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South of London in March, ancient trees and Daffodils?

South of London in March, ancient trees and Daffodils?

Old Dec 18th, 2017, 10:14 AM
  #21  
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We got back from Patagonia over a montha ago, but work and Thanksgiving and some visitors have kept me TOO busy.

So finally got around to getting my preliminary itinerary done and to ask for more help and suggestions!

I have all of my lodgings booked ~ 3 bases and 2 one night stays (not including arrival and departure days at Great Fosters)


I usually only plan on 2 places per day as most are only open from 10-5, and we are slow tourists! If there is another quick place to visit near those below, or a quaint village or scenic route, please suggest!


The days of the week are sometimes noted as I need to double check if places are open in March on those days

*Fly from IAD in the morning, arrive at LHR around 10PM, stay 1 night at Great Fosters

*Day 1 ~ after breakfast at Great Fosters pick up rental car at LHR, on the way to Hever Castle stop at
Wisley *** have been there, don’t mind going again
Painshill *** have not been there

* 5 nights at Hever Castle B&B

*On Day 2 Hever Castle is closed, so people have a private tour of the Castle on Day 2 at 10:30.
Afterwards we would find a wonderful Pub for lunch and go to someplace nearby, maybe Emmetts Garden *** have not been there

*Day 3
Chartwell *** have not been there

Darwins House *** have not been there



*Day 4
Wakehurst *** have been there, don’t mind going again
Nymans *** have been there, don’t mind going again

*Day 5
Ightham Mote *** have not been there

and ??? Maybe to the coast near Faversham?
Knole is pretty much closed in March

*Day 6 (a Saturday)
Leave Hever Castle, stop at Penshurst on the way from Hever to Leeds (Penshurst only open on weekends in March)
Visit Leeds that afternoon, and early next morning if time (we have been there before)
*1 night at Leeds Castle B&B


*Day 7 (a Sunday)
Try to leave Leeds Castle B&B by 9AM on Sunday in order to be at Walmer Castle and Gardens when they open at 10:00. Afterwards we hope to visit Dover Castle and Tunnels.
***If we don’t have enough time we would may make a daytrip from Rye to see Dover Castle.
***This schedule became complicated when I realized Walmer and Dover are closed on Mon and Tues. We booked the B&B in Dover for Sunday night, thinking we would have Monday to visit Dover.
* 1 night at Churchill House B&B Dover

*Day 8 (a Monday)
When leaving Dover ~ open to suggestions as we make our way to Rye. Maybe Romney Marsh?
Leave enough time to see Rye when we arrive
*
4 nights in Rye (self catering)


*Day 9 (a Tuesday)
Batemans *** have not been there
Michelham Priory House & Gardens *** have not been there
Alfriston Clergy House *** have not been there (closed Th & Fri)

*Day 10 (a Wednesday)
Bodiam *** don’t remember if we have been there or not
Tenterden for lunch ~ good town to visit?
Smallhythe *** have not been there (closed Sun and Mon)
Great Dixter?

Skipping Sissinghurst, we have been there

*Day 11 (a Thursday)
Herstmonceux Castle *** have not been there
Battle Abbey and Battlefield *** have not been there
scenic route? another short stop?


*Day 12 (a Friday)
From Rye to Winchester
drive via Devils Dyke, looking for places (Petworth only open weekends) villages, scenic route, lunch spot *** have not been in this area before
arrive Winchester *** have not been in this area before
*4 nights in Winchester (self catering)

*Day 13 (a Saturday)
See Winchester and drive to Petworth*** have not been there

*Day 14 (a Sunday)
Stourhead*** have not been there
come back through Mere*** have not been there
Salisbury*** have not been there
Stonehenge? Less people in March? only looked in from outside

*Day 15 (a Monday)
The Hawk Conservancy Trust?*** have not been there
Mottisfont *** have been there, don’t mind going again
??????

*Day 16 ~ Leaving Winchester
Basildon *** have not been there
Greys Court *** have not been there
Stay our last night at Great Fosters

Day 18 fly home
wrenwood is offline  
Old Dec 18th, 2017, 10:31 AM
  #22  
 
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Westerham's a pretty town/large village near Chartwell.

