National Trust days out in the South East | Kent, Sussex + Surrey


We have been National Trust members for a few years now, and I still believe it's the best money we spend each month. And living in Kent (and the south east in general) we are lucky to have a whole selection of different NT properties and gardens, right on our doorstep!

I have shared posts about many of these locations on my blog before, but I thought it was time I collected all of these posts in one post. Creating somewhere you can come to read about all of the different locations, and what they have to offer. I also enlisted the help of some fellow bloggers, so you can see what they think too!


Scotney Castle, Tunbridge Wells

Scotney Castle features a 14th century moated castle, country house and a romantic garden all inside a beautiful wooded estate. With over 770 acres of woodland and parkland to explore there's plenty to keep the whole family busy! You can read more about our visit here.

Sissinghurst Castle Garden, near Cranbrook

We mostly visit the grounds outside the castle gardens (buggies aren't allowed in this area), but there is so much to see at Sissinghurst. Vita Sackville-West and Harold Nicolson fell in love with Sissinghurst Castle and so created a world renowned garden. You can also visit the top of the Tower, where you can see vast panoramic views of the land and area, as well as enjoying woodland walks outside of the castle gardens.

Chartwell, Westerham

Chartwell was the much-loved Churchill family home and the place where Sir Winston drew inspiration until the end of his life. We've never actually made it into the house itself, but the gardens have so much to explore. If you venture out to the woodlands there's also natural play areas that little ones can explore. You can read more about Maria's visit to Chartwell here.

Emmetts Garden, Sevenoaks

Emmetts Garden is an Edwardian estate that was owned by Frederic Lubbock. It stands on one of the highest spots in Kent so offers panoramic views over the area, as well as some great walking opportunities. The biggest draw for us is the lovely natural play area at the top of the gardens - it's opposite the cafe too, so win-win for everyone!

Knole, Sevenoaks

Knole Park is probably our favourite and most visited National Trust properties - it's where we were when we signed up for our memberships. Set within Kent’s last medieval deer park, Knole offers something for everyone. You can explore Knole House with it's grand courtyards and tranquil Orangery, or wander the winding paths in the parkland - just watch out for golfers! The best thing about Knole is that you don't even need to be NT members to visit. You can park by one of the many outer gates, and enjoy a walk in the grounds completely free!

Ightham Mote, Sevenoaks

Ightham Mote is a romantic moated manor house, previously owned by Medieval knights, courtiers to Henry VIII and high society Victorians. The house is surrounded by lovely gardens with an orchard, water features, lakes and three estate walks. For little ones there also the natural play area - complete with stream for paddling! Lauren had a fab day out there recently.

East Sussex

Sheffield Park and Garden, Uckfield

Sheffield Park is another property that we still haven't explored to the full - it's huge! The gardens themselves have been created through centuries of landscape design - four lakes form the heart of the garden, with paths circulating through the glades and wooded areas surrounding them. Outside of the main property there are woodland walks and a children's trail, as well as a family friendly tearoom. You can read more about our visit here.

Bodiam Castle, near Robertsbridge

Bodiam Castle is definitely a place to relieve your childhood dreams! Built in the 14th century, it is one of Britain's most picturesque and romantic ancient monuments. Although a lot of the castle is ruins now, you can still explore some of the towers, see the giant fish in the moat and wander through the impressive gatehouse (which is actually the castle's original wooden portcullis!).

Bateman's, Burwash

Bateman's is a 17th century house, surrounded by the wooded landscape of the Sussex Weald. The family home provided a much needed sanctuary to the world-famous writer Rudyard Kipling. The house has been left to feel as if the Kipling family have just popped out, and is lovely to look around. The gardens have lots of explore, as well as the three estate walks - all of which are perfect for families and dogs.

West Sussex

Nymans, near Haywards Heath

Nymans is one of the National Trust's premier gardens, and was a country retreat for the Messel family. Located just off the London to Brighton M23 / A23, it was probably the easiest properties we've driven to from Kent! We've only been lucky enough to visit during the summer, but have absolutely loved both visits - exploring the ruins of the old house, the beautiful gardens, and enjoying an ice cream in the beautiful outdoor cafe. There's also the woods to explore, although we've not made it into these yet.

Standen House and Garden, East Grinstead

One of my favourite prosperities to visit over the festive period is definitely Standen House. Each year the courtyard is taken over by a large Christmas tree, and the house is decorated beautifully. It's just as lovely in the warmer months though, as the grounds are lovely to explore. There's the natural play area, croquet on the lawn, and a hidden play room which are all perfect for little ones. Make sure to take a carrier with you though, as a lot of the estate isn't buggy friendly.


Winkworth Arboretum, Godalming

Winkworth was created in the early 20th century by Dr Wilfrid Fox, and has built up an internationally significant collection of more than 1,000 different species of shrubs and trees, over the last 60 years. The most impressive displays are in spring, with magnolias, bluebells and azaleas in bloom!

Boxhill, Surrey Hills

Boxhill is the perfect place to discover a family walk and explore the Surreyhills. Forming part of the North Downs, Boxhill has views across the surrounding countryside. The are a number of different walks, suitable for all different abilities and ages. Kate enjoyed a visit with her family, and took one of the family-friendly routes.

Hopefully this post has given you some inspiration for wonderful National Trust days out in the South East. And if you're still not so sure, why not check out this post to see why you'll love the National Trust if you have children!


  1. National trust days out are some of the best we've had! I think I need to travel further afield to make the most of our cards

  2. Wow you have visited so many.
    I wish there were more coastal side of Kent.

    I have to say Chartwell, Ightam and Sheffield Park are my favourite with the kids.

  3. We visited Knole Park recently.


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