Seeking springtime spectacles at Toys Hill and Emmetts Garden. With the arrival of April showers comes an abundance of spring flowers, alive with colour and vibrancy. We can think of nowhere better to experience nature’s spring treasures than meandering through acres of woodland gardens and Kentish countryside. This month, embark on this circular ramble from Toys Hill to Emmetts Garden, where carpets of bluebells, blossoming magnolias and beds of tulips await.

The Route:

Our 2.5 mile adventure begins from the small car park in Toys Hill. Facing the road, turn right along the pavement before crossing over and joining the path opposite.

Follow it round to the left until you reach a junction with five paths meeting. Go straight on along the wide, level track. Soon, at a waymark post, bear left downhill between trees, passing through a wooden gate.

At the next waymark, turn left again, walking through lush woodland.

Emerge onto a wide crossing track and go straight over, joining the footpath ahead.

Pass through another gate and you’ll arrive on the edge of Emmetts Garden, beside the tea room. Here, turn left, following the public footpath with sprawling gardens left and right. Descend towards the picturesque wildflower meadow then turn sharp right down a tree-lined private drive leading to South Lodge.

On meeting a road, cross straight over, continuing ahead along a public footpath into the chocolate-box village of Ide Hill.

Carefully join the road, turning right to wander uphill through the village, past cottages and a school. Just before the village green, either continue straight ahead or take a brief detour left to visit Octavia Hill’s memorial bench, overlooking the Weald.

Leaving Ide Hill, pass between woodland and a field along a fenced path. Go through two metal gates then slowly ascend the slope ahead, with a mighty oak standing solitary in the field away to your right.

Over a footbridge and stream, follow field edges round to meet another junction of paths. Here, bear right, soon passing a bench on your left.

When paths cross, take the right fork, winding steadily uphill. At the next junction, continue straight on. Before long, you’ll emerge back at the very first five-path meeting point.

Take the second exit, retracing initial steps back down the wide track to Chart Lane. Cross carefully and enter the Toys Hill car park, concluding your springtime wander through Kent’s peaceful pockets.

Great British Life: The tulip meadow comes alive from mid-April, when over 7,000 tulip bulbs bloom amongst the flowering cherry treesThe tulip meadow comes alive from mid-April, when over 7,000 tulip bulbs bloom amongst the flowering cherry trees (Image: Getty)

Steps, stats & stiles:

You should allow an hour and twenty minutes for this 2.5 mile countryside meander, with no stiles or steep steps along the route. Family-friendly throughout, be sure to keep dogs on leads when walking through farmland and Emmetts Garden.

Look out for English bluebells in April and early May, carpeting woodland floors in vibrant blue, as well as camellias, azaleas and rhododendrons adding pops of pinks and purples. In the Rock Garden at Emmetts, flowering bulbs like miniature irises, anemones and grape hyacinths adorn the landscape.

The tulip meadow comes alive from mid-April, when over 7,000 tulip bulbs bloom amongst the flowering cherry trees. Seek out the handkerchief tree too, named for its white spring bracts, giving the appearance of hanging handkerchiefs.

