Hall Place first came to my attention whilst searching for a garden to visit in the Sidcup area. Oddly, their website, whilst promoting all manner of family days out and a brief history of the Tudor manor house, gives no information on the garden other than the carrot of a photograph depicting curiously shaped topiary. This was enough to spark an interest so we popped in to see if the garden showed any more promise.
Managed by the Bexley Heritage Trust, the Tudor house, dating from 1540 is set amidst gardens betwixt a busy main road and the (slightly less busy) river Cray. Open to the public for a donation, the majority of visitors were families with children letting off steam beside the water.
GLORIOUS TOPIARY, A KNOT GARDEN AND MORE
The garden appears to be laid out in a series of enclosures. The aforementioned topiary, depicting ‘The Kings’s Beasts’ is a delight, and from here, steps lead to a terrace with wide herbaceous border planted with a great deal of Nepeta ‘Six Hills Giant’, Iris and Sisyrinchium striatum. Beyond, a yew-hedged walkway is planted with box enclosures, each housing ubiquitous bedding. The herbaceous border planting is echoed in further beds nearer the house which in turn lead down to the river.
A herb knot garden was sadly closed off due to ‘heavy footfall’ and it was clear from the well-trodden walkways that the lawns were suffering from damage through sheer volume of visitors. Further notices around the topiary revealed that the ground was so compacted that it potentially endangered the ‘King’s Beasts’ which would be a pity since they are certainly the main attraction in this garden.