Ightham Mote House
When you walk through Ightham Mote, you take a journey back 700 years. Open to the public, National Trust, owner of the property, calls the manor home a “living blog,” as different areas of the home represent the changing needs of its owners. Whether you visit alone, with a friend or a big group of people, you leave the modern world behind the moment you walk through the door.
What to Expect When You Tour the Ightham Mote Manor
With its tall chimneys and timbered façade, Ightham Mote is an idyllic historic manor home. The property passed through the hands of many before falling under the ownership of the National Trust, including sheriffs, squires, parliament members and courtiers.
The tour starts in the in the courtyard, where guests take a circular route to explore the home. Be on the lookout for the wood kennel and the gigantic stone, both of which date back to the Victorian era.
The kennel is so elaborate and detailed, it’s been classified as its own Grade I building.
After walking through the entrance tower, you’ll come to the Great Hall, a room that dates back to the 1300s. Richard Haute added the hall’s spectacular window in the late 1400s. The Great Hall is framed in Tudor barge boards which are intricately detailed with carvings of vines, leaves and royal Tudor symbols.
Richard Clement, who purchased the manor in 1521, went to great lengths to show his devotion to Henry VIII, but sadly, the king never visited the home.
Intricate wood carvings can be found all throughout the manor home, but the carvings on the staircase are especially stunning.
The drawing room features a larger-than-life Jacobean fireplace adorned with Saracen heads in black and gold.
Throughout the tour, you’ll travel past rooms of former servants, including the Butler’s Pantry and Housekeeper’s Room, and down into the 14th-century crypts under the home.
Explore the manor’s two chapels: one built above the crypt, and one built later in 1480s. Don’t miss the exquisite 16th century Spanish cross in the new chapel and the painted barrel-vaulted ceiling. The Tudor royal family left its mark on the chapel’s ceiling, with depictions of red roses, the Beaufort family crest and Catherine of Aragon’s castle, Henry VIII’s first wife.
To the West, look for the line of half-timbered cottages that date back to the late 1400s. These charming homes were used as staff quarters in the Victorian era.
No visit to Ightham Mote is complete without a visit to the home’s gardens. A formal garden can be found near the home with paths that whisk you away to the informal gardens, with an orchard, lakes, woodland walks and water features.
Take a journey on one of three estate walks and take in the stunning views of the Kent countryside. A true feast for the eyes, the gardens are where wildflowers add bursts of vibrant color in the summer and give way to vibrant autumn colors ahead of the winter season.
Once you’ve completed your journey through time (and the home), you can end the day with a meal at the Mote Restaurant and purchase souvenirs from the National Trust shop. All profits help support the charity’s work.
Free Talks and Tours
During your visit to Ightham Mote, take advantage of one of the many complimentary talks and tours from helpful, knowledgeable volunteers.
Introductory talks take place every hour starting at 11:30am, and last about 15 minutes. During this talk, you’ll learn more about the background and history of the manor.
The tower tour will take you to the top of the tower where you can enjoy spectacular views of the gardens. The garden tour will take you on a journey throughout the gardens, including the South Lake.
Group Tours of Ightham Mote
Planning a group visit to Ightham Mote? Groups of 15 or more can enjoy discounted admission prices and free coach parking when tickets are purchased in advance.
Guided tours are also available for groups. A knowledgeable guide will walk you through the home before the manor even opens to the public. During your journey, you will learn more about the history of the home and its secrets. Guided tours must be booked in advance.
Ightham Mote is truly a special place that showcases the changing fashions throughout history, as each owner of the manor allowed new to mix with the old. From the intricately carved wooden beams to the magnificent window in the Great Hall and lavish gardens, there’s much to see and explore in this 14th century manor home.