Artistic Retreats & Enchanting Gardens of the South Coast

May 10 - 16, 2015

The mercurial 20th century was a prolific period for artists and writers, many of whom found refuge from the busy, modern world in the rural idylls of Sussex and Kent. Here we explore the architectural styles and interiors of the places they called home, from Medieval, Tudor and Art Deco to the Arts and Crafts Movement and the oeuvre of the Bloomsbury group.

Study Leader Information

We immerse ourselves in each area with private tours, special welcomes, and an evening lecture on our theme from an eminent historian

Tour Itinerary

May 10 - flights will need to depart the US on May 9
On arrival at Heathrow airport, a private transfer will take you to our overnight Woodlands Park Hotel. Join the group for a welcome drink, followed by dinner.

May 11 - Travel to Eltham Palace where we join a guided tour. Visit the nearby Ranger’s House. Located on the edge of Greenwich Park. We continue on to Buxted Park Hotel.

May 12 - See Great Dixter, home of gardener and gardening writer Christopher Lloyd. Enjoy a private guided tour of the famous gardens. This is followed by a visit to Sissinghurst Castle Garden in the Kent countryside. Created in the 1930s by novelist Vita Sackville-West and her husband Harold Nicolson, these world-famous gardens are laid out as a series of enchanting, individually-planted ‘rooms’ including a fragrant Herb Garden and Rose Garden.

May 13 - Visit to 17th century Bateman’s. We enjoy a guided garden tour through the herb border to the orchard, formal garden and the lovely wildflower meadow. See the charming Georgian spa town of Royal Tunbridge Wells by a guided walking tour.

May 14 - We visit Charleston, were we’re treated to a lecture as well as a private tour of the house From here, we continue on to Firle Place, seat of the Gage family for over 500 years, where we enjoy a two-course lunch before our private tour. We make a stop at Monk’s House, the small country retreat of novelist Virginia Woolf, where she created her best-known works.

May 15 - Standen is the finest Arts and Crafts property in the care of the National Trust. We will enjoy a specialist Arts and Crafts tour. From here we travel back to Woodlands Park Hotel, where we enjoy a farewell dinner.

May 16 - A private transfer will take you back to Heathrow airport for your return flight home.


To reserve by credit card, please call 888-484-8785; to reserve online, please fill out our reservation form. View our terms and conditions.


Please email National Trust Tours for questions about this program. Be sure to include your mailing address if you are requesting a paper copy of the brochure for this program.