Walk Duration: 45 minutes
OS Map: OS Landranger 188; OS Explorer 136
shorter route suitable for pushchairs;
both routes suitable for family of all ages and babies in backpacks.
National Trust Sissinghurst Castle & moat; lakeside walks, bluebells in late spring, woodland, lovely views, good for picnics, baby changing and toilets, cafe.
Taking in the wider estate of the lovely Sissinghurst Castle and its famous gardens, this is a peaceful and pleasant easy stroll for all the family that does not require National Trust membership to enjoy, although a visit to the famous Sissinghurst Castle Gardens is highly recommended, as is the view from the top of the tower.
The shorter walk route is suitable for sturdy or all-terrain pushchairs although as it is on rough paths, it can be wet in places after rain. The full 2 km route is suitable terrain for wheels but involves two stiles and some strong lifters to make it feasible for strollers.
The walk begins from the front of Sissinghurst Castle. There are baby changing and toilet facilities available and also a cafe as part of the National Trust estate.
Start the walk by passing to the left side of Sissinghurst Castle as you face it and following the sign for estate walks. Stroll down the path, with the moat appearing on your right hand side along with tantalising glimpses of Vita Sackville-West’s famous garden on the other side.
At the gazebo (the little building perched over the edge of the moat), the path turns right and follows the moat. The gazebo was built as a memorial to Harold Nicolson – the diplomat and author husband of Vita Sackville-West and was later used as a writing room by his son Nigel. A more perfect and picturesque spot for penning a book is hard to imagine.
At the end of the path, pass through a gate and veer left down hill towards the lake. This is a lovely picnic spot for families. By the lake, go through the gate and follow the path straight over. If you would like a longer walk you can turn left instead and follow the path around the left-hand lake which will rejoin the walk at the opposite side.
At the other side of the lake, turn right and continue your walk through the woodland, with the larger lake on your right hand side. This is a lovely stretch of the walk and particularly beautiful in late spring when it is full of bluebells.
After leaving the lake, the walk continues through the woodland before reaching a split in the path. Those with pushchairs or toddlers may prefer to take the shorter route to the right which leads back up through the field to Sissinghurst Castle. For others, continue on the left-hand fork on the longer walk.
Continue on the path until it bends towards the right. Pass over the narrow bridge and stile and into the meadow beyond. Walk across the field to the opposite side and climb over the unusual folding stile. From here, turn right and return to Sissinghurst Castle via the main drive.
If you have more time and energy, you can also opt to take a longer circuit which avoids returning via the drive. The full route is available on the National Trust website here.
Map of Route:
Sissinghurst Castle can be found using the postcode TN17 2AB. The number 5 Arriva bus runs connects Sissinghurst with Maidstone and Hawkhurst, although you will need to walk a over a mile from Sissinghurst to Sissinghurst Castle. There is a railway connection in nearby Staplehurst, which is also on the bus route.
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