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Reuthe’s Nursery & Gardens

Muddy says: Stunning historic gardens only recently restored to their former glory, so earning the name ‘the Lost Gardens of Sevenoaks’. Explore the jungle-like pathways, enjoy homemade cake in the café or let little ones discover the cute play area – and there’s special events like kids’ craft, gardening workshops and foraging courses too!

Reuthe’s, charmingly referred to as the Lost Gardens of Sevenoaks, is a stunning plant collection and historic gardens founded in 1902 by a German plant hunter which was largely forgotten about for a number of years.

Enter local plantsman, Oliver Schneider, and his wife Claire who have worked hard to bring the site back to its former glory, re-opening the gardens in May 2018 after months of renovation.

Now these stunning gardens, set in 11 acres of ancient woodland, part of the horticultural wonder that is Green Sand Ridge in the Weald of Kent, have become the latest hang out for local families looking for outside adventure, cool, quirky events and tasty refreshments.

Basecamp café (open Tues-Sun for delicious coffees, cakes and lunches) is the perfect place for refuelling with tasty homemade treats or food foraged from the garden when in season – Oliver and Claire have created a range of jam and honey from the orchard and bee hives. The café has a covered patio and roof terrace and this is where the popular BBQs take place in the warmer months (there was a distinct continental-cool vibe to the last one).

 There’s a cute children’s play area for the little ones but all kids (and adults) will like exploring the wilderness and hiking up through the jungle-like pathways. Well behaved dogs are welcome too – music to our Labrador-loving ears!

When it comes to events these guys do it well – think original and quirky. There’s activities and crafting for kids in the school hols, regular foraging courses and wild dining events, bushcraft and gardening workshops, alongside hospitality event hire for weddings – all running throughout the year.

The name, Reuthe’s, pronounced ‘roy-ters’ comes from a young Jewish man who left Germany in fear of his life. Driven by an insatiable curiosity for the exotic, Mr Gustav Reuthe embarked on dangerous plant hunting expeditions to China and the Himalayas. There, high in the snow-covered mountains, he discovered never seen before rhododendrons, azaleas and other rare plant species. The plants that he brought home are thriving to this day.

Open all year round – visit in Autumn and you’ll experience the wonderful colour explosion as the maple trees and liquid ambers turn a radiant red and gold. Visit in spring and summer and you’ll walk amongst a stunningly gorgeous array of rhododendrons and azaleas. And in the winter there’s always lots of festive fun to be had.

If you haven’t discovered this place yet, it’s time to get exploring.

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The Urban Guide to the Countryside - Kent