Often described as one of the best places to see bluebells in the country, Hole Park Gardens in Rolvenden, Kent, is also renowned for its 16 acres of private gardens still owned by descendants of the man who planted it in the 1920’s.
Visitors to Hole Park Gardens will enjoy the effect of a huge bulb planting programme which took place in 2015. 15,000 bulbs of various kinds have been planted to add to the large number already present. These include the very dark purple tulip ‘Queen of the Night’ which will make a striking new addition to the rose garden and long borders in May. Many narcissus have also been added around aged trees on the lawns along with several choice Crocus’s, including ‘Pickwick’.
Owner Edward Barham first came to notice camassias on a visit to The Prince of Wales’s gardens at Highgrove and since then has regularly introduced more into the wild flower meadows of The Policy, where they flower between daffodils and the first wild flowers in June. “We are expecting a very impressive display this year”, said Edward.
Key to the enjoyment of the famous Bluebell woods is The Bluebell Barometer on Hole Park Garden’s website which indicates the best time to see this exceptional natural display. The display lasts about 5 weeks and their peak is dependent on winter temperatures as cold weather means the bluebell stalks grow more slowly and so flower later. The flowering cycle ends when the tree canopy comes into leaf as it stops the light reaching the flowers.
Group visitors to the gardens in late April and early May will be captivated by this spectacular display of bluebells which can be seen in the gardens and woodland. Seating on the circular bluebell walk offers a quiet time to reflect and enjoy the intense carpet of blue accompanied by swathes of wild garlic also known by many as ransoms. The restored Ice House is an interesting stopping point for visitors on the walk.
In summer visitors can look forward to the colourful herbaceous borders with scented roses and later see the exotic border with its vivid colours and exotic blooms.
The popularity of Hole Park increases year on year and visitors including groups really appreciate the warmth of the welcome from the owners, who are often present, their staff and the ever hopeful Labradors and the feeling that visitors are guests at their home rather than paying visitors.
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 (16 acres of gardens and 10 acres of woodland). These extensive gardens were developed, laid out and planted by Colonel Barham, the great-grandfather of the present owners in the years between the two World Wars. The present owners Edward and Clare Barham have created new features around the gardens including an exotic border for late summer and early autumn interest. The recently renovated sundial garden with its pretty mosaic path has been planted for a long flowering season and alliums are a striking new feature of the camellia walk.
Light lunches and delicious homemade teas are available in the coach house on all openings. Apple juice and beer brewed on the farm and homemade jam and honey produced from the fruit and bees on the Hole Park Estate can be purchased. A plant stall will also be open throughout spring.
Groups: Group visits are available on any date. Conducted tours of the gardens by the Owner or Head Gardener by prior arrangement.
Dogs are permitted in the gardens but must be kept on leads at all times. Dogs are also allowed in the courtyard by the Coach House on leads but not allowed in the Rolls Room or Coach House. Water is also available for dogs in the outdoor seating area next to the Coach House. Guide dogs are welcome in all areas.
Hole Park is situated 4 miles west of Tenterden on the B2086 between Rolvenden and Benenden.
Take a virtual tour of these beautiful gardens.
Online: £10 per Adult when prebooked via holepark.com. Children age 5-17 will be £2.50 and under 5's enter free of charge. Dogs welcome at no charge.
On the gate: £11 per Adult. Children age 5-17 will be £2.50 and under 5's enter free of charge. Dogs welcome at no charge.
Open daily 1st April to 30th June. Closed for private event Saturday 27th May. Open Wednesdays and Thursdays July to October plus Sundays in October. Gardens close for season on Sunday 29th October 2023. Open 11am. Autumn Sunday's in October 8th, 15th, 22nd and 29th