Autumn Sundays at Hole Park Gardens in Kent

Autumn Sundays at Hole Park Gardens in Kent

These beautiful Kent Gardens are renowned for their beauty all year round including spectacular autumn colour.  Every year the gardens hold their popular October event –  Autumn Sundays at Hole Park Gardens in Kent.

The gardens also boast a stunning exotic border which is still in full bloom in October as are the late flowering agapanthus ‘Hole Park Blue’ which are unique to Hole Park.

The mature trees and Japanese Maples provide striking autumn colour around the 16 acre gardens and 10 acre woodland. 

Visitors can enjoy a circular walk which takes walkers past a delightful carved wooden sculpture of a family of bears climbing a tree to reach a honey pot and also a renovated Ice House which was built in around 1740 to store ice long before the days of refrigeration. When the ice was cut and stacked it would last for up to three years in this cool environment!

Open on Wednesday and Thursdays until the end of October visitors can also enjoy additional Sunday opening on 7, 14, 21 and 28 October 2018.  11am to 6pm.

Lunches, afternoon tea with homemade cakes will be available in the coach house tea room where there is also a plant stall selling a varied selection of plants to take home.  Jam, preserves, beer and apple juice from the Hole Park Estate are also available.

A family owned estate, Hole Park has been owned by the Barham family for the past four generations. The gardens manage to combine formalised gardens with natural woodland. They cover some 16 acres and were developed, laid out and planted by Colonel Barham, the great-grandfather of the present owner, in the years between the two World Wars.

Hole Park is now owned and managed by Edward Barham, and much of what can be seen today is due to the contribution made by Edward’s father, David Barham, who still takes an active interest in its future today.

The garden is renowned for beautifully clipped topiary and great yew hedges which provide shelter for the lawns and splendid borders. The walled garden contains mixed borders, pools and a water garden. Marvellous climbing plants also provide a fine display here. The natural garden has bulbs, azaleas, rhododendrons and flowering shrubs.

There is a woodland bluebell walk and, in the autumn, the foliage colour is spectacular. Hole Park has many fine trees and the garden is surrounded by superb parkland with wonderful views across the Kentish Weald.

Formal gardens surround the house. Walls and yew hedges, which are a particular feature of Hole Park, shelter broad expanses of lawns. Clipped entirely by hand, it is claimed that nowhere in the county can yews be seen trimmed to greater precision. Fountains and a swimming pool, the egg pond, the walled rose garden, herbaceous borders and wrought iron gates all contribute to make a series of gardens within a garden, united by the lawns, while outwards there are lovely views of the Weald over the surrounding 250 acres of finely timbered parkland.

At the rear of the house, beyond a beech hedge measuring six feet thick and 12 feet high, lies the Policy, massed with daffodils in April with its heathers, flowering trees and shrubs, banks of rhododendrons and azaleas. Amongst the trees can be seen collections of birch, juniper, cypresses and fine oaks. Rhododendrons, camellias, magnolias and primulas are all here in abundance and further plantings are now being made to adjoining woodlands.

For more information on Hole Park Gardens, please visit or call 01580 241344 or e-mail

Hole Park is situated 4 miles west of Tenterden on the B2086 between Rolvenden and Cranbrook.


Chiddingstone Castle School of Witchcraft and Wizardry


Chiddingstone Castle School of Witchcraft and Wizardry

For the second year, the Castle is recruiting witches and wizards aged 6 to 10 to join the Chiddingstone Castle School of Witchcraft and Wizardry to help the Headmaster on a magical mission! 

The event takes place during half term week Thursday, Friday and Saturday 25, 26 and 27 October – 10.30 to 4.30pm.  

Activities include:

– Meeting the School’s Headmaster

– Flying Lessons

– The Dark Arts and Crafts

– Singing, Dance and Games Practice

– Potion Making

– Awards for best dressed and exceptional students

– Certificates for all student

Tickets:  Child £14.50 (6 – 10 years old, must be accompanied by one adult, with a maximum of four children per adult). Accompanying Adult : £10.00

School of Witchcraft and Wizardry T – shirts – £6.00

Why not pre-book a Children’s Goodie Bags (sandwich, piece of fruit, raisins, crisps, bottle of water and a sweet treat) from our Tea Room, £4.50.

