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Outside perspective of Scotney Castle ruins.
Family out for walk in Scotney Castle grounds.
Scotney Castle and moat.
Man and dog walking in bluebell woods.

Scotney Castle

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Please be aware of government guidelines before setting off.

Government Guidelines
  • Step back in time by exploring the medieval Scotney Castle, one of the best castles in Kent for families, uncover all the secrets of the past that lie here.
  • Learn more about local history and the preservation of the area in the Scotney House with a tour of the stately home and all its rooms.
  • Take a leisurely walk around the stunning gardens and maybe even indulge in a picnic. 
  • There are over 700 acres of countryside for the family to explore in the vast Scotney Estate.

If you’re ready for some fun things to do in Tunbridge Wells with some scenic views, look no further than Scotney Castle. This place holds a lot of secrets from the centuries of wear and the generations of families that called this place their home. The grounds of this castle is one of the most interesting National Trust places in Kent for the whole family to enjoy a visit. Combined with the stately Scotney House and the huge estate and gardens surrounding it, children and parents alike will love exploring the grounds and learning all about local history in this fun and active day out. 

Dating all the way back to 1137, Scotney Castle is rich with British history and culture. From the year 1178, this moated castle was home to the Hussey Family until 1970 when the last member of the family, Charles Hussey, donated it to the National Trust Kent upon his death. This castle, though slightly dilapidated now, is full of fascinating stories of history and family. As you walk around the grounds, there are so many things to spot, for example, the Iguanadon’s footprint in the quarry or the secret door in the library. The Hussey family also had a tradition of making scrapbooks; these relics are now on view to the public so visitors can get a great insight into the life and times of these people. A visit here will make for a great exploratory excursion that all the family will enjoy.

The Scotney House was built in 1837 by Edward Hussey and still stands today. Visitors can take a self-guided tour of the Victorian era stately home, going through all the medieval rooms and learning about the stories of the family that owned the estate. The friendly and knowledgeable staff is stationed around all the floors of the house to answer any questions or queries you may have regarding the history and culture of this building. It’s a wonderful way for the whole family to get in touch with local history as well as get an insider's view into this gorgeous landmark.

After you explore the grounds, why not take a trip into the luscious landscape gardens? There is no better place for a picnic, with the picturesque castle and the stunning stately home with the amazing natural background of the moat and the tended gardens, you could stand and stare for hours. The family will feel like they’ve walked straight into a painting. If you do choose to have your lunch here, beware of the wildlife that could pop in and take a sandwich, the Scotney Gardens is home to a few furry friends.

If you still want to explore, there is 780 acres of land and forest for the whole family to traipse around in. Scotney Estate is home to a large woodland, a hops farm and some lovely farm animals. You can even bring your dog along for the hike to get in touch with nature and see some stunning views of the castle that you can’t get anywhere else.

What to know before you go 

  • The tea room located on the grounds is open from 10am - 4pm daily serving light refreshments. There is also a courtyard kiosk that sells snacks and ice cream. For those who prefer to bring a packed lunch, there are some picnic areas in both the gardens and the estate for the public to enjoy.
  • There is an on-site gift shop that sells unique souvenirs and home-ware items to visitors. 
  • Toilets, including wheelchair-accessible toilets, and baby changing facilities are available on site. 
  • Scotney Castle is wheelchair accessible with access lifts and ramps stationed across the grounds. However, some areas in the Scotney Estate may not be suitable for wheelchair users. 

How to get there

  • The closest train station is Wadhurst, five and a half miles away from the castle. There is a regularly scheduled service from London Charing Cross Station to Wadhurst.
  • The bus route 256 from Tunbridge to Watford runs by the castle during the week.
  • There is a car park on the grounds of the castle for visitors to avail of with no extra cost.

Please follow the latest government guidelines if travelling by public transport.

Government Guidelines

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Logo for the National Trust featuring an acorn leaf on a green background.

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The National Trust for Places of Historic Interest is a renowned charity and membership organisation in England, Northern Ireland and Wales that offers natural preservation for the most beloved heritage locations in the UK, including houses, buildings, coastlines, gardens and parks. With over 500 sites and attractions under their conservation and an ever-increasing 5.6 million members, the Trust is one of the largest wilderness and heritage protectors in the world and is now celebrating its 125th anniversary year since being founded in 1895.

With a National Trust membership, easily joinable via their website with family and lifetime options, you can enjoy free entry to all of their gardens, parklands and National Trust properties including the Giant’s Causeway in Antrim, Cliveden House in Buckinghamshire, Knole in Kent and hundreds more. Partly owned by H.R.H the Prince of Wales, the National Trust aims to protect, preserve and develop the most treasured locations and outstanding areas of nature in the UK so that they can be enjoyed by visitors from across the world.

Image © National Trust Facebook.