Groombridge Place - Enchanted Forest

Tunbridge Wells

Type:Garden

Groombridge Hill, Groombridge, Tunbridge Wells, Kent, TN3 9QG

Tel: 01892 347150

Groombridge Place - Enchanted Forest

About

The house standing today at Groombridge Place was built in 1662, replacing an earlier moated castle on the site. Much of the house, along with the bridges and moat gates, were designed by renowned architect Sir Christopher Wren who rebuilt London after the Great Fire and is most notable for redesigning St Pauls cathedral. The first recorded owner of a Manor at Groombridge was William Russell, a Baron, who was granted Lordship of the Manor in the early 1230s. Many different families have lived in the house since that time, including the Earls of Clinton and the Earls of Dorset. The most famous resident is Thomas Sackville, cousin of Elizabeth I and Lord High Treasurer of England from 1599 to 1608. The house as we see it today was rebuilt by Philip Packer, a Courtier of Charles II, who was also responsible for laying out the formal gardens. They were designed with help from renowned horticulturalist John Evelyn, and the grid layout has remained unchanged since it was first devised in the 1670s. 

The Groombridge Place Estate is approximately 250 acres and includes a canal, vineyard, arable farmland, and area of ancient woodland. The canal is a diversion of the river Grom (which flows from Tunbridge Wells to the Medway), created to feed the moat, and the village millpond. There was a working farm on the site until 1970, and the buildings in the courtyard area of the site- the restaurant, shop and office - are all original farm buildings, some dating back to the 1600s.  

The gardens, canal and forest have been open to the public since the 1990s. Groombridge Manor was voted loveliest House in the South East of England by readers of the Daily Telegraph and Country Life.

The Groombridge Place estate has connections with world-famous novelist Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, creator of detective Sherlock Holmes. Conan Doyle was good friends with the sisters Sophia, Louisa and Eliza Saint, who lived at Groombridge Place during the late 1800s. He visited the estate often, using it as the setting of his last Sherlock Holmes novel - ‘The Valley of Fear’-although renaming it ‘Birlstone Manor’ for the purposes of the book. The house and gardens were also used for the home of the Bennet family – Longbourn House in Jo Wrights 2005 film adaptation of Pride & Prejudice starring Keira Knightley. 

The stunning walled gardens are a place to relax and enjoy the peaceful setting.  There are benches to sit and admire the view of the moated manor house.  The White Rose Garden, which was formerly an orchard, sits in the centre of the gardens and spring bulbs in spring give way to white roses in June.   In the corner of the garden, you will find a wooden door which is the entrance to the secret garden.  The trickling sound of water can be heard as the stream pass over the rocks and into the moat beyond.  

Beautiful Peacocks now roam the estate which is also home to the UK Owl and Raptor Centre who entertain visitors each day with two informative and interactive Birds of Prey shows. 

After exploring the maze, take a walk along the canal path and past the delightful Zedonk ‘Harry’ and his companion ‘Bopatch’ the Shetland Pony. 

On a steep and wooded hillside, hidden from view, lies the magical Enchanted Forest where the huge oak trees have a surprise in store for visitors, as they are home to the giant tree swings which provide special memories for many visitors (opening summer 2022).    Younger visitors can discover all the wooden play areas including a pirate ship, fort, slide and walkways at Crusoe’s World.  Further into the forest is tepee village with a fort and a pathway which leads to the giant totem pole.   Near the top of the forest is the beautiful wishing pool with impressive large tree ferns.  Follow the path to the raised board walk with obstacles and a rope swing.  Here you are also likely to see the Fallow Deer which prefer the shade of the forest during the day. 

You can enjoy a relaxing journey on the canal boat between the gardens and Crusoe’s World.  Tickets are  £1.50 for adults and £1 for children from the admissions desk. 

In the distance you may see the Steam Trains on the Spa Valley Railway which arrives at Groombridge Station from Tunbridge Wells. 

Show your ticket from the Spa Valley Railway on the same day of travel to receive 10% off admission to Groombridge Place. 

Book Tickets

Guide Prices

Ticket TypeTicket Tariff
Adults£12.00 per ticket
Child£10.00 per ticket
Family/Friends of 4 (any age)£40.00 per ticket
Seniors£10.00 per ticket

Note: Prices are a guide only and may change on a daily basis.

Facilities

Accessibility

  • Guide Dogs Permitted
  • Parking Areas for Disabled Visitors
  • Ramp/Level Access
  • Wheelchair user accessible - partial

Catering

  • On-Site cafe/restaurant - Peacock Café and BBQ food at Crusoe’s World
  • Picnic Site

Establishment Features

  • Open Christmas - (see website for any Christmas events)
  • Toilets

Parking & Transport

  • Parking (free)

Payment Methods

  • American Express accepted
  • Approx length of visit - 2 hours to all day
  • Groups Accepted - Groups and schools should book in advance
  • MasterCard accepted
  • Solo accepted
  • Visa accepted

Specialist Features

  • Family Fun

TripAdvisor

Map & Directions

Road Directions

Directions to Groombridge Place: 

By Rail: London Charing Cross to Tunbridge Wells, then bus or taxi to Groombridge.   

Or Hastings to Tunbridge Wells, then bus or taxi to Groombridge 

Public Transport Directions

Groombridge Place is located in the village of Groombridge, 4 miles south west of Tunbridge Wells on the B2110, which is just off the A264 Tunbridge Wells/ East Grinstead road - on the Kent and East Sussex county border. 

By Road: From the M25: Exit at Junction 5 and head south on the A21. After 10 miles, exit at A26 signed Tunbridge Wells: then take A264 to East Grinstead and follow the signs to Groombridge village and Groombridge Place. 

Awards

  • Tourism South East Award -Tourism South East Member - Platinum Tourism South East Member - Platinum 2022

Opening Times

Groombridge Place - Enchanted Forest (1 Jan 2022 - 31 Dec 2022)

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