On your drive from Rye to Winchester maybe Leonardslee would be a nice garden to visit? They've been closed to the public for a few years after changing hands, but I believe should be reopening next year - definitely contact them before making any decisions - https://www.wscountytimes.co.uk/news...blic-1-8053387

If that doesn't pan out, someone suggested the Devil's Punchbowl at Hindhead as an option - not a garden but woodland. Or there's Exbury in the New Forest which is lovely, and might also be an option on day 13.

Winchester back to Petworth and then back to Stourhead is a bit of a backtrack, although I appreciate the timing issues.
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Old Dec 18th, 2017, 11:07 AM
  #23  
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Thanks nonconformist, I will check out Westerham

Don't know how accurate the current website for Leonardslee is but it says
"In April, the garden opening season begins"

We could stop at Petworth on the way from Rye, just not sure what else there is tio see on the way to Winchester. I believe it's only an about an hour from Winchester, and never having been in that area before I'm sure we can amuse ourselves.

I did find Cowdray Park near Petworth in Midhurst
"Many old oaks and a few huge Sweet Chestnut trees are growing in Cowdray Park, like the Queen Elisabeth Oak and the "Cowdray Colossos" Sweet Chestnut"

And speaking of big trees, it says this one is on private land. Anyone know how we could see it?
“Majesty”, a pedunculate oak, in Fredville Park, a privately-owned estate, near Dover, Kent, has a trunk 13ft across, when measured at chest height, with a circumference of 40ft. It keeps this girth up to a height of about 20ft, but is completely hollow
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Old Dec 18th, 2017, 11:10 AM
  #24  
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"Winchester back to Petworth and then back to Stourhead is a bit of a backtrack, although I appreciate the timing issues"

We love driving back roads, seeing the countryside, discovering new spots, so Petworth one day and Stourhead the next won't be a problem!
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Old Dec 18th, 2017, 11:10 AM
  #25  
 
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To get to Canterbury from west you can take a minor road "Pilgrim's Way" over the course of the old pilgrims.
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Old Dec 18th, 2017, 11:40 AM
  #26  
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PalenQ ~ what is that route, how to find it?

Maybe we could leave early and head to Canterbury for a brief visit, then back to Ightham Mote? Or vice versa.

Ightham Mote is open until 5, estate dawn to dusk, grounds at 10, house at 11

If we drove that road for a while without going to Canterbury would it be worth it?
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Old Dec 18th, 2017, 11:46 AM
  #27  
 
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http://www.pilgrimswaycanterbury.org/the-way/

I would not drive that part of it unless going to Canterbury. Similar to any back roads in Kent - well paved but one lane with 'passing spots' along the way - lined by hedgerows a lot but a real country feeling.
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Old Dec 18th, 2017, 12:10 PM
  #28  
 
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> There's a restaurant at Chapel Down vineyard.

If you are in the vicinity of Dover and are looking for lunch, this is a very nice pub in Deal.

https://www.zetlandarms.co.uk/

If you need lunch after Painshill Park, there is a recently opened Ivy Brasserie very close by.

https://theivycobhambrasserie.com/
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Old Dec 18th, 2017, 12:21 PM
  #29  
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Wow, what a menu at Ivy Brasserie! Looks great!
Great website, too bad the Mill at Cobham isn't open until April. We love old Mills

And WOW, Zetland Arms, what a setting, and right between Walmer and Dover! It is BOOKMARKED!

Thanks PalenQ, would love to see Canterbury but not sure enough time if we also want to see Ightham Mote? I'm thinking Canterbury deserves more time.

This is our 3rd trip to England in March, a good time for us to travel, and always something to see in March (and Pubs to duck into if it's "bucketing" rain outside!)
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Old Dec 18th, 2017, 12:56 PM
  #30  
 
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Wrenwood, I am writing this whilst staying approx 3 miles away from Westerham with a friend who lives in a village where we lived for about 14 years, so I am drawing on my store of local knowledge, though in the cause of full disclosure, I should say that we moved away 20 years ago, almost to the day.

