On Sunday, Mum and I took advantage of the clocks going back and an extra hour to our day to drive to Sissinghurst Castle, former home (now National Trust owned) of Vita Sackville-West, famed for her connection to the Bloomsbury Group and love affair with Virginia Woolf.
I’d been wanting to visit Sissinghurst for ages. Having absolutely loved my visits to Charleston and Monk’s House, Vita Sackville-West’s home was next on my list. I’d heard wonderful things about the garden Vita designed in the 1930s, but it by far exceeded all my expectations. We were extremely lucky with the weather: the sun was shining brightly, and I’d never seen the Kent countryside look prettier, glowing in the golden-toned orange and red of autumn. The famous garden is divided by bricks walls or clipped hedges, rather like a series of ‘rooms,’ each with its own theme. We spent all afternoon walking along its paths and marvelling at the sheer beauty of the place.
Climbing to the top of the Elizabethan tower that is such a prominent feature of the grounds is most certainly worthwhile. For one thing, half-way up you can stop and peer into the cosiest looking nook that you can imagine, filled with books and deep armchairs (note: if I ever happen to have a tower in my garden – hey, you never know – I am definitely creating a library / study space in it). Once you get to the top, these are the views laid out before you:
Absolutely spectacular – I’m not sure I’ve ever seen the countryside look prettier! After touring the gardens, you may feel peckish, so I feel it’s worth mentioning that the cafe at Sissinghurst is very nice, with a menu that features fruits and vegetables grown in the gardens. I very much enjoyed a warming bowl of pumpkin barley risotto, and Mum said her beef casserole was delicious.
Have you ever visited Sissinghurst Castle Gardens? What did you think of it?