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Scotney Castle - National Trust

"Staycation"

sunny 19 °C

After the traumas of booking trips away and then having to cancel due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, we have begun to tailor our trip to the "staycation" system.

For us this means staying at home and heading out for day trips. Sometimes we take the dog, as long as the target is dog-friendly. It is amazing how many place are coming around to realising that there are a lot of dog owners in the country and they command a large budget. In these trying times, they need to maximise their income potential. Even when I don't have Reggie with me, I still think twice about going to a non dog-friendly site.

Heck, if I am not considered worthy of a visit with the dog, why would I be without him?

So this weekend we decided to go to the National Trust's site at Scotney Castle in Kent. It's not that far away across to the west of the county but with country lanes and two lane roads it is over an hour on the road.

To limit the number of visitors, the National Trust operates an online booking system for visitors. I booked for the 1130-1200 entry slot. Not too early to get up after working all week (some of us in the UK aren't furloughed and getting paid to sit at home all day!!) and to make the drive over there less pressured.

On arrival I missed the turn into the driveway and we ended up going into Lamberhurst before we could make a 180 turn! It looks a nice little village with some old houses from the 19th and early 20th centuries.

Once back on the right track we joined a queue to the check-in on the drive. usually, you just drive and park up and show your membership cards (or pay if non NT members). For Covid they have a check-in on the driveway with ample "abort" options for those not booked or arriving outside their booked time. We checked okay at 1140.

Parking was easy and there were volunteers marshalling us into spaces. I opted to park under a tree rather than a few vacant spaces to keep the car cooler for when we came back.

When we go for a trip like this we usually have a choice of leads for Reggie. He wears a harness in the car fitted to a short lead in a rear seat belt clip. I take this off and replace it with a sturdy collar. He can be very strong when he wants to be and his usual collar with tag looks too flimsy should he see a rabbit or a squirrel to chase! I also take a small bag with a water bottle and collapsible water bowl, plus a teat bag with his favourite treats. He loves gravy-bones!

First stop was the loo for Claire. Then we needed a coffee and as it was almost lunchtime we opted for a sausage roll each. I found somewhere to sit and Claire queued to get into the tea-room. For Covid the eat-in option is not available and the tables outside are set at socially distanced spaces apart. The sausage roll was very good, good meat and just about the right cooking time!

Then we set off for the garden. They have created a one way system and it means that what is usually the entrance and exit alongside the shop and tea-room is now just the exit. The entrance has moved around the corner. The main problem with this is that it is about 50 yards along the car-park exit road and so people and cars are pretty much mixed up, with cars coming behind you.

We made it anyway. Oddly, even though you have booked in along the driveway, you still book in again with membership cards. I assume this is because the first checkpoint really just checks names off?

We were in and following the one way. It seems that not everyone can either read or simply ignores the "no entry" signs painted and stuck on posts. They are all copies of common standard European road signs!

The main and old ruined castle is down a slope in a small valley and is surrounded by a moat. The new castle is more of a stately home and is by the tea rooms and shop. I expect from the design these were the stables in the past. The new castle is currently closed for Covid.

The "new" castle

The "new" castle

View from the path down from the entrance

View from the path down from the entrance

We followed the paths to the lower level and then the bridges over the moat become two way and then there is one way turn around the island where the castle is situated. In principle it worked very well.

Part of the castle is ruined and you can see that there was a large room now open to the air and made into a garden.

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One of the rooms that isn't ruined has been turned into an ice-cream parlour! Just about right after walking for some distance in the sun. No doggie ices here, although at some NT sites they do sell special dog ice-cream. Reggie happy to have a finger scoop from ours. he doesn't care what flavour. We avoid chocolate and the quantity is minimal anyway, plus it hardly gets tasted!

After that short break we headed around the loop to take up past the castle on the other side of the moat/lake. Here you can see the shape of the castle and see the magnificent surroundings.

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The walk back is another loop on what looks like a recently made path through the trees and back up to the new castle. All in all a really nice walk. Reggie seemed to get on with all the other dogs, and that is itself unusual. You can't like everyone you meet so why expect dogs to do so?

Claire had a look in the shop and I sat outside and waited for her to buy a plant for the garden. Then it was home, almost the reverse of the way we had driven over.

Now it's back to work and we can plan next weekend's staycation visit.

Posted by InvictaMoto 02:31 Archived in England Tagged national_trust scotney_castle Comments (0)

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