Hole Park is a family owned estate which has been in the Barham family for the past four generations. Formalised gardens combine with natural woodland. These extensive gardens were developed, laid out and planted by Colonel Barham, the great-grandfather of the present owner, in the years between the two World Wars.
Visitors to the gardens in early April will see swathes of crocuses, narcissi and daffodils. A pretty ‘Camelia Walk’ with shade-loving hellebores takes walkers down a path flanked by flowering cherry trees. Before the bluebells take centre stage, the meadows and woodland floor are a sea of primroses and dainty blue scillas. Magnificent mature magnolia trees will also be flowering throughout the gardens and woodlands.
In May the gardens are full of tulips, roses and clematis and the vineyard garden has several impressive standard wisterias to admire. Rhododendrons and azaleas flower throughout the gardens and the delicate wild orchids will start to flower in the meadows alongside the architectural spires and star-shaped flowers of ‘camassia’. The sundial garden provides a view over the Wealden countryside through an oval shaped window in the topiary hedge.
Visitors to the gardens in the summer months can see the recently renovated long herbaceous borders. Half the border has been replanted in the original pink and blue planting scheme first used by the late Christopher Lloyd when he first designed the border at Hole Park. The remainder of the border was replanted using the original colour scheme of yellow and white. For the first time there will be a Proms Spectacular & ABBA Revival on 24 and 25 August 2019.
Late Summer and Autumn Highlights
The late flowering agapanthus ‘Hole Park Blue’ and colourful exotic border with its cannas and dahlias are an impressive sight in late summer before the reds, yellows and golds of autumn appear bringing colour and interest to the gardens in October. Visitors can enjoy the annual Napoleonic Re-enactment Weekend on 31 August and 1 September 2019.
One of the Seven Wonders of the Weald; the garden was also crowned Kentish Garden of the Year in 2016 by Visit Kent and Kent Life Magazine
A circular network of hard paths enables visitors of all ages, including those who require a wheelchair, to enjoy the gardens. Wheelchairs may be reserved free of charge and there are full disability WC facilities.
Light lunches and delicious homemade cakes are available in the coach house where apple juice, local beer and homemade jam and honey produced from the fruit and bees on the Hole Park Estate can be purchased. There is also a small plant stall next to the coach house.
Admission: £7.50 for adults and £1 for children (5 to 18). The gardens are open 11am to 6pm. Groups of 15+ £7 and guided tours for groups will be an additional £3.50 per person. There is a dedicated tea room for groups, free parking for cars and coaches and conducted tours can also be arranged for groups by prior arrangement.
Hole Park is situated 4 miles west of Tenterden on the B2086 between Rolvenden and Benenden.
This year, owners can bring their dogs into the gardens and woodlands for the first time. Dogs must however be kept on a short lead.