Expanding and enhancing the visitor experience at a unique heritage location
Project: Scotney Castle
Location: Kent, UK
Client: National Trust
Project Team: HTA Design LLP, DGC Historic Buildings Consultants, Harper LLP, Furness Consulting Engineers, Furness Green, GTA Civils, Urban Forestry, The Living Forest Arboricultural Consultants, The Ecology Co-Operative
Timescale: Planning permission in 2023, planned completion 2025
Size: Visitor Centre 300 m2, Visitor Hub 375 m2, Entire Estate 315 Ha

The Scotney Castle project is a collaboration between Tate+Co and the Landscape Architects HTA Design. Once complete, it will create a new visitor entrance and experience across the Scotney Castle site, a William Gilpin designed garden regarded as the birthplace of the Picturesque movement.

The scheme includes a rearrangement of the car park, vehicular and pedestrian movements. A new entrance building will provide clear visitor orientation on arrival and will facilitate a new visitor flow to align with the historic entrance route to the site. A series of play structures set within the existing landscape will encourage a playful interaction with the history of the house and garden.

Alongside this, a refurbished visitor food and beverage hub will give the site the ability to serve its anticipated increased 325,000 visitors per year.

The Scotney Castle site is of extreme historic significance and is set in the High Weald AONB, so we worked carefully with HTA Design, the Trust, Historic England and the Local Planning Authority Tunbridge Wells to develop a scheme that made the most of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. By pulling vehicles and parking away from the main house we will allow a reinstatement of historic landscape features such as an orchard which had previously been removed. This also allows additional opportunities for new landscape, play and biodiverse features as well as promoting wider visitor access across the estate and thereby reducing pressure on the historic core of the garden.

The beautiful overhead sketch view on this page is reproduced courtesy of HTA Design.

We obtained planning permission in 2023 and are very much looking forward to delivering this project. We believe it will dramatically improve the visitor experience at this unique site.”