What better way to spend a (rare) sunny day in England than exploring a castle? On bank holiday Monday, Mike and I visited Scotney Castle which is located in one of our favourite counties in England: Kent (full of old castles, scenic walks and the Big Cat Sanctuary). Scotney Castle is a 14th century castle surrounded by a beautiful wooded estate. We were debating between a few castles to visit, and as soon as we arrived, we knew we’d made the right choice. We were spoilt by flowers, plants and gorgeous views. My favourite plant we saw was the impressive Rhondendrem tree. I look tiny in comparison!
We took a stroll through the picturesque gardens before approaching the castle. It’s not the most pristine castle I’ve ever seen but there’s something extremely charming about it. It almost has a ‘ruined’ look (which turned out to be deliberate!), making it even more wonderful. The castle was built around 1378 and was thought to be built as a defence against French forces who attacked nearby towns. It has been lived in by three different families: the Ashburnhams, the Darrels and the Husseys.
When you hear the word ‘castle’, you might expect some grand interior but the inside was very simply decorated. There were a small selection of rooms to explore, including five bedrooms and a large dining room. I liked how the castle seemed to be kept in the same condition it was many years ago and wasn’t modernised or updated to look glamorous. The stairs in the castle were over 600 years old.
Hands up if you like dinosaurs! In the quarry of the gardens, a dinosaur footprint was found. It was the footprint of an iguanadon, a 3 tonne herbivore which roamed this area in the Mesozoic era. We couldn’t actually see the footprint (perhaps it was extracted for a museum?) but it was fascinating to know that a dinosaur had been in the spot that we were.
On the estate, there are actually two grand buildings: a 14th century castle and a country house. In 1830, Edward Hussey III decided to build a new house, the country manor, and deliberately ruined the Old Castle in order to create a romantic folly for the garden. Therefore, there is only one tower standing now.
After exploring the castle, we went on a gorgeous bluebell walk. There were many different walks around the estate with constant scenery. The routes have regular signs and were easy to follow. We chose the parkland trail along the blue and red route which took around an hour and a half.
At first we were surrounded by beautiful fields and cows. Everything surrounding us was so green and beautiful. I’d love to live somewhere where I could go on regular walks like this. It was so hot that there were over 30 cows crowded in the shade under a tree at one point.
Then we entered a shaded forest where we were surrounded by beautiful bluebells. They only come out once a year so we chose the perfect time to visit. A week later and they’d have disappeared! We were careful to stick to the path and didn’t step on any bluebells.
On the walk, we heard a noise in the distance and eventually realised it was a field of adorable sheep and lambs. The lambs were running around playfully between the sheep.
The walk was a peaceful contrast to the business of the castle estate. We were the only ones around for most of the walk. Mike was in charge of the map (I’m terrible with directions!) and it was easy to follow, especially with the signs to help.
Scotney Castke is my favourite castle I have ever visited; it’s just so charming! If you can, I’d recommend spending a couple of nights in Kent as there’s so much to explore.
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