The Castle Tea Room will be open from 11am – 4.30pm on these three days serving light refreshments, cakes, coffee and tea. However, please also note that the Castle will not be open as a museum on these dates, and therefore HHA Membership cards, 2 for 1 vouchers and Tea/Admission gift vouchers are not available to be used on these Special Event days.

Please note that the content of this event has been devised specifically for children aged 6 to 10 years. We do not recommend the event for children under the age of 6 or over the age of 10.

For more information about Chiddingstone Castle and to book in advance please visit

Hill Hoath Road, Chiddingstone, Edenbridge, Kent, TN8 7AD tel: 01892 870347. (between Penshurst Place and Hever Castle)

Although Chiddingstone Castle is not open to visitors on this event day the Museum exhibiting the Collections of the late Denys Eyre Bower are usually open on Sundays, Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays until the end of October.  Chiddingstone Castle is a registered charity no 291203.

Harvest Begins at Biddenden – One Month Early

Harvest time at Biddenden Vineyards in Kent

Harvest at Biddenden has started today, Tuesday 28th August, one month earlier than usual.  With the stunning weather we have seen over the last couple of months, the grapes have come on extremely well and we have started picking Ortega today.  The fruit is looking in excellent condition with heavy cropping throughout.

We will take our first pressing today and harvest will continue over the next 6-8 weeks as varieties ripen.  Covering approximately half the vineyard, picking of Ortega will continue over the coming weeks, before moving on to other white varieties and finishing with red Pinot Noir & Gamay grapes.

The vineyard is open daily to visitors and our self-guided walk route takes in much of the vineyard, so provides an excellent opportunity to see the grapes before & during picking… but be quick, our team will work fast to bring the harvest in!

More information on visiting the vineyard & our charity tours may be found here.

b c


Napoleonic Re-enactment Weekend – Bringing History to Life at Hole Park in Kent

Bringing History to Life at Hole Park in Kent

One of the most memorable ways to experience history first hand is to attend a living history event.

One of the biggest and best Napoleonic re-enactment events in Kent will again be held in the impressive grounds of the Hole Park Estate in Rolvenden, Kent on Saturday 1st and Sunday 2nd September 2018.

The Napoleonic Re-enactment Weekend, organised by The Napoleonic Association of Great Britain, aims to transport visitors back in history to a time when Europe was in the grip of French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte … whose plans included invading the United Kingdom via Kent!  The event will include thrilling and skilfully re-enacted battles, a period tented camp, horses, guides and even recruitment and training sessions for children. Stalls and activities, including a Hog Roast and Real Ale tent, in keeping with the historic period (1793-1815), will add to the two-day event’s authentic atmosphere.

New this year will be the opportunity to get even closer to the action by booking onto one of two daily tours specially organised to ensure visitors can experience some of the most interesting elements of the event including preparing canons for fire and a tour of both the French and English encampments!

Napoleon himself, in the person of renowned look-alike John Horwood, will appear on both days to lead skirmishes and re-enact scenes from this key period leading to the Battle of Waterloo, over 200 years ago.   

As well as thrilling demonstrations of Cavalry Arms Skills, Drills, Artillery Displays, Parades and Skirmishes look out for the beautifully dressed regency ladies, who will be bringing a touch of Jane Eyre to Hole Park.

Included in the admission ticket the Napoleonic Re-enactment Weekend will be entry into the award winning Hole Park Gardens which was crowned Kentish Garden of the Year 2016 by Kent Life and Visit Kent. 

Admission to Napoleonic Re-enactment Weekend including entry into the gardens: £7.50 for adults and £1 for children age 5 to 16.

Opening times: During the event the gardens will open from 10am to 6pm, and the Napoleonic event from 10am to 5pm.

Directions: Hole Park, TN17 4JA, is situated 4 miles west of Tenterden, Kent on the B2086 between Rolvenden and Benenden.

