|Sissinghurst Castle gardens.|
WSJ, June 12, 2015
On a recent tour of English gardens, a friend and I visited Sissinghurst Castle, a 90-minute drive south of London. Home of writer Vita Sackville-West and politician-writer Harold Nicolson, the site is today run by the U.K.’s National Trust (nationaltrust.org.uk). Rather than leave at day’s end, we spent the night at the Sissinghurst Castle Farmhouse, where we took afternoon tea before returning to have the garden almost to ourselves. In the morning, we strolled the grounds again then ate breakfast in a dining room decorated, appropriately, with bouquets of yellow daffodils (from about $230 for two including tea and breakfast, Cranbrook, Kent, sissinghurstcastlefarmhouse.com).
|Charleston was a retreat for the Bloomsbury Group.|
An hour’s drive southwest of Sissinghurst, Charleston was Virginia Woolf’s sister Vanessa Bell’s country retreat until 1961. Set amid chalk hillsides in what is now the South Downs National Park, it was a sanctuary for the Bloomsbury Group and opens onto a garden filled with sculptures and flowers that inspired paintings by Ms. Bell and her lifelong companion Duncan Grant (Lewes, East Sussex, charleston.org.uk). Stay nearby at Cobbe Place Barn, the former home and pottery workshops of Ms. Woolf’s nephew and biographer Quentin Bell (from about $170 for two with breakfast, bluedoorbarns.com).
For other well-known English gardens in the counties south and west of London, with lodgings on-site or nearby, see full article: http://www.wsj.com/articles/7-ways-to-spend-the-night-in-a-classic-english-garden-1434140180