The National Trust’s Emmetts Garden is only 20 minutes drive from Southborough and its exotic shrubs are currently displaying magnificent springtime colours to energise local gardeners.
In contrast to this weekend’s sadly overcast weather, a fortnight ago (see below) the sun was shining brightly on Emmetts Garden, which is one of the highest spots in Kent.
There is a huge collection of plants – large and small – in six acres of land.
Emmetts Garden is an amazingly quiet, peaceful spot – well away from motorway noise and also usually free from the rumble of aeroplanes heading for Gatwick. It is around 200 metres above sea level (600 feet), so offers glorious panoramic views over unblemished countryside.
A banker, Frederic Lubbock, was responsible for the original planting out of the gardens in 1893-95, while the shrub garden was added ten years later. Frederic’s elder brother was the ant expert and author Sir John Lubbock.
After Frederic Lubbock’s death in 1927, the estate was acquired by an American geologist Charles Watson Boise, who handed the estate (minus the house) to the National Trust in 1964.
Emmetts Garden is free for National Trust members but costs £12 for adult tickets and £30 for a family ticket. It opens every day from 10am to 5pm from March to December. There is also a small cafe and a large picnic area and childrens’ play area. You can walk through woodland to Chartwell.
On fine weekend days it does get busy and had to close briefly at around 2pm on the sunny Sunday a fortnight ago. It is quieter in the late afternoon. Here’s how to get there on the non-A21 picturesque route:
It takes 25 minutes by car on my country road route above, compared with 15 minutes if you follow the dreary “google map/satnav” A21 Sevenoaks By-pass route. But the scenic route is cheaper on fuel! Just put “no motorways” in google maps to avoid the A21.
The rock gardens and pond (above) are fenced in to prevent rabbits digging up the plants. The bluebells and rose garden will be attractions for the coming months, while the Trust also runs Easter egg hunts and – in August – holds open air theatre productions.