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Set within 120 acres of beautiful Kent countryside, Lullingstone Castle is one of England's oldest family estates, dating back to the time of Domesday.
The present Manor House and Gatehouse, which overlook a stunning 15-acre lake, were built in 1497 and have been home to the same family ever since. Both Henry VIII and Queen Anne are known to have been regular visitors. Hidden in the grounds, alongside the River Darent, visitors will also find "Queen Anne's" Bathhouse and an 18th century Ice House.
Lullingstone was home to the famous Silk Farm, established in the 1930s, which produced silk for Queen Elizabeth II's coronation robes and wedding dress. Lullingstone was also taken over by the British Army during World War Two and the fields behind the Gatehouse hosted a dummy airfield. Lullingstone also has an interesting involvement with lawn tennis, dating back to the 1870s when the rules for the game were drawn up here.
The World Garden
Established in 2005, the World Garden of Plants continues to grow and build year on year, adding rare and important botanical plants to its collection.
An example of the Dinosaur Tree (Wollemi Pine), the oldest tree in the world, is planted close to Ayers Rock (Uluru) in the Australian border.
The world's rarest Gum Tree, Eucalyptus morrisbyi, a graceful species that Tom collected in South East Tasmania in 1999, flowered for the first time at Lullingstone in 2009.
Penstemon ‘Crac’s Delight’, discovered by Tom in 1999 and named after his Granny, now blooms in Mexico.
Awaiting official recognition, the Dahlia 'Lullingstone Castle', a big pink-petaled, yellow-centred single flower, was discovered in the World Garden in 2009.
There are innumerable other horticultural delights for visitors to see, smell and touch, including the stinky Dog Pooh plant (Hoodia gordonii) the world's most dangerous plant, the Queensland Stinger (Dendrocnide moroides) and the hottest chilli - Dorset naga.