Hole Park
Hole Park
An attractive mix of formal and informal gardens, Hole Park features formal gardens near the house with clipped yew hedges outlining a series of garden rooms. There is much of interest, including a wrought iron gatesail, a fountain, egg pond, and a walled rose garden. The woodland gardens offer a wonderful display of bluebells in Spring.
What to See
Begun in the 1920s and still owned by the same family, Hole Park is a treasure for gardeners. The gardens were designed by Colonel Barham between the two wars, set below a historic manor house which is still a family home and thus not open to visitors. The 15 acres of privately owned garden and woodland offer a sensory delight, with colours from Spring through Autumn. The gardens are set in over 200 acres of parkland, on the borders of Kent and East Sussex.

Hole Park and bluebells are almost synonymous; in fact, the woodlands at Hole Park may be the best place in England to see spring displays of bluebells. The best time to see the woods in full colour depends on how the bluebells respond to winter temperatures, so it's a good idea to check the garden's website for their 'Bluebell Barometer, suggesting the best times. Normally that is between late April and early May.

A circular bluebell walk meanders through the woodland, with convenient seats for soaking up the sights and smells as carpets of bluebells mix with wild garlic.

Closer to the house are more formal garden areas, with clipped yew hedges and topiary complimenting an Italian style and walled gardens. There are attractive water features and gravel paths to take visitors across wide lawns to a rose garden. The garden is bounded by wrought-iron gates, and statues are carefully placed to provide interesting points of view.

A blue border contrasts with hot colours a tropical border, while a vineyard and semi-circular garden add interest. Less formal areas include a bog garden and a gently meandering stream through woodland dells, where masses of azaleas and rhododendrons add vibrant colour in the early summer, with wisteria and herbaceous borders to follow.

Hole Park is often described as a hidden gem, and one of Kent's best-kept secrets.