Lovely lavender, as far as the eye can see. Swaying in the breeze. Just outside London, lies the beautiful fragrant fields of Castle Farm and The Hop Shop. A burst of purple and scent amid the rolling green fields of the UK’s Kentish countryside.
How to get there
There are a few different train routes to nearby stations. One of the easiest is to take a train from London Bridge, and about half an hour later, you’ll find yourself in the green and leafy area of Sevenoaks. From here, it’s just a short taxi ride (less than 15 mins) to the farm which is located by the village of Shoreham.
A little bit of history
Castle Farm was founded by the Alexander family in 1892, who brought cattle down from Scotland and moved to Kent. Although the focus has shifted over the centuries, the same family still run the farm, producing crops of lavender as well as hops.
Take the tour
You can join a tour to find out the difference between lavender and lavandin and its uses, from relaxing pillow mists to uplifting tea infusions. Each tour takes just over an hour and you’ll also visit the very fragrant distillery area to discover how the essential oils are extracted.
Then, you can shop for lavender bags, souvenirs and baked treats in the farm shop, The Hop Shop. Make sure you try the delicately-flavoured, buttery lavender shortbread.
A fleeting flourish
If you’d like to lose yourself in the purple haze of the lavender fields though, be quick. Although they seem to stretch on forever, they don’t actually last forever. The season only runs for about a month. The lavender tours will until the end of July, by which time all the vibrant blooms will have been harvested away and carefully trimmed, ready for next summer.
Castle Farm tours: £8.50 weekday / £7.50 weekend (available during lavender, hops, apple and pumpkin seasons at different times of year).
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