Hidden away in the High Weald, spanning Kent and Surrey, is a perfect jewel box of a garden, the kind of garden you dream of having a wander around, where there’s delicious rose walks, wild and tangled woodsides, hills with perfect views across the surrounding countryside, den building for kids, sculptures, a yeti…
Hang on – a yeti? In Kent? Yes, there’s a yeti at Riverhill Himalayan Gardens, who – if you’re really lucky – you might spot creeping through the trees, trying to escape from prying eyes.
If it sounds fantastical – well, that’s because it is. Riverhill is a true phoenix from the flames, a place that was out of time, lost to the ages. In 2010, it was the subject of an episode of Country House Rescue, the TV show with hotelier Ruth Watson, and that sparked a renaissance at Riverhill. The gardens were renovated and restored, the walled gardens returned to life, the cafe turned into a delicious little haven of peace and good food.
It’s all so well thought out, that’s the thing. You can borrow wellies if the garden is muddy and you’ve forgotten yours. If it’s chilly, there are blankets you can wrap yourself in when you’re sat outside. You can take picnics into the grassy nooks and sit and enjoy the peace on a warm day. Kids can run riot in the adventure playground. Dogs are welcomed. It’s delightful.
We went on a warm, overcast September day, where the gardens were quiet and we had the hedge maze to ourselves. It was a perfect escape from noisy London; the only sounds were the wind in the trees and the far-off shouts of kids playing in the field below. We ate lunch and then walked it off by climbing 'Little Everest' in the grounds. A perfect afternoon away from the city.
Note: Riverhill Himalayan Gardens is closed for Autumn/Winter and will reopen in the Spring of 2019