SISSINGHURST GARDENS & WHERE TO STAY

As promised, I will continue with four more posts about my recent trip to England!

Here is the schedule, so be sure to check back to read more:

Week of September 15:

• Sissinghurst Gardens and Where to Stay
and
• Kaffe Fassett Exhibit in Bath

       Week of September 22:

• Visit to Suffolk and Cambridge
and
• London

                           

       The entrance to Sissinghurst Castle Gardens:

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Vita Sackville-West and her husband, Harold Nicolson bought the castle and property in the 1920’s and began the monumental task of redesigning and transforming the house, the castle, the fields and most of all, the gardens. The place was a total mess. For me, this is part of the magic and mystery and charm of this place. To have that kind of vision… not to mention money and energy… is a true gift. This was, and still is, a working farm with fields in every direction, sheep grazing, and a long country road to access.

The gardens are open from March through the end of October and while the spring and early summer might be considered the best time to visit, I had no problem at all being there in early September. As you saw last week, the dahlias were magnificent! And there were roses, and hydrangeas, and Japanese Anemones galore, and Potentillas and Viburnums and on and on. We were there on a Monday which was perfect: there were no crowds and lots of space to walk and wander.

I highly recommend reading “Portrait of a Marriage” by Nigel Nicolson, Vita and Harold’s son. I had first read this book when it came out, back in the 70’s. It was one of those books and stories that made a lasting impression on me even though I was not a gardener nor had I been to England. But there was something about it that fascinated me: I waited many years to get here!

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One of my favorite image: sheep grazing past the barn.

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Charming vignette, as you enter the gardens.

 

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Views of the castle moat. This had almost disappeared and was unearthed in the 30’s.


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 The Anemones were a feast to behold (and photograph!)

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Beautiful allée!

 

Time to move on to my suggestion on where to stay while visiting the Gardens.
When making our plans a major consideration had been the fact that we did not have a car. We took the train to Staplehurst (very easy trip) and got a taxi at the station. It took us to

The Milk House

This is THE PLACE to stay, without a doubt. We fell in love with it! What a charming Inn with lovely rooms and decor, a very inviting pub/bar downstairs with a huge terrace just outside, a country  yet elegant dining room and excellent food. Did I mention the people who work here? Helpful and pleasant doesn’t do them justice.
The website is very well done, contemporary and easy to navigate but all with a fun twist.

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Tea tray in the room! Understated, lovely details.

 

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Dinner, breakfast, the terrace and daughter.

If you go to The Milk House be sure to tell Joe, the manager, that Libby from An Eye For Detail sent you!

Finally, I want to assure you that the trip there is very easy to do. Trains leave from Charing Cross to Staplehurst every hour. Taxis are waiting at the station, or you can call ahead. I have the number or contact The Milk House. We had the taxi wait while we checked in to our room, then drove the last mile to the Gardens. It was 15£. To get back to the Inn we walked the “footpath” (I just l-o-v-e that word and wish I had taken a picture of the sign!) which was through fields and woods and was probably a mile. Be sure to wear sneakers or walking shoes.

If you have any suggestions and/or have done this trip, we would love to hear from you! I am really hoping, some day soon, to return in another season to see the changes.

I’ve started to load some of my images onto my Flikr page. Click HERE to see the album: more to come!

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