Stately Gardens and Cream Teas in Kent

Stately Gardens and Cream Teas in Kent
A very English summer in the Heart of Kent

There is nothing quite so quintessentially English as stately gardens and cream teas – it is the perfect combination for a day or an afternoon out. The Heart of Kent tourism partnership recognises this in one of its five new themed itineraries, highlighted on its website

The Heart of Kent is centred around the historic and diverse towns of Ashford, Maidstone, Sevenoaks, Tonbridge and Tunbridge Wells, and is blessed with a richness of gardens varying from the formal gardens which surround stately homes such as Penshurst Place and Chartwell, to the smaller but no less fascinating gardens in private hands such as Hole Park Gardens or Godinton.

Many of the gardens offer cream teas – a chance to rest the legs, take in refreshment and gaze more leisurely at lush plants and clever garden schemes, before setting off home, well fortified by scones with jam and clotted cream accompanied by a good cup of tea.

But there are of course numerous tea shops; often charming cottages dispensing home made cakes and bonhomie in a picturesque setting (some with interesting collections such as teddy bears or teapots); or hotel lounges with dainty sandwiches and music softly playing in the background.

The Heart of Kent website is attractive, informative and easy to use. As well as the itineraries, there are details of individual attractions and places to eat. If contemplating an overnight stay or perhaps a restful weekend, you can also book accommodation online instantly, thanks to an up-to-the-minute database of everything from B&Bs and self catering to luxury country hotels.


Can be adapted for half day, whole day or more than one day

Gardens & Cream Teas Day Out

The Spa Hotel, Tunbridge Wells

Traditional afternoon tea and Champagne afternoon teas served each afternoon – booking advisable. Resident harpist on Sundays

Groombridge Place

Romantic gardens surround a private moated house. Features include the Drunken Garden. Secret Garden and Oriental Garden. A canal with canal boat and the Enchanted Forest, a woodland with sculptures, add extra dimension. The house and gardens have featured in several film and TV programmes, most recently ‘Pride and Prejudice’ starring Keira Knightly. Self service restaurant.

Godinton House & Gardens

Historic house set amid beautiful gardens, including large walled garden with feature delphiniums, Wild Garden and Italianate garden. Teas available when house open.

Peggoty’s Tea Shoppe, Tenterden

01580 764393

16th-century shop serving morning coffee, light lunches and afternoon teas with homemade scones and cakes and wide tea selection. Open daily.

Great Comp Garden, Platt

7-acre plantsman’s garden with formal and informal areas, created over the last 40 years. As well as many unusual plants, there are over 70 magnolias and planted urns are dotted around, along with homemade ‘ruins’! The Old Dairy Tea Rooms are open every afternoon.

Teapot Island, Yalding

Something a little out of the ordinary – a riverside museum of over 5,000 teapots… a Guinness Book of Records entry! As well as an onsite potter doing demonstrations and teapots and paint-your-own pottery for sale, Teapot Island also has its own café which serves cream teas.

Hole Park Gardens, Rolvenden

Attractive 15-acre gardens with flowering throughout the year, including rhododendrons, bluebells and roses. Features include rare climbing wisteria, clipped yew hedges, formal and informal areas and great autumn displays. Small nursery shop and tea room.

George & Dragon Tea Room, Headcorn

01622 890239

Kentish Cream Teas served all day – over 30 types of tea; homemade meringues a speciality. Also morning coffee and lunches. Over 300 rescued teddy bears hidden among hops on display.

Chartwell, Westerham

Sir Winston Churchill’s beloved Kent home. The beautiful rose and water gardens were commissioned by the Churchills and you can also see the terraced hillside gardens, the walled kitchen garden with its Golden Rose Walk and the garden studio where Churchill painted. Several walks with Wealden views. Tea room.

Penshurst Place, Penshurst

Formal gardens surrounding a historic house include an 11-acre Walled Garden, a Union Flag Garden, Italianate gardens, orchards and much more.

The Garden Tea Room offers coffee, light lunches and cream teas.

Fir Tree House Tea Rooms, Penshurst

01892 870382

Tudor tea room with homemade cakes, log fire and summer garden. (Open afternoons only).

The Watermark Restaurant, Eynsford

Award winning restaurant, run by well-known chef Guy Massey, at the foot of the famous Eynsford Bridge. Serves cream teas.

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