The Garden Guide

Groombridge Place Gardens

Photograph © Oxford Botanica/Adam Hodge
Photograph © Oxford Botanica/Adam Hodge
Photograph © Oxford Botanica/Adam Hodge
Photograph © Oxford Botanica/Adam Hodge
Photograph ©
Photograph ©

A seventeenth century moated house with a series of enclosed gardens. There is a Sunken Garden, with topiary, a Draughtsman's Garden, a Secret Garden, a White Rose Garden, an Enchanted Forest. The Enchanted Forest was designed by Ivan Hicks. The Groombridge estate was given to the public in 1983. The Golden Key Maze was used to film The Draughtsman's Contract. The 2005 film adaptation of Pride and Prejudice was also filmed here.

Groombridge, Tunbridge Wells, Kent, England, TN3 9QG

End March to early November. Daily. Open 10am to 5:30pm or dusk if earlier.

Adult £8.95

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  • over 6 years by Anonymous 5 / 5

    I went here in the autumn with my 10yr old daughter and a friend. The two separate areas, although totally different, were of equal charm and enjoyment. The gardens ooze independence, with no branding, or that overriding feel you are in a NT or RHS garden. It was full of quirky features, excellent information (the signs dotted about the place are worth stopping to read), and both areas had that 'goodness only knows what is around the corner' feel; we just didn't know what to expect! There was little to feel serious about, much to smile about, much to take part in (even walking around the labyrinth that took ages but encouraged us to calm and relax and contemplate), and the giant swings are just fantastic! A great day out for children and adults alike. It does have steep hills and steps, so it may not be a garden for those with mobility restrictions and the Pride and Prejudice museum was a little odd. And this isn't a garden to come to and expect perfectly manicured lawns and swept paths, but for me that is part of the charm. Overall, I found it just a refreshing change from the more staid gardens around. It was fun, quirky, informative and interactive, without being a theme park! Priceless! OK, not really, more like £8.95 for adults and £7.45 for children, but a great day out.
  • almost 7 years by Nick Taylor 5 / 5

    A magnificent day out for the whole family. during a recent holiday to Kent, this is the only day that both adults and children enjoyed equally.

    The formals gardens were beautiful but it's fair to say that there are plenty of other similar gardens in the vicinity. Where Groombridge stands out is enchanted forest; around ever corner was a new suprise. It was more of a an adventure round a sculpture park than a visit to a traditional garden. My children (5 and 2) loved it so did my wife and I (34 and 21- she wishes).

    If you are only interested in old-fashioned gardens with cottagey borders then this might not be the thing for you; some of the paths are steep and it's tricky to get around plus the largest parts of the land isn't taken up with flowers more of a woodland walk. If you want flowers, you might be better off going to Sissinghurst or Great Dixter, both of which are nearby..

    Earlier comments have complained that is was expensive, the day before visiting here, we went to Legoland. Both visits took a full day but Legoland cost more than 4 times as much. I also think it compares favourably to most of the the RHS garden prices that I've been too. Plus it kept my kids happy for a day without boring me to death; priceless.
  • over 7 years by Linda Austin 3 / 5

    Overpriced and over-rated! Formal gardens quite pleasant and easy to get around. However my mother (in her 60's) found the walk, uphill and down again, through the forest very strenuous.
    On the positive side there were some good plants for sale. There are better gardens to spend your hard earned cash on.
  • almost 8 years by Anonymous 3 / 5

    I think the entrance fee is offputting - you don't get quite the same bang for your bucks as you do at, say, Sissinghurst. They even charge you on top for the little canal ride and the tearooms aren't cheap.
    The Enchanted Forest is an odd juxtaposition with the old house and formal gardens and very much child-orientated, making it less attractive to families without kids.
  • about 8 years by Adam Hodge 5 / 5

    As a great fan of the film 'The Draughtsmans Contract' it was tremendous to actually be in the gardens where the film is based.
    Lots of interesting borders, plants, walks and an amazing Wisteria macrobotrys clambering high into a tree with a veritable waterfall effect of flowers.

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