The Garden Landscape Guide

Sissinghurst Garden

A sixteenth century tower, and other buildings, with the most famous twentieth century garden in England. Sissinghurst garden is a prime example of the Arts and Crafts style. The garden was made on the site of a medieval manor and some structures survive. Harold Nicolson, a diplomat and author, laid down the main lines of the Sissinghurst design in the 1930s. Vita Sackville-West, a poet, a garden writer and Harold's wife, took responsibility for the planting at Sissinghurst garden. She worked as an 'artist-gardener'. Her planting design was brilliant. The historical importance of Sissinghurst Castle Garden comes from its role in transmitting Gertrude Jekyll's design philosophy to a host of visitors. The most famous and influential feature of Sissinghurst is the White Garden. It exemplified and popularised Jekyll's idea of using colour themes in planting design.

Sissinghurst, Cranbrook, Kent, England, TN17 2AB

Mid March to early November. Friday to Tuesday.

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Designers and Influences


  • over 3 years by Carey Pickard, Macon, GA USA 5 / 5

    We were so inspired by our visit that we are in the process of creating a rondel in our own garden!
  • almost 4 years by Dave 4 / 5

    As usual the jewel in the N Trusts crown was Perfect and Manicured.
    Everything was great, the best was climbing the tower and seeing everything laid out below.
    Only complaint would be that the garden lost some of the feeling by being too perfect.
  • over 4 years by Anonymous 4 / 5

    My wife & I greatly enjoyed our visit to your garden, but may I suggest something? It would be excellent if ALL the plants were display labelled, and if a catalogue which describes them were available for purchase.

  • over 4 years by Linda 4 / 5

    The gardens are stunning. The castle is also nice with a lot of history - - but only one room could be visited when we were there.

    Although it is a bit expensive, I find that it makes a pleasant day-out.
  • over 5 years by Sean Will 5 / 5

    quite simply - one of the best gardens in Kent!!
  • almost 6 years by Lorraine G 5 / 5

    Stunning. The gardens are looking spectacular with wonderful colours and structure at every turn. World class. Well done to the National Trust team for looking after Sissinghurst so well.
  • almost 6 years by Family C 4 / 5

    Visited today (18th July 2010) on a glorious sunny summer's day. Car parking is well maintained and there was a friendly greeting. As we're National Trust members there was no parking fee, or entry fee.

    Whoever said you can't exit and re-enter the gardens again (to use the facilities) is completely incorrect, you simply retain your ticket and show it again on you can use the lavatories and break for food and drinks (or eat your own picnic on the lawns before garden entry - they provide loan of rugs)

    It's true to say there's no house to tour - but it is Sissinghurst Castle GARDENS, not Sissinghurst Castle and when you see how many full time staff are employed, you can see how much the property costs to run.

    The gardens were looking beautiful, provided lots of inspiration to tackle our own, and the views of surrounding countryside are fabulous.
    Although it was very well attended, there is enough space and lots of places to sit and relax, to take your time and go at your own pace.

    The National Trust is doing great work preserving places for the nation and I'm pleased our subs are helping a little bit.

    *for anyone visiting the area, it's easy to combine a visit to Sissinghurst with any number of other NT properties which are not too far away - we also visited Bateman's (former home of Rudyard Kipling) today.
  • almost 6 years by Pete 4 / 5

    I am puzzled at Linden's review as reentry was rather easy. the £2 car park is to stop people who just walk the estate and contribute nothing to the upkeep - not sure if non members get it deducted from their entry costs.

    The garden seemed well planted with lots of flowers and seemed generally well maintained. although the white garden wasn't at its best.

    The wild areas attracted lots of butterflies, bees and birds.

    The tower is worth the view and not much else!

    as to trip hazards? it was designed as it was. you can't expect the trust to change it for modern health and safety. if my 81 year old dad managed it then it can't be too bad!

    it seems "The Raven" has won control of the catering as there was "Sarah Raven's Chicken liver pate" for sale. I took a packed lunch!

    It is pricey to enter and it attracts lots of people. the price of fame I guess.
  • almost 7 years by Linden 1 / 5

    We felt totally ripped off by this place. We had to pay £2 to park, but there was nowhere you'd be visiting nearby, so obviously drivers are visiting Sissinghurst. Once you have entered the gardens, you can't exit and go back in. So if you want a drink, something to eat or the toilet, it seems you can't re-enter the garden again and all these facilities are outside. The gardens themselves were looking rather moth-eaten. Little dead-heading had been done and hostas were more hole than leaf (why grow them if slugs are such a problem here. Large patches of bare earth were on frequent disply - haven't they heard of underplanting? Hardly any of the house is open to the public (just one room it seemed) so we paid around £20 to walk round a garden that's not well-maintained. I see a better garden every day when I look out of my bedroom window! I appreciate we may not have visited when the garden is looking its best, but they won't get my money a second time.
  • almost 7 years by Anonymous 1 / 5

    can be very crowded with such narrow paths and for the number of gardens should be better maintained. Planting a bit sparse in summer and trip hazzards the less said the better.
  • about 8 years by Adam Hodge 5 / 5

    Beautifully maintained. I liked the more spacious areas more than the rather intense gardens around the tower, although the variety of plants is wonderful.
    The tightly controlled colour schemes is in ways stunning but almost too disciplined.
  • over 8 years by Elizabeth White 5 / 5

    Wonderful garden with inspirational plant combinations. I've been at several times of year. I like it best in autumn when the annual bedding is still in flower. The leaves are starting to turn and the Euonymus europaeus Red Cascade is displaying showy red fruit. The orchard also looks lovely in Spring when the blossom is out.
  • over 8 years by Sybil K 5 / 5

    Sissinghurst is one of the world's great gardens. Its just a pity that so many other people know how good it is!

The reviews and ratings originate in all cases from third parties. Gardenvisit is in no case responsible for the correctness or accuracy of the reviews. Reviews and similar information are not an expression of Gardenvisit's opinions.

Sissinghurst Castle, Kent Photograph © Oxford Botanica/Adam Hodge
Sissinghurst Garden, Kent Photograph © Oxford Botanica/Adam Hodge
Sissinghurst Castle Garden Photograph © Oxford Botanica/Adam Hodge
Sissinghurst Castle Photograph © Oxford Botanica/Adam Hodge
Sissinghurst Garden, Autumn Photograph © C.E. Bourke/The Art of English Gardens
Sissinghurst garden1 The White Garden Photograph ©
Sissinghurst garden2 Photograph ©