What’s your favourite building in Kent? Estate Agent Matthew Ryde chooses Scotney Castle

Visitors at Scotney Castle, Kent. Scotney Castle is a country house, romantic garden and 14th century moated castle - all set in a beautiful wooded estate ©National Trust Images.
Scotney Castle is a country house, romantic garden and 14th century moated castle – all set in a beautiful wooded estate.©National Trust Images

Kent is filled with historical buildings and every time I go on a car journey, my nose is firmly pressed up against the passenger window. Twisted chimneys, arched windows, secret doorways, they all draw me in and I would be hard pressed to choose a favourite.  But it doesn’t stop me asking other people to choose though and fellow fan and local estate agent, Matthew Ryde ,has kindly agreed to write a guest post about his favourite building in Kent- Scotney Castle 

Over to you Matt…

A ripple nudges at stonework beside your feet, the wake from a duck that has hurriedly left just seconds before, a gentle rustling brings blossom scent on the breeze and as you look out across the lake, you could be in the midst of a Tennyson poem. Is the lady of Shallott somewhere near?

Moments later, a child’s laughter catches your ear and brings you from your reverie, a smile crosses your face and the moment when this was your own private castle has passed, leaving a wondrous memory that would comfort the heart of he who built this place, in a different time, and for a very different purpose.

When I was asked which was my favourite house in Kent it really wasn’t too hard to pick one. Kent is blessed with glorious buildings, the product of a rich history and money from wool, farming and trade and I could easily pick several for a point of historical importance or architectural interest. I do find one place always leaves a lasting image in my heart though, it has a romance that endows a lingering pleasure long after I have left and that place is Scotney Castle.

In the 1830’s, the Hussey family began a project to build a new home at Scotney. The striking manor house is a lovely building and well worth visiting. It sits overlooking gardens that can be enjoyed through the seasons. For me the joy comes from glimpses of the fourteenth century castle that sits on the lake below.

I wish I could step back in time and meet that family who chose to build new Scotney and get a sense of how they felt about the landscape they were shaping. The old castle has seen many changes through the centuries and was, I believe, still partly used until the first few years of the twentieth century as a bailiffs residence. What romance did the last occupier attach to this place?

Scotney Castle features a 14th century moated castle, a Victorian mansion and a romantic garden.©National Trust Images/John Miller
Scotney Castle features a 14th century moated castle, a Victorian mansion and a romantic garden.©National Trust Images/John Miller

It was a masterful stroke this re working of the old castle. Much has gone, carefully taken down to retain this memorable ‘ruin’.

If you get the chance, take yourself along to visit with your current favourite book or even a copy of Tennyson or Longfellow and find somewhere to sit with this wondrous image in the corner of your eye. Sit perhaps for a moment within the stone walls and gaze out through a green clad arch, spend a little time to soak up the feel of somewhere that has been a home for many centuries and now is a place of joy and inspiration for so many. Wander the grounds and enjoy the gardens and see if your heart is stolen by this place.

Scotney holds a magic unlike anywhere else I know in Kent, visit when mist glides across the lake top and it will feel wholly different to when the evening light glances from the stonework. It somehow manages to encapsulate all that Kent means to me, beautiful scenery, history and romance. I could easily imagine Lord Tennyson strolling the grounds gaining inspiration as he went and I’ll borrow a few of his words to finish.

‘Love thou thy land, with love far-brought

From out the storied Past, and used

Within the present, but transfused

Thro’ future time by power of thought’

There is a taste of ‘my Scotney’ I hope you find yours as wonderful when you visit.

Thanks so much for sharing your favourite spot Matt, Scotney Castle is certainly special and I hope you have many more special moments when it’s ‘all yours’.

Scotney Castle can be found in Lamberhust Near Tunbridge Wells in Kent (TN3 8JN) and is now under the ownership of The National Trust.  Further visitor information can be found at www.nationaltrust.org.uk/scotney-castle Or you can call 01892 893820

And if any of you are looking for a new home in Kent please do take a look at Matthew Ryde’s estate agency – Graham John – Matt doesn’t sell houses, he finds homes.

Matthew Ryde - Owner of Graham John Estate Agency
Matthew Ryde – Owner of Graham John Estate Agency


  1. blosslyn

    One of my favourites, but as you say there are so many wonderful buildings, small and large…..but I would have to go for a church…..but even then I would be hard put to chose….so I like all of them:)

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