Chiddingstone Castle is a unique house full of fascinating artefacts and surrounded by beautiful grounds, set in 35 acres of informal gardens. It originates in the 1550s when High Street House (as the castle was known) was home to the Streatfeild family. The present building dates back to 1805 when Henry Streatfeild extended and re-modelled his ancestral home in the then-fashionable 'castle style'. Rescued from dereliction in 1955 by the gifted antiquary Denys Eyre Bower, the castle housed his collections of Japanese Samurai armour, swords and lacquer, Egyptian antiquities, Buddhist artefacts, Stuart paintings and Jacobite manuscripts. Visitors can visit Bower's study and learn of his eccentric and complicated life, which featured a notorious scandal. Further exhibition rooms showing the Victorian history of the castle are also open - kitchen, scullery, housekeeper's room, servants hall and (via the back stairs) the servants bedroom in the attic.
Facilities – at a glance
Suitable for all child ages
- Parking onsite
- No lift to exhibitions on the 1st floor
- Facilities: Ramps, wheelchairs, large print menus, interpretations of exhibitions, main exhibition on ground floor
- Accessible toilets
- Opening Times: Open Apr-Oct, Sun-Wed and BHs 11-5 (last admission 4.15). Grounds may close for private functions
Also in the area
About the area
The White Cliffs of Dover are an English icon – the epitome of our island heritage and sense of nationhood. They also mark the point where the Kent Downs AONB, that great arc of chalk downland stretching from the Surrey Hills and sometimes known as ‘the Garden of England’, finally reaches the sea. This is a well-ordered and settled landscape, where chalk and greensand escarpments look down into the wooded Weald to the south.
Many historic parklands, including Knole Park and Sir Winston Churchill’s red-brick former home at Chartwell, are also worth visiting. Attractive settlements such as Charing, site of Archbishop Cranmer’s Tudor palace, and Chilham, with its magnificent half-timbered buildings and 17th-century castle built on a Norman site, can be found on the Pilgrim’s Way, the traditional route for Canterbury-bound pilgrims in the Middle Ages.
In the nature reserves, such as the traditionally coppiced woodlands of Denge Wood and Earley Wood, and the ancient fine chalk woodland of Yockletts Bank high on the North Downs near Ashford, it is still possible to experience the atmosphere of wilderness that must have been felt by the earliest travellers along this ancient ridgeway.
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