Muddy says: With far-reaching views over the Weald of Kent, this National Trust gem has something for everyone, plus is also one of our favourite picnic spots in Kent – and dog-friendly too!
Standing on one of the highest spots in Kent, Emmetts Garden offers panoramic views as well as some great walking opportunities, plus it is a fantastic destination for kids too. On a sunny day you can sit and see for miles across the Weald of Kent and Bough Beech reservoir can be seen in the distance from the bottom of the south garden, whilst Ide Hill can be spotted over the way from the wild flower meadow.
For those of you not yet acquainted, Emmetts Garden is an Edwardian estate that was owned by Frederic Lubbock, becoming both a plantsman’s passion and a much-loved family home. The garden was laid out in the late 19th century, and was influenced by William Robinson and contains many exotic and rare trees and shrubs from across the world. There is always something to admire, as you can take in the views and enjoy shows of spring flowers and shrubs, explore the rose and rock gardens in the summer, followed by vibrant autumn colours.
Dogs are welcome in all the outdoor areas which is music to many people’s ears when considering a family outing with the pooch. There are lots of open spaces to tire them out as well as woodland paths and routes to roam. Your children will also be thanking you for taking them there as there are plenty of wonderful nooks and crannies that will keep them entertained, including traditional outdoor games, such as skittles.
They can also enjoy the tepee, hidden in the trees, that is rammed full of fancy dress clothes for them to try on or let them mad in the wild play area which is perfect for younger adventurers, with balance beams, den building opportunities and stepping logs, plus swings especially made for those explorers with shorter legs. Those helpful bods at National Trust have thought of everything to help you, if visiting with young ones, with baby changing facilities readily available and bottle warming facilities too.
When it’s time to eat, you can either pop into the Old Stables tea-room for warming soups, sandwiches, snacks, cakes and warm drinks or go al fresco as it is one of our favourite picnic spots in Kent, as you can throw a blanket down in the meadow and admire the view over to Ide Hill, with its traditional buildings and churches, as you enjoy your outdoor feast. And don’t forget, swinging by the gift shop on the way home if you want to pick up some pretty local crafts, useful bits and bobs for your home or just some really taste home-made treats.