>

the King Henry VIII in Hever might fit the bill:

https://www.kinghenryviiihever.co.uk

It has had a lively past - a former landlord fell in with a bad crowd and had a near miss with a sawn-off shotgun - but so far as I know it's fairly safe now.

Slightly further afield the Spotted Dog at Penshurst used to be a lovely place to spend an hour or two.

>

Chartwell is lovely [we can walk there from the house I'm staying in which is in the same parish] and will take half a day. For lunch I suggest the pub in the nearby village of Toy's Hill:

https://www.foxhoundstoyshill.co.uk

if you walk up onto the hill you will find a wonderful view over the south of the Weald and a bench which is dedicated to the memory of Octavia Hill who was one of the three founders of the National Trust.

https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/toy...g-at-toys-hill

I've never been to Darwin's House but I would have thought that Emmets is a better place to team with Chartwell as it's a lot closer. You might also take an afternoon drive to Chiddingstone which has a rather strange castle and some very pretty oasthouses, as well as an excellent pub:

https://www.chiddingstonecastle.org.uk

https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=Ch...w=1349&bih=590

http://www.castleinnchiddingstone.co.uk

I can also recommend the nearby Little Brown jug, if only for its name!

There is also Westerham itself which has a pretty green sporting statues of Gen Wolfe and Churchill. When we lived here Squerrys Court was open to the public, it now seems to be a vineyard. However, Quebec House, the childhood home of Gen Wolfe IS now open; I've never been but it might be worth an hour or so:

https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/quebec-house

>

[I suspect that if you followed all my suggestions above, you probably won't have time for either of these two places that you've already seen!]

>

this seems like a good day; there used to be a very nice tea shop in Penshurst as well as the Leicester Arms if you tend more that way. I seem to remember that nearby Speldhurst is a pretty village. See also the Spotted Dog mentioned above.

>

My recollection of Batemans is that it was very interesting; I've never been to the others so can't comment.

>

Yes to Tenterden being nice to visit and yes, yes, yes, to going to Great Dixter. I remember Bodiam being nice but not wonderful. GD would be my priority.

>

Battle Abbey definitely worth the trip, can't remember Herstmonceaux. The old part of Hastings is also interesting, especially if you have ever seen Foyle's War which is filmed there.

whilst in Rye, Winchelsea is also worth a look as [in the opposite direction] is Derek Jarman's house at Dungeness:

https://www.gardenvisit.com/gardens/...tage_dungeness

>

The route I would take would be Hastings - Hailsham - Arundel [castle and cricket ground] and Chichester, though the basin is worth a day by itself. Whilst in Winchester, I would feel inclined to explore some of the following:

Portsmouth - the historic dockyards:

http://www.historicdockyard.co.uk

Beauleigh and the New Forest

The house of TE Lawrence at Cloud's Hill :

https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/clouds-hill

Sailsbury [have you read Golding's "the Spire" which is about the building of the cathedral?]

Stonehenge.

Stourhead is a long way - only for a really nice day I think. if you do go, the pub in the grounds is excellent.

On your way back to Great Fosters, I would suggest going via Alton and Farnham which are much nicer places than Basingstoke. You could also go further south and explore the Devil's punch bowl nr Godalming; en route you might like a look at Gilbert White's house at Selbourne:

http://gilbertwhiteshouse.org.uk/Home-&-Gardens/

Phew. That's probably enough for now!
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Old Dec 18th, 2017, 01:00 PM
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And there are wineries now in Kent too:

http://www.kentvineyards.com/
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Old Dec 18th, 2017, 03:31 PM
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I don't remember Cowdray being generally open to the public.

However I think Fredville Park may be accessible: http://www.kentramblers.org.uk/KentW...c/walk_077.htm
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Old Dec 19th, 2017, 03:27 AM
  #33  
 
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"Anyone know how we could see it?
“Majesty”, a pedunculate oak, in Fredville Park, "

With very, very, few exceptions "private estate" is almost meaningless in England. Even estates with a very high security rating (like the Prime Minister's official country house), usually have a legally enforced - 24/7 - public right of way across them. Even when they don't, it's a criminal offence for the owner to use force if she asks you to leave, and I've yet to encounter any estate you can't walk into or at least peer through the fence.