For more information on opening times to visit Hole Park Gardens please visit or telephone 01580 241344 Group bookings should be made in advance by e-mailing

Clearly Juice Red Love is a Great Taste Award Winner!

Clearly Juice Red Love is a Great Taste Award Winner!

The results of the Guild of Fine Food’s Great Taste Awards have been announced this morning & we are very excited to announce that our newly relaunched Clearly Juice has been awarded 1* for Red Love® Apple Juice.

The annual awards, which see 12,500 entries are regarded as the ‘Oscars’ of the food world and this year saw over 500 judges, including specially trained food writers inputting judges’ comments, judging over 65 days from March through to early July.

Judges’ comments included “An attractive and inviting colour.  A refreshing drink with rich apple notes” and “Clean flavour and authentically apple-tasting.”

Clearly Juice Red Love® Apple Juice is made using 100% Red Love® Apples which have a naturally red skin & flesh, giving the juice its distinctive, naturally red colour.  The apples are grown at East Malling Research by AG Thames, before being pressed & bottled on site at Biddenden Vineyards.

The juice is available to buy direct from the Biddenden Vineyards shop, via their online shop and at selected independent outlets throughout the South East.

Biddenden Red Love Apple Juice Great Taste Awards 1 Star

Ancient Egyptian Day at Chiddingstone Castle

Ancient Egyptian Day

A celebration of Ancient Egypt for all the family set throughout the Castle on Sunday 5 August 2018 between 11am and 4.30pm.

Spend the day learning about the mysteries of Ancient Egypt and take a tour to see all the fascinating collections displayed inside the Castle.

Become a ‘Junior Archaeologist’ when you explore the Fields of Eternity in the Castle grounds.

Handle 3,000 year old objects when you take part in a handling session with Tom Hardwick who is the Curator of the Hall of Egypt at HMNS (Houston Museum of Natural Science), where some of the Castle’s artefacts are currently on display.

Listen to a family friendly talk on Egyptian Gods and Goddesses by Mick Oakey, Vice Chairman of the Sussex Egyptology Society.

Dr John Baines, Professor Emeritus, Egyptology at Oxford University will deliver a more advanced talk on Ancient Egyptian artefacts.

Admission to the event which is suitable for all ages will be:  Adults £10.00, Child £5.00, Family (2+2) £26.

For more information about Chiddingstone Castle and Grounds visit

Hill Hoath Road, Chiddingstone, Edenbridge, Kent, TN8 7AD tel: 01892 870347

For all press enquiries contact Caroline Edmunds on 01892 616647 or email

Chiddingstone Castle in Kent is open Sundays, Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays until the end of October.

Great Kent Chilli Festival comes to Hole Park

The Great Kent Chilli Festival

The Great Kent Chilli Festival will be held for the first time on Saturday 30 June and Sunday 1 July 2018 at Hole Park Gardens, near Cranbrook in Kent. 

The organisers have lined up a hot weekend of chillies, with stalls selling chilli sauces, chilli jams and chutneys, and chilli plants.  There will be cooking demonstrations; talks on growing chillies; artisan food producers; music; international street food; a chilli cook-off and of course chilli-eating competitions.

“Our Chilli Festivals are great fun”, said organiser Miles Halton from SureFire Events.  “They appeal to everyone from chilli enthusiasts to food lovers and families.  We already hold a successful Chilli Festival in Dorset but this is our first event in Kent so we are hoping everyone will come along to Hole Park and join in the fun. This may be a food festival but there will also be live music all day to listen to whilst sipping a local pint of ale or cider to calm the tingling taste buds.

“For our younger visitors there will be plenty of milder food for the gentler palette and, of course, some bouncy castles (for older AND younger children), an inflatable slide, a mini-carousel, coconut shy (yay!), and face painting.”


On Sunday, there will be the chilli-con-carne cook-off between 10 pre-registered teams run by the UK Chilli Cook-off Association.  The teams will battle it out for the Kent title and a place at the national finals. The contestants have 4 hours to cook a gallon of chilli-con-carne from scratch, which is then put before a panel of judges and a public vote. The winning team goes on to cook in the UK Finals. The UK winner at the end of the summer qualifies to compete in the World Food Championships in Alabama!  The entry fee is £10 per team (teams can be made up of any number of people). First prize is £150, second prize £75 and third prize £25!  Register at


Those who dare can take part in a chilli eating competition at 4.00pm on both days. Ten rounds of increasingly hot chillies for the competitors and plenty of hilarity for the spectators. 


The public get a chance to judge the chilli sauce competition! The stall holders will be invited to enter their sauces for a blind tasting test by festival visitors.


The Great Kent Chilli Festival will be held at the well-known Hole Park near Cranbrook. The stunning gardens were voted Visit Kent’s Garden of the Year in 2016, and entry to the 16 acre garden is included in the chilli festival ticket.

Dates: Saturday 30 and Sunday 1 July 2018

Times: 10.00 – 17.00

Venue: Hole Park, Rolvenden, Cranbrook, Kent TN17 4JA

Tickets are available in advance from the website or on the day at the gate.  Adult advance tickets £5.90, on the gate £7.50. Children advance tickets (11-15) £2.50 and £3.00 on the gate. Family Ticket in advance (2 adults, 3 children) £14.50 and £18.00 on the gate.  10 and under free.


Free parking.

Unmissable 2018 Easter events in Kent

Unmissable 2018 Easter events in Kent

Enjoy a Chuffing Easter at the Kent & East Sussex Railway

Children travelling over Easter between 30 March and 2 April can hunt for Easter Egg pictures on a trail across Tenterden, Northiam and Bodiam stations before handing in the completed form to claim their free chocolate egg! Take advantage of the “Kids Go Free” promotion for trains running from Friday 30 March until Sunday 15 April.  Children under 15 can travel for free (one child per fare-paying adult).  Free child tickets must be booked in advance the day before travel.   
Kent & East Sussex Railway, Tenterden Town Station, Station Road, Tenterden, Kent, TN30 6HE

Alice in Wonderland at Chiddingstone Castle  

Alice and her friends will be at Chiddingstone Castle for three days this Easter (Thursday 12 April to Saturday 14 April).  They will have free run of the Castle and grounds and are hosting games and activities suitable for 6 – 10 year olds.   Activities includes: Croquet/Mini Golf with the Queen of Hearts, Arts and Crafts with the White Rabbit, Singing Practice with Alice, Dancing with Tweedledum, Mad Hatter’s presentation in the Great Hall.
The Mad Hatter will award prizes to his ‘Best Dressed Guest’ and ‘Craziest Newcomer to Wonderland’ and there will be certificates for all.   Children must be accompanied by a paying adult with at least one adult per five children. Adults can stay with children and be non-participating spectators or stay on site in the Castle’s Tea Room and grounds.  Book online via the website.   
Chiddingstone Castle, Hill Hoath Road, Chiddingstone, Edenbridge TN8 7AD
Cadbury Easter Egg Hunt at Knole in Sevenoaks (30 March to 6 April)

Families can come along and enjoy egg hunts whatever the weather for £3 per child.
The trail paths are suitable for wheelchairs and buggies, although if the weather has been very wet they can be quite muddy.
The egg hunt will take place in the free areas of Knole. Normal admission charges apply to the showrooms and tower.  For further details and to find out about other events in the Easter holidays including the hidden animal trail, making an animal mask or taking a bat walk visit their website. 
Knole, Sevenoaks, Kent, TN15 0RP (Sat Nav TN13 1HU)
Cadbury Easter Egg Hunt at Scotney Castle (30 March to 15 April)

The Hussey children who lived at Scotney Castle in the late 19th century kept diaries about the fun that they had in the grounds. Re-live their adventures as you take part in the bird egg hunt in the garden. Find all of the bird nests, collect all the clues and work out the answer to claim your Cadbury chocolate prize. Admission applies and the egg hunt is £3 per child. 
Scotney Castle, Lamberhurst, Tunbridge Wells TN3 8JN
Biddenden Vineyards Charity Easter Tour Saturday 10am to 12pm

Visit Biddenden Vineyards to learn more about the history of the vineyard and how they make award-winning wines, ciders and juices.
Arrive at the vineyard at 9.45 for a free cup of coffee or tea. Tours begin at 10am and take approximately 1 hour. The tour is followed by tastings of a selection of  wines, ciders and juices in the vineyard shop.
These tours are for individuals, families and friends – pre-booking is essential. Please book via phone or email:
Our charity tours cost £1 per person and funds are donated to Dandelion Time, a local charity which helps children and their families who are the victims of trauma, abuse and neglect.
Biddenden Vineyards, Gribble Bridge Lane, Ashford, Kent, TN27 8DF
Hole Park Gardens

The beautiful Hole Park Gardens in Rolvenden, Kent will open to visitors every day from Sunday 1 April 2018 for early spring colour including daffodils, primroses and camellias.   Don’t miss their Bluebell Festival taking place between 20 April and 3 May 2018. 
Hole Park, Benenden Rd, Rolvenden, Cranbrook TN17 4JA


Dates announced for 2018 Literary Festival at Chiddingstone Castle in Kent


Chiddingstone Castle is looking forward to delivering another fantastic literary festival between Sunday 6 May and Tuesday 8 May 2018 when a great new line-up of authors, illustrators, poets and children’s performers will be at the Castle. Once again, the festival will be sponsored by investment management firm Brooks Macdonald.

The festival programme will offer author talks for adults and teenagers on Sunday 6 May, a wide range of events for families on Bank Holiday Monday 7 May, and a whole day of children’s authors, illustrators and workshops especially for schools on Tuesday 8 May.

The Tunbridge Wells office of investment management firm Brooks Macdonald is the proud title sponsor for the second year running of Chiddingstone Castle Literary Festival 2018. The festival, now in its third year, will take place during and after the first Bank Holiday weekend in May at Chiddingstone Castle, near Edenbridge, West Kent.

Pam Beith, Senior Investment Director and Head of Brooks Macdonald’s Tunbridge Wells office, said:

“We are delighted to once again sponsor Chiddingstone Castle Literary Festival. This year’s festival was a huge success and we were very proud to be associated with it. 2018’s event will yet again include an impressive line-up of well-known authors covering a wide range of topics offering something for all age groups. 

At Brooks Macdonald we firmly believe in giving back to our local community and we have an established history of supporting the arts. The festival has a very strong following in Kent and beyond and sponsoring Chiddingstone Castle Literary Festival 2018 also provides us with a wonderful platform to continue raising awareness of our business in Kent and the South East.”

A limited-edition Sunday Day Pass for next year’s literary festival is now available online for just £70, visit These reduced-price vouchers allow the holder access to:

  • All seven talks from renowned authors Ian Rankin, Diana Henry, Anna Pasternak, John Sutherland and Erwin James, Adam Kay and Cathy Rentzenbrink, Sir Anthony Seldon and Anne de Courcy in the Main Marquee on Sunday 6th May
  • Visit the Castle’s historic rooms and collection of art and artefacts
  • Enjoy a free glass of wine in the festival bar

Register your interest on our pre-registration page to be first to hear when our Box Office opens, and follow our Facebook Event Page for updates. Tickets to individual events will be available to purchase online from 1st March 2018.

2018 Literary Festival Programme


Ian Rankin – the UK’s no.1 bestselling crime writer will talk to Jake Kerridge, crime reviewer for the Daily Telegraph, about the inspiration behind his Rebus novels.

Anna Pasternak – author of Lara: The Untold Love Story that Inspired Dr Zhivago will talk about her great uncle Boris Pasternak and his remarkable life with its many parallels in his writing. Geoffrey Streatfeild will read excerpts from his letters and works.

John Sutherland – author of Blue: Keeping the Peace and Falling Apart and a Commissioner in the Metropolitan Police will be in conversation with Erwin James author of Redeemable: A Memoir of Darkness and Hope, an ex-prisoner convicted of murder who now writes for the Guardian and edits Inside Time (prison newspaper). They will talk about their experiences of crime, punishment and policing and their effects on both their own mental health.

Diana Henry – cookery writer for the Daily Telegraph and author of Simple, will talk about her new book How to Eat a Peach which contains many of Diana’s favourite dishes in menus that will take you through the year and to different parts of the world.

Anne de Courcy – author of The Fishing Fleet, The Viceroy’s Daughters and other social history/biographies will talk about her latest book The Husband Hunters: Social Climbing in London and New York, at the end of the 19th century beginning of the 20th. Think Downtown Abbey.

Adam Kay with Cathy Rentzenbrink – From comedian and former junior doctor, This Is Going to Hurt provides a no-holds-barred account of his time on the NHS front line, scribbled in secret after endless days, sleepless nights and missed weekends. He will be in conversation with Cathy Rentzenbrink, the writer of Last Act of Love and A Manual for Heartache.

Sir Nigel Shadbolt  –has written The Digital Ape: How smart machines are transforming us all and what we should do about it. An expert in the field of Artificial Intelligence, he will talk about its significance in the future of science and education, and its impact on human life.

Linda Porter, Leanda de Lisle, Lucy Moore – authors of Royal Renegades, The White King: Charles I, and Lady Fanshawe’s Receipt Book. These three highly regarded historians will discuss ‘Royalist Women’.

Daljit Nagra – the author of several poetry anthologies (his latest is The British Museum), teaches poetry at Brunel University and is Radio 4’s poet in residence. He will read from his poems and describe how he became a poet with Radio 4’s poetry editor Emma Harding.

Sam Leith – literary editor of The Spectator (author of Write to the Point) will talk about persuasive writing and the importance of grammar. He will then deliver a workshop for people to produce their own.

Eddie Armer – experienced artist, will lead 3 classes in life drawing throughout the day in the Streatfeild Room.



Jim Al-Khalili – physicist, author of What’s Next and broadcaster on Radio 4’s The Life Scientific will be in conversation with his publisher Andrew Franklin about the future of Science, AI and Robotics.

Kate Mosse – the bestselling author of Labyrinth will be discussing her new historical novel The Burning Chambers set in 16th century France with local author Deborah Lawrenson.

Evan Davis – BBC2’s Newsnight anchor will discuss his book Post-Truth: Why We Have Reached Peak Bullshit and What We Can Do About It, alongside current political events with Channel 5 News presenter Andy Bell.

Leigh Ladies Choir – will perform for the first time, a choral piece specially written for them.


Pericles Theatre Company will return with a musical performance for all the family in the Orangery based on a traditional Romanian fairy tale.

Lauren Child – the new Children’s Laureate will talk about writing and illustrating her prize-winning children’s books including Charlie & Lola, Clarice Bean and Ruby Redfort.

David Melling – author of Hugless Douglas and many other children’s books will read, draw and entertain 3-5yr olds.

Aardman Animations – creators of Wallace and Gromit, Sean the Sheep and their forthcoming film Early Man (Jan 2018) will hold 3 modelling workshops throughout our Family Day.

Story Makers – creative writing and storytelling workshops for children aged 7-11 with Shelley Fallows.

Scoop Magazine – workshop for children aged 7+ on How to make a Magazine with the founder of the beautiful children’s magazine Scoop.


Really Big Pants Theatre Company – return with Plundered! An exciting new performance with pirates, puppets and audience participation.

Cressida Cowell – the hugely popular no. 1 best-selling author of How to Train Your Dragon will talk about her new series for children The Wizards of Once.

Abi Elphinstone – the irrepressible author of The Dreamsnatcher, The Nightspinner and her forthcoming novel Sky Song will enthuse children about reading, writing and exploring their imaginations.

Guy Bass and illustrator Pete Williamson – creators of the Stitch Head series for children will perform an entertaining double act with live drawing.

Philip Ardagh – local author of over 100 books will talk about his new Secret Diary series, which combine history and humour, as told by Jane Pinny, Victorian Housemaid and John Drawbridge Medieval Knight in Training. Perfect for a festival in a castle!

Andrew Clover – comedian, actor and children’s author will perform his hilarious Seven Secrets of Storytelling show.

Notes to Editors.

Address:   Chiddingstone Castle, Chiddingstone, Edenbridge, Kent TN8 7AD