Ightham Mote opening ‘secret places’ to visitors

Ightham Mote, near Sevenoaks in Kent, has opened the property’s Laundry Cottage garden to visitors for the first time ever. The garden will be opened throughout August and on future weekends where practical. This is the first of a series of planned openings of hitherto “behind the scenes” areas of the house and gardens.

The cottages range and garden, parts of which date back to the 15th century, were originally part of a western courtyard facing the tower of the main mansion. These buildings have variously been used as stables and staff housing, while Laundry Cottage was fitted out as a working laundry in Victorian times.  The cottage garden has always been an oasis of calm alongside the main house, giving an unusual outlook onto the tower beyond.

Richard Burton Head Gardener says “The garden has attractive old stone walls on two sides and features a small lawn and a short section of a spring that flows down to the south lake.  We have left the path of the Victorian privy open and the gully will give us the opportunity to plant some interesting moisture loving plants.  The garden is a “work in progress” with some more cutting back, clearing and tidying underway before we can get a bit of planting done, weather permitting.  However, there is currently a rather lovely display of flowers from the Hydrangea aspera ‘Villosa’ next to the privy and the garden provides a nice secluded space in which to sit for a little while.”

Bernadette Gillow, Ightham Mote’s General Manager, commented “We’re so delighted to begin out programme of unlocking our ‘secret’ places with the opening of Laundry Cottage garden.  Visitors have told us that they want to see more of Ightham Mote and to find out what lies behind some of those doors marked ‘private’; those hidden rooms and spaces in the house and garden.  In the next few months we will have news of additional openings”.

For further information and opening times please visit or call 01732 810378.


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