This includes practically all the royal family's private land, for example. The discreet "this is a protected location under the Terror Act" signs you see are simply there to warn you you might (though probably won't) be stopped by a guard who'll want to chat with you for a few seconds

For anything like your oak, just google. If it's not on a right of way, or doesn't have official public access details, there'll always be an estate office who'll respond to your emails. Otherwise: just contact the Fredville Park owner.
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Old Dec 19th, 2017, 12:29 PM
  #34  
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Flanneruk and Nonconformist

I ususally Google everything, but when I changed some words from my former search I came up with a site for the Kent Garden Trust, emailed them at this address, waiting to hear back.
[email protected]

Thanks for the little "push" to keep searching.

And this is a great page on the trees of Fredville

http://www.nonington.org.uk/the-old-...redville-park/
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Old Dec 19th, 2017, 01:30 PM
  #35  
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annhig

Hello again! I truly think you should be writing guidebooks!

We will actually be eating dinner the first night at King Henry VIII, it is one of the pubs/restaurants Hever Castle B&B reccomends.

And others they reccommend are
The Greyhound in Edenbridge
The Wheatsheaf in Bough Beech
The Little Brown Jug (!)
Battle House in Penshurst
and the Spotted Dog in Penshurst (!)

I will be checking out your other suggestions, and will change Bodiam to Great Dixter as a priority. An since we are so close to Stonehenge, maybe we should bite the bullet.

What do you reccommend about Alton and Farnham?

The Portsmouth Dockyards, have been there

Unfortunately Arundel Castle doesn't open until after we are gone.

Did know anything about Winchelsea

http://www.timetravel-britain.com/ar...nchelsea.shtml

I've been watching Penelope Keith's "Hidden Villages" on PBS, she said there's over 10,000 villages in England ~ we have a LOT to visit yet!

PalenQ,
I'm a little ambivalent about the wineries, we have done several amazing scenic ones in Italy and California.
Do you suggest any in particular? I believe there is one that is famous for sparkling wines?
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Old Dec 19th, 2017, 01:46 PM
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glad you like some of my suggestions, wrenwood, happy to have helped.

Sorry to say that although we have friends who live in Farnham it's not an area I know much about, ditto Alton, though I did go to court there once. [ok, not very helpful].

At that time of year Stonehenge should not be that busy, but if your dates co-incde with any of the dates when you can get closer than on a normal visit, have you thought of trying to get a bit closer?

https://www.english-heritage.org.uk/...-circle-access

If you get a taste for Henges, about 40 mins further north is Avebury which has three of them:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Avebury

Your route could take you through Devizes which is a surprisingly attractive town surrounded by some lovely villages [I went through them for the first time about a week ago and even the rain did not detract from them].
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Old Dec 19th, 2017, 02:54 PM
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>

It's the place I suggested at Tenterden for lunch, Chapel Down, even if you are not interested in the vineyards which in March will be bare.
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Old Dec 20th, 2017, 10:15 AM
  #38  
 
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I know the Farnham area quite well. It's quite a nice place but I can't think of anything much there for your interests. Do the ruins of Waverley Abbey appeal? It's not that far from the Devil's Punchbowl, mentioned upthread; or there's the Alice Holt Forest, or Frensham Common.

Alton's not that interesting, but is close to Chawton, home of Jane Austen if that is of interest to you at all. Alresford is a pretty little town in that area.

Houghton Lodge in the New Forest is a pretty smaller garden, might be doable from Winchester. Or there's the Sir Harold Hillier Garden in Romsey, which is lovely.
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Old Dec 20th, 2017, 11:13 AM
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There's a heritage steam railway between Alton and Alresford, if that appeals.

https://www.watercressline.co.uk
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Old Dec 20th, 2017, 01:55 PM
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PalenQ,
I'm a little ambivalent about the wineries, we have done several amazing scenic ones in Italy and California.
Do you suggest any in particular? I believe there is one that is famous for sparkling wines?>

No I know nothing about Kent vineyards or wines just that the industry has taken off in recent years. I leave it to odin and others more expert to answer.

Years ago when I led bike trips for years thru Kent I do not recall any vineyard - if there would have been many of our college bikers would have flocked there for sure.
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