Café serving tea, coffee, breakfast, lunch, sandwiches and snacks.
Welcome to your fairy-tale adventure in the Garden of England!
Groombridge Place near Tunbridge Wells promises a fun day out for all the family providing award winning manicured gardens, Crusoe’s world adventure playground, the Romany camp, the Owl and Raptor Centre, the Enchanted Forest – with its hidden woodland characters, giant tree swings, tree canopy walkway, river boat ride – and other thrills of the imagination to discover.
The moated manor house itself was rebuilt in 1662 by Philip Packer when Charles II ruled to replace a medieval building that can be traced back to 1230.Enjoy a trip on the canal boat along the River Grom flowing in the grounds between the gardens and the Enchanted Forest.
You can see the heritage Spa Valley Railway engines and carriages snaking their way through the Wealden countryside from the heights of the climbing courses.
The gardens feature a giant chess game which you can play, a board-walk through the forest and a maze! The birds of prey show their flying skills off twice a day.
The different formal garden areas were designed by John Evelyn in the late 17th century. The Secret Garden contains blue agapanthus and gazania amongst other blooms. The Knot Garden has a tantalising tulip display in spring. The White Rose Garden stars in the artistry of diverse shades of white. The Oriental Garden comes to life thanks to the fiery colours of dazzling Japanese maples. The Drunken Garden’s highlights are veronica, clematis, ceanothus and lilies in blue and yellow.
As if this isn’t enough, there is a Sherlock Holmes museum too! The connection is that the setting for Conan Doyle’s novel The Valley of Fear is right here. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle used to visit his friends who owned the property in the late 1800s on a regular basis. He thought his friends’ estate was the perfect backdrop for this mystery thriller, the final Sherlock Holmes book. The museum displays the artefacts and links between the property and the author.
Keep an eye out for the native wildlife especially in the deer park and the birds and animals including the peacocks, pony, donkey and famous zedonk!!
Sitting proudly at the heart of the only remaining medieval deer park in Kent, Knole’s fascinating links with royalty as well as its literary connections with Vita Sackville-West and Virginia Woolf, make this one of the most intriguing houses in England.
Bluecaps Farm, situated in Cousley Wood near Wadhurst is home to a herd of 18 llamas.
Set in the heart of the High Weald and surrounded by 800 acres of outstanding natural beauty, Bewl Water is the perfect place to watch the seasons change and to enjoy some healthy family fun for all ages.
Bewl Water offers a range of activities that are sure to entertain the whole family. Take to the water on the Bewl Belle, enjoy a relaxing fishing trip or a gentle ramble beside the water’s edge with your four legged friends!
Fun fact: the reservoir holds 31,000 megalitres!!
The Bewl Water Walk
Want to kick it up a notch? The full route around the water is 12.5 miles and can be walked, run or cycled, with bike hire available from March-October or you can bring your own.
Refuel in the Boat House Bistro, where you can enjoy quality dining (like freshly caught trout from the reservoir) and tasty treats in a tranquil setting with panoramic views of the water. Children’s roast dinners are on offer every Sunday. Or enjoy a post-walk coffee or hot chocolate and watch the boats come and go on The Terrace.
Bewl Water’s walking and cycle path is open all year round and there are many activities to fill the warmer months. Whether you are looking for an active, fun-filled day out with the family or to simply enjoy the peace and serenity of the countryside, the possibilities at Bewl Water are endless! And it’s dog friendly too.
2019 saw the introduction of a new adrenalin fuelled feature in the form of the inflatable assault course on the reservoir water! Suitable for ages 6 and up – if you love water, this is a gigglefest galore!
Activities throughout the year include*:
Walking, cycling, bike hire, pedalo and row boats, canoeing, sailing, rowing, adventure playgrounds, fishing, The Bewl Belle boat, Water Taxis, dining at the Boat House Bistro and The Waterfront Café, and much more!
*Please note that certain activities are subject to availability and change. For more information, please visit our website or get in touch.
A variety of special events are held during the course of the year such as the Austin Seven Rally, the Christmas Experience, the Big Dog Day Out, Stand Up Paddle Boarding and Outdoor Cinema Nights.
A new cookery school has opened up for private groups of up to 3 – an ingenious gift for a foodie fanatic.
Get back to basics with camping for small groups and romantic breaks against this serene backdrop. Check the website for opening dates.
Wedding ceremonies and receptions, stag and hen do’s, and conferences can be held at Bewl Water too. There is plenty of parking and space for everyone.
Only a 30 minute drive from the town of Royal Tunbridge Wells through some stunning countryside, passing Bayham Abbey and Scotney Castle on your way, follow the brown tourist signs to the other side of the pretty village of Lamberhurst.
An equally enjoyable way to reach Bewl Water would be to get on your bike. If you go the pretty way then it would take just under an hour to get there. Depending on which route you choose, it’s between 8.5 and 9.5 miles.
Here to delight your daydreams, have a look at A Day of Discovery at Beautiful Bewl Water by Royal Tunbridge Wells mum, Clare Lush-Mansell, about her day out with the kids at Bewl Water.
The Tunbridge Wells Circular Walk is a 27.5 mile (44.3km) route that explores the variety of fertile and beautiful countryside around Royal Tunbridge Wells, a town within the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty on the borders of Kent and East Sussex.
The walk starts and finishes wherever you like. To illustrate you could start at Southborough Common, passing through a number of picturesque villages in the Tunbridge Wells area: Southborough, Pembury, Frant, Groombridge and Speldhurst. The route is of interest for natural history, archaeological, historical and architectural features.
Walk past vineyards planted in 1884 and saunter through orchards growing apples, pears, plums and cherries.
Notable attractions along the way include:
All Saints’ Church, Tudeley is a fascinating building dating back to the 11th century which is listed in the Domesday Book. The stain glass windows also hold great significance, having been designed by Franco-Russian artist Mark Chagall, who was described as “the quintessential Jewish artist of the twentieth century” by art critic Robert Hughes.
In Snipe Wood lies the site of Keyes Mill, a water mill that was painted by the globally acclaimed artist J.M.W Turner on two occasions in 1795 and 1796.
Harrison’s Rocks is a spot frequented by serious climbers being the largest of the cluster of local southern sandstone outcrops. The site has been visited by tourists since the 18th century and still remains popular.
Groombridge Place and Gardens is another gem along the Circular Walk. The Manor House has an intriguing history, whilst the formal Gardens are beautiful to walk through.
Tunbridge Wells Common is a few minutes walk from the town centre and famous for sandstone outcrops known as Wellington Rocks. It is a wonderful space to relax and observe the world, or you could finish your walk with a picnic in a delightful spot.
Dunorlan Park is also a great stop receiving a steady stream of visitors thanks to its beauty and serenity. The Park is Grade II listed as part of it was landscaped in the 1860s by distinguished Victorian gardener, Richard Marnock. Marnock was commissioned by Henry Reed, a local millionaire owning 78 acres of garden that now make up the Park.
The Park is also the proud owner of a Green Flag Award (since 2006) making it “a welcoming green space, healthy, safe” and “managed in an environmentally sensitive and sustainable way”.
If 27.5 miles is too strenuous, the route can be divided up into four waymarked circular link routes: Southborough Circular – 8.5miles, Pembury Circular – 13miles, Sussex Circular – 15miles and Speldhurst Circular – 10miles. Each trail starts in the middle of the royal town within reach of local bus services and the railway station.
Leaflets containing maps and directions for each of these trails can be downloaded or obtained from the Tourist Information Centre.
Sunninglye farm is to be found on the Kent / Sussex border in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.