two for the price of one is exactly what you get when you go to see scotney castle. the old medieval moated castle, built by roger ashburnham sits on an island and dates way back to 1378 and the new castle, more english country house, designed by anthony salvin and built between 1835 and 1843. the two castles are nestled in picturesque gardens in the valley of the river bewl in lamberhurst kent. it is full of rhododendrons, azaleas and kalmia in the spring time and wisteria and roses in the summer.
the darrell family owned the estate for 350 years. from 1591 to 1598 thomas darrel hid jesuit father richard blount in a number of priest holes in the castle. catholicisim at the time was illegal, and the father had to flee over a wall and down into the moat to escape during a raid by authorities.
in 1778 edward hussey bought the estate and it was his grandson, also an edward, who built the ‘new’ castle, from sandstone that had been quarried from the slope below. the quarry garden is home to a 100-million-year-old impression of a dinosaur’s footprint.
the estate was left to the naitonal trust in 1970 after the death of christopher hussey. visitors could visit the garden and the old castle but the new castle will still residential and the trust let out several of the appartments, with one of its tenants being margaret thatcher, who rented the belfry flat for a period during the 70s and 80s, where it served as a weekend bolt hole to escape from westminster life.
following the death of the resident, elizabeth hussey, in 2006, the house, the new castle, was opened to the public for the first time in 2007.
the old castle
the new castle
opening times & prices of the exhibition and globe theatre tour
times may vary please check the website
adult – £14.30
child – £7.20
family – £35.80