Come to Kentwell and celebrate the coming of the Spring!
May Day was always the most popular festival of the year - time to welcome in the better weather and celebrate. Step back into history and enjoy our event as we choose a may queen and prepare the may tree. Garlanding, processions and traditional entertainments, all accompanied by authentic, live music - it all happens right in front of you!
Everything takes place against the background of everyday Tudor life as about 150 volunteer Living Historians of all ages present daily life of the time: Archers, Alchemists, Bakers, Basketmakers, Chandlers, Cooks, Dairymaids, Dyers, Forge, Gentry, Limners, Ostlers, Potters, Victuallers and Woodmen are all going about their everyday business, while the Mummers and Players entertain us all.
There are also over thirty acres of gardens, woodland and farm to explore - abundant and alive with spring bulbs and blossom everywhere.
On the farm, see the lambs in the paddocks, the piglets, Comfrey the horse and the miniature shetland ponies.
All activities continue whatever the weather - there is lots to see and do.
An active, outdoor day out for explorers of all ages - a breath of fresh air for everyone!
We recommend you dress for the weather - our pathways can become a little muddy after prolonged rainy periods. However, this is great news for our younger visitors, as it means there are puddles galore!
Please pre-book your visit (any time up to 10.30am on the day of your visit) and please arrive in good time to get the most out of your visit. You are welcome to arrive at any time from the timeslot you book until our last entry at 1.30pm. The site will close at 5pm.
Please note that advance booking is essential as we will be strictly limiting numbers on site. We regret we will not be able to offer tickets to buy at the gate, as we cannot go above our maximum safe numbers. We ask that you pre-book so we have your full contact details.
If you are Season Ticket holders, or Historic Houses members, please also book your tickets on-line.
Virus Precautions: Visitors must use the map provided and observe current social distancing guidelines. Please follow the one-way route around the gardens. Rules and precautions for visitors are displayed on entry and on our handout/map. Please bring gloves and hand sanitiser, and wear lower face coverings if you choose.
Kentwell's Gardens provide a haven of tranquility and beauty in a challenging world. A feeling of naturalness and they are not over-manicured where visitors can lose themselves in the moment, The 16th C House and 15th C Moat House are not open (due to the virus) but are ever present. Their beauty and the usually still waters of the moats, disturbed only by fish and fowl, set the tone. There is an aura of timelessness created by the mellow red brick and the water of the extensive moats and the ancient trees from our 1000 year-old oak to a lawn guarded by England's most majestic Cedars.
There is also a strong sense of the past which is not surprising given that the Gardens have developed over six centuries and the keen eye will find elements from each. There's a sense of fun too; from the sculpted tree and courtyard maze to the yew castle and varied topiary, some of it truly massive, encountered throughout. Topiary here is not a constant dull green but has may hues and as many shapes. All the shaping is not green; the gnarled arms of the ancient espalier fruit trees, the hornbeam hedge of the magic circle or the long avenue of pyramidical lime trees all as striking bare as when in full leaf.
A twelve year-old boy recently volunteered after spending two hours in the Gardens, having been dragged here by a parent, that he was not bored for a moment. That's to be expected when the gardens are decorated with a different feeling during events, but he was describing a day without any. These are gardens to make you smile whatever your age.
Refreshments: we are pleased to offer light lunches and refreshments as a take-out service, for our visitors to enjoy outdoors. We have tea, coffee, cake and ice creams (ever optimistic!), as well as home-cooked savoury food. We also have a selection of cold drinks and bottled water.
Facilities: the loos near the Tea Garden area will be available for use, on a one-family-out/one-in basis. We ask all visitors to wash their hands upon entering as well as when leaving these facilities.
The Weather: we will open whatever the weather and your visit can certainly fill a rewarding few hours. Please dress appropriately for the weather! Kentwell has its own Met Office weather report - please click here to view it.
Accessibility: the majority of the gardens are accessible by wheelchair in good weather, via good pathways and firm, lawned or mown grass tracks.
Dogs: no dogs, except guide dogs, are permitted within the grounds.
Cancellations and refunds: Should Government action at any time cause us to close, we will, of course, refund any tickets purchased for any affected days. Otherwise, we operate a no-refunds policy. Tickets are not transferrable to other days, or to other events. Please always check our website before travelling, in case circumstances or Government Advice has changed.
Covid Precautions: we ask that everyone brings lower face coverings to wear in indoor areas such as our loos. We also suggest gloves are worn. Please bring your own hand sanitiser. Please do not attend if you are suffering from, or displaying any symptoms of, Coronavirus, or if you have recently been in contact with someone who has had symptoms or tested positive for Coronavirus.
Family Bubbles: While you are welcome to book as many tickets as you like, we ask that you remain in your family bubble, observing current social distancing spacing between groups.
Gardens Open - great for families!
Open Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays (apart from special event days) and daily during school holidays, 11am-3pm - Kentwell's gardens are a delight — a haven of peace and tranquillity in a busy world with naught but the birds to disturb you.
House and Gardens Open
Open Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays (apart from special event days) and daily during school holidays, 11am-3pm (House open 12noon-2.30pm). The House retains its Tudor layout but internal decorations are Georgian, mostly in the Gothick influence in a number of styles directed by the architect Thomas Hopper or more recent. Tearoom and Gift Shop open.
Garden Tour with Judith Phillips
Join Judith Phillips, Kentwell's Owner and Head Gardener, for a tour of Kentwell's Gardens, including the current project of a Classical Temple Rose Garden. Includes tea and cake.
Buildings Tour with Patrick Phillips
Join Patrick Phillips, Kentwell's Owner, for a tour of Kentwell's buildings to cover works to the House and Moat House as well as the numerous Tudor-style buildings he has created. Includes drinks afterwards.
The Tudor Manor (June)
For a family day out with a difference, visit the manor lost in time - step back to the year 1599, to the time of Queen Elizabeth I.
Stay in touch
So much to discover
With so much to experience and explore, we invite you to sign up to our newsletter in order to receive updates of new and upcoming events, early bird tickets, special offers and more.
Thank you for subscribing to our newsletter.
Tickets & prices
Booking for this event is currently unavailable.