Family days out in Kent & East Sussex
There are so many places to see and things to do when on holiday in Barnfield House Kent. Here are some of our favourites — ideas that will appeal to adults and kids of all ages.
Great Dixter Gardens
We’re lucky to have England’s most famous gardens within a short drive — the kind that attracts visitors from around the world. My favourite is Great Dixter Gardens an eight-mile drive away in Northian, East Sussex, known as “a place of pilgrimage for horticulturalists. from across the world”. Great Dixter is a riot of colour in the summer months, and is fascinating any time of the year. You can also visit the Tudor house, extensively restored by Edwin Lutyens. Allow time for a tea break in their enchanting garden cafe. And do check out their events calendar of talks, tours and workshops.
Just half an hour from Barnfield House, this miles-long beach of golden sand is gorgeous in all seasons —this photo was taken on Boxing Day! We take bracing walks along the promenade, or on the beach at low tide. Kids love building sandcastles, paddling in the shallow water, and exploring the sand dunes. And there’s excellent kite surfing for the water sports enthusiast.
The 14th Century Bodiam Castle is just what you’d imagine a medieval castle should be: four castellated towers complete with arrow slits reflected in the encircling moat, further protected by a portcullis, and in a fairytale countryside setting. One of the most photographed castles in Britain today, this National Trust site it’s only five miles from Barnfield House. Do visit!
Barnfield House is an excellent base for exploring the many beautiful villages of the Weald of Kent and East Sussex. Within walking distance of the house is Hawkhurst, with its Victorian weather-board shopping colonnade and pubs (among them the historic Oak & Ivy Inn, from where the notorious 18th Century Hawkhurst Gang ran their smuggling ring).
Cranbrook four miles away is blessed with the medieval St Dunstan’s church, 15th century cottages, a fascinating museum, and the tallest working mill in England. Glorious countryside drives from Barnfield House reveal more picturesque villages with quaint tearooms, cosy pubs, insta-perfect pastoral settings and poetic names that roll off the tongue – Biddenden, Beneden, Rovenden, Smarden, and Tenterden. Plus lots more ‘hursts’ (meaning wooded area) including Goudhurst, Lamberhurst and Ticehurst.
National Trust Attractions
We are so lucky to have an amazing selection of National Trust-run historic houses, castles and gardens within a 30-mile radius — the closest being a 10-minute drive away. It's worthwhile paying for a National Trust annual membership even if only staying a week in the area.
Bodiam Castle – (see above) 5 miles
Sissinghurst Castle Garden – renowned gardens created by Bloomsbury poet Vita Sackville-West and Harold Nicholson. 6 miles
Scotney Castle – country house, moated castle and wooded estate. 7 miles
Batemans — Jacobean house, home of Rudyard Kipling. 8 miles.
Smallhythe Place – Victorian actress Ellen Terry’s 16th century house and cottage garden. 13 miles
Lamb House Rye – Georgian house with literary associations. 15 miles
Stoneacre — medieval yeoman’s house and garden. 17 miles
Chiidingstone Village – one of the oldest and most beautiful villages in Kent. 23 miles
Ightham Mote — 14th century moated manor house. 24 miles
Old Soar Manor — remans of a 13th Century knight’s dwelling. 24 miles
Knole — historic house and 1,000-acre wild deer park. 25 miles
Coldrum Long Barrow — created 1,000 years before Stonehenge. 25 miles
Alfriston Clergy House — medieval thatched Wealden hall-house. 27 miles
Sheffield Park & Gardens — historic parkland, woodland and landscaped gardens. 28 miles
Chartwell — family home of Sir Winston Churchill, 30 miles