A Sunday Walk at Sissinghurst

On Sunday we went for a walk around the Sissinghurst castle gardens and surrounding estate. We go there now and then, as it’s fairly close to where we live, and it’s a great place to hang out for some fresh air and a fix of nature’s glories.

At the moment their is some work being done to parts of the buildings as well as the gardens, so if you haven’t got a National Trust card I’d recommend that you delay your visit until they’ve finished the maintenance,ย which is expected to be done in April, or at least until the garden is fully open, which will be from mid March onwards.

A Sunday Walk at Sissinghurst Castle Gardens, National Trust - Sensational Learning with Penguin. Looking for something to do on Days Out in Kent or East Sussex? We really enjoy this place! #nature #photography #learning #autistic #exploretolearn

Apart from the castle gardens and the buildings within it, there’s a little shop, a restaurant, a vegetable garden and an orchard. Surrounding the castle gardens are fields with sheep and pigs, as well as forest areas and a couple of small lakes.

There’s also an oast house which is being used for (small) exhibitions. On our previous visit they were showing Bagpuss, Clangers & co, but that had now been replaced by the newly openedย International Garden Photographer of the Year exhibition. There were some truly stunning photographs there, and the gardeners had created some amazing displays using dried flowers and other plant parts, to decorate the rooms. As usual, Penguin walked through the exhibition at high pace, so ย there was no time to stand around contemplating the images… but I got hime to go around it twice, to give me a better chance to take it all in. When he was younger I would have been worried that he’d feel the need to touch e v e r y t h i n g. But that need seems to have decreased significantly lately, making this kind of event much less stressful than it used to be. Whether it’s a temporary change or permanent will be for time to tell.

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We went on to have a quick look around the open parts of the garden, and it was lovely to see some early spring flowers. I’d like to teach Penguin more about flowers, but it’s not something he’s taken an interest in, yet. Hopefully I can get him involved in a bit of gardening soon, though he’d probably rather grow carrots than crocus.

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We also had a look in the shop, which always has lots of lovely things in it; books, toys, knitwear, blankets, garden ornaments, ciders and other drinks, jams, sweets, cups and teapots etc. We didn’t buy anything though, as we’re on a pretty strict budget.

Penguin decided that we should head over to the vegetable garden and orchard next. I told him there probably wouldn’t be much growing there at this time of year, and there wasn’t, but we still had a look around and talked about soil, fertalisers etc. The only thing growing there at the moment was the rhubarb, some of which was covered with traditional terracotta forcers to limit photosynthesis and promote early growth.

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We also had a look at a bug hotel which they’d put up in a corner of the vegetable garden, before we went back past the moat around the gardens, heading for the lakes in the forest areas.

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The green moat…
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…and one of the lakes. I got Penguin to pause and look by asking him to take a picture.
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There was a faint haze and a lovely smell of wood burning, from somewhere in the forest.
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Who do you think might be living here…?

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This is probably our most favourite thing at Sissinghurst: A water feature of steps, where you can jump across the flowing water (and don’t worry, Daddy Penguin is right behind him there, to help if need be).

Penguin wasn’t very keen to leave those steps. I told him to take a picture of them so he could still look at them at home, until our next visit. So here’s his photo of them:

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After a fairly long and very muddy walk through the forest, we got out into the field leading back up to the car park. There are usually sheep wandering about there, but this time it was empty. Just us and the big oak trees…

IMG_2195IMG_2196IMG_2197…and the mud ๐Ÿ™‚

Heading back to the car, sweaty from the walk and the sun shining down, it really felt like spring, and Penguin even took his jacket off.

On the way home, we passed a couple of horses out for a ride. I hope we can take up riding with Penguin again soon. He used to go riding quite regularly when he was at pre-school, but the last couple of times we tried he wouldn’t accept wearing a helmet. It’s clearly a sensory thing, and we’ll have to work on that one… I think he would love to get back in the saddle!

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80 thoughts on “A Sunday Walk at Sissinghurst

  1. What a lovely way to spend the day. We have been on a few nice walks over the past few weeks and you can see the signs of Spring coming. We have loads of snowdrops and daffs coming out in the garden.

    Glad to hear Penguin enjoyed his day ๐Ÿ™‚

    Thanks so much for sharing with #MMBC. Have a lovely week x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much! England is such a beautiful place (though the Netherlands don’t look to bad either ๐Ÿ˜‰๐Ÿ“ธ). Interesting to hear that your son too likes to walk quickly through places. I think the relaxing effect of endorphins etc which are released in connection with physical exercise (proprioceptive input etc) is a great thing for most of us, and probably even more so for persons with heightened stress levels and/or anxiety, as is common in autism ๐Ÿ’—

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    1. Yes… We usually walk up and down the paths through the different parts of the gardens, at a much higher pace than I’d do if I was on my own (I’d be reading all the plant names, take photos, sniff and feel all the flowers and leafs etc โ˜บ๏ธ). But we usually stop at the old well, plus at least one more place, to sit down and digest the impressions. And then we go roaming around on the surrounding estate etc before going home. Maybe you can find ways to lure your kids along and make it exciting for them too? They usually have some activity sheets for kids there, or you could make your own and bring. And they’ve got a den-building area now, which I think is pretty cool ๐Ÿ™‚xx

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  2. I enjoyed walking with you and seeing the birds, trees, garden and the beautiful photo exhibit. If I lived in the UK, I’d have a National Trust card and spend lots of time visiting places. #PoCoLo

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  3. What a wonderful place to be able to explore with Penguin, I bet he loves the open spaces there to explore. I love the way you manage to get him to pause and take in a scene by taking photos, such a brilliant way, and he’s really got the eye for it too! I can’t wait to see more of your sensory exploration with Penguin soon.

    Thanks for linking up with me on #CountryKids.

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  4. I love Sissinghurst – we’ve been there just twice, but both visits have been spectacular (even if the first one was in the pouring rain!) We clearly need to explore the grounds a bit more thoroughly though, because we’ve never found those steps – they look wonderful! And what a lovely photo your little boy took of it too – I hope he enjoys looking back at it until your next visit. Thanks for joining us at #SharingtheBlogLove

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  5. Such a lovely place and the weather is really nice few days ago isnt it!

    One thing that my son and I share is our love of horses. We dont have a horse but we dream of owning them! There are policemen and women here who rides them and we might be following them where ever they go as long as we can =P

    #countrykids

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  6. Oh I love exploring Sissinghurst! I used to live in Biddenden and would often walk around the ponds. I havenโ€™t been for years…but your post has just made me realise I must take my kids there! Thank you. #CountryKids

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    1. Thank you Sarah! It was on my list too for a loooong time before finally making it there โ˜บ๏ธ Lucky to be living not too far away now, so that we can visit it now and then. It’s a lovely place ๐ŸŒท๐ŸŒฟx

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  7. RIght we will be visiting Sissinghurst this spring! My lot would LOVE those steps and it’s definitely driving distance from us – it will make a change from Emmetts and Igtham! Love the pics and your narrative of the day. Such a nice idea to get Penguin to take a pic of the steps to have at home. #thesatsesh xx

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  8. Aww.. bless Penguin. Sissinghurst seem like a lovely place to visit. I love the stepping stone feature. I like that you have given Penguin the camera and taken those beautiful photos. He must be so chuffed with the results. I think he has some skills there. Perhaps, its time to give him his own camera? ๐Ÿ™‚ xx

    Thank you very much for linking up with us on #ExplorerKids

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  9. Children seem to go through phases. It’s great that you were able to take in some of the exhibition and here’s hoping that your child will get back to enjoying riding again. The bond between animals and people is a wonderful one. #SharingtheBlogLove

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  10. What a beautiful place for a Sunday walk and how lovely to see the spring flowers appearing. It’s nice when you can go around an exhibition without worrying about children touching things even if you don’t get time to really take it in. Those steps across the water look like fun – my girls would love those too. #countrykids

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  11. Sissinghurst looks an amazing place to explore and your photos are lovely. My kids would love the big trees, open spaces and the steps across the water. #AdventureCalling

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  12. I discovered Sissinghurst for the first time when I was on Mat leave and fell in love with it. Although its not very buggy friendly but thankfully he was still young enough to go in the sling. We didnt stray past the formal gardens or the buildings so never made it to the stepping stones. My eldest would love those so a good excuse to go back #CountryKids

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  13. I really enjoyed this and the photos you and Penguin took are beautiful. Sissinghurst is definitely on our list to visit, the children love exploring NT properties, one of our favourites is Bateman’s, the Rudyard Kipling house and gardens. They always seem to discover something new each time we go and the volunteers seem to have so much time for the children. I love how in tune with Penguin’s needs you are, with the idea of taking a photo to keep the enjoyment of the water bridge going for him, I think it really reaffirms for me how parents can be such great facilitators of learning for their children when they understand their needs so intricately.

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    1. Thank you! ๐Ÿค—
      I think you’ll love the gardens and surrounding estate at Sissinghurst when you go there. We’ve been to Bateman’s too (it might actually feature in a post I’m thinking of writing today/tomorrow, if things go as planned…) and it’s a great place, too! We really liked the old mill, and the little lake by it (with lots of frogs in!), as well as the pond by the house, and, well, all of it really ๐Ÿ˜Š
      And yes, being in tune as you say really makes a powerful difference! xx

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  14. It looks and sounds like you had a lovely day. Great advice about holding off visiting until April until all the building work has been completed. Thanks for linking up to #adventurecalling. I hope you can again when we open for more posts tomorrow morning.

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    1. Thank you! The latest update from Sissinghurst say the towers are to be open again from 17 March. I’m sure Easter would be an amazing time to visit, as long as the weather is decent ๐Ÿ™‚ If you won’t mind another National Trust post (I’m not sponsored, lol) then I’ll be happy to join in again tomorrow ๐Ÿ‘

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