop and Old Dairy café also on offer, there is plenty to fill the day with at Sissinghurst Castle Garden. Visitors are encouraged to discover as they explore the grounds, learning about its origins and history, with fascinating ties to the Seven Years War of 1756 – 63. Many sections of original buildings have since been lost to time, but those that remain are remembered as the foundations that were once used as a prison for up to the 3000 French sailors captured by the British.
A view of the Rose Garden and roundel from the top of the Elizabethan Tower. National Trust Images. Andrew Butler
A close up of the garden entrance with Elizabethan Tower through the archway. National Trust Images. Cassie Dickson
The Lime Walk at Sissinghurst Castle Garden. National Trust Images. Andrew Butler
On display in the Long Library at Sissinghurst is a copy of a painting contemporary to the Seven Years War. This painting is a remarkable visual record of Sissinghurst Castle in the 1760s and can be used as a guide as visitors walk around the garden and orchard, immersing themselves in the rich history of the grounds and experiencing how it continues to be preserved to this day.
Spring at Sissinghurst. Andrew Butler