Groombridge Place - Travel there by train with combined tickets!
Discover the beautiful award-winning gardens and the forest with its giant swings, zip wires and Crusoe’s World and get there by Steam or Heritage Diesel train!
We offer joint tickets with Groombridge Place so you can even leave the car at home if coming via Southern to Eridge. Leave the Southern train at Eridge and cross the footbridge to board a Spa Valley Railway train. On a Green timetabled day depart at 11:10 and arrive at Groombridge at 11:24.
After a gentle stroll to Groombridge Place you can spend a good few hours visiting all they have to offer before boarding our 16:31 returning service to Eridge Station or, if you return to Groombridge Station early enough (for our 15:46 train) your ticket will allow you to travel to Tunbridge Wells West before heading back to Eridge, this service also being Steam hauled!
Combined tickets which allow you a journey over the whole of the Spa Valley Railway and entry to Groombridge Place are just £17.95 for Adults, £15.50 for Seniors and £12.00 for Children! You can book these tickets by clicking here.
What to see at Groombridge Place?
The Knot Garden
Boasting a wonderful display of tulips. In summer the two colour contrast is maintained using different planting schemes each year. The Giant Chessboard opposite the Knot Garden will entertain visitors of all ages.
The central pathway through the gardens leads along the Apostle Walk, bordered on each side by 12 drum yews, thought to have survived from the original planting in 1674.
The open door in the wall by the edge of the moat leads to The Secret Garden, a tiny hidden corner where the waters of the stream feed the moat. In spring the pink blossom of the cherry tree overhang the azaleas and late flowering snowdrop candelabra primulas. In late May the garden is garlanded with laburnum. On hot summer days the deep shade and cooling waters make the Secret Garden a reflective oasis.
The Secret Garden
The Secret Garden, which is sited in the corner of the gardens and reached by opening a thick wooden door, has recently benefitted from a renovation project which has seen extensive new planting which includes beautiful blue agapanthus, foxgloves and gazania. The streams which give the garden a cool feel, tumble down rocks into the moat, which surrounds the historic manor house. A bridge has also been restored and wooden seating added.
Many areas of the gardens have some interesting histories attached to them and the Secret Garden is no exception. Philip Packer, who was a courtier to Charles II and a friend to Christopher Wren, rebuilt Groombridge with Wren’s help in 1662 and it was here in the secret garden, said to be his favourite garden, that he died while reading a book in the sunshine on Christmas Eve in 1686.
Philip Packer also laid out the gardens surrounding Groombridge Place from 1674 with the help of horticulturalist and famous diarist John Evelyn who designed a series of formal gardens arranged as "outside rooms" of the house. The idea was to blur the boundary between indoors and outdoors which is a theme which became popular again in the twentieth century. Some of Evelyn's garden rooms at Groombridge also pre-empted modern design in creating an artfully "natural" landscape. The Secret Garden is the best example.
The White Rose Garden
Commemorating the 200 year ownership of the estate by the Waller family and is a celebration of the art of planting in shades of white; featuring over twenty varieties of white rose. Other white-flowering plants provide season-long beauty, including foxtail lilies, primulas, tulips, peonies, poppies, hyacinths and lavender.
The Peacock Walk is planted with a variety of shrubs, including rhododendrons, viburnum, aucuba and azalea. The garden wall is a favourite roosting place for the Groombridge peacocks.
One of the garden highlights is the herbaceous border planted with clematis and a rich collection of traditional English perennials, including asters, cynara, rudbeckia, salvias and hollyhocks. In spring the focus is on tulips and primulas.
The Oriental Garden
Zinging with vibrant hot colours, shaded by magnificent Japanese maples and has a new, very unusual, grass fountain at its centre.
The Drunken Garden
A favourite of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle has a blue and yellow theme, with veronica, clematis, ceanothus and lilies.
A white mulberry tree, planted in 1993 marks Groombridge’s connection with the smuggling trade. Early in the year there are spring bulbs and primroses, a beautiful magnolia stellata and a variety of azaleas. In summer the ornamental trees and shrubs provide a striking display of contrasting leaf colours, from deep copper to lime green.
Crusoe’s World was inspired by TV series Crusoe. Original props from this TV series were reconstructed at Groombridge Place.
Two tree houses are linked together with rope bridges and a central viewing tower. They are on several levels with decking and platforms, sheltered under sail roofs. There is a lookout post high above one of the tree houses, providing fabulous views over the canal, open countryside and also even our trains on the Spa Valley Railway!
Take a walk along the forest pathways with its lakes and hidden surprises along the way. Look out for the Fallow deer, squirrels and other wildlife. Discover the tepees and the fort before taking the ‘Boardwalk Challenge’ with its aerial walkways, tunnels, rope swings and child’s zip wire. Children and adults alike will enjoy the giant tree swings which are suspended from the tallest trees in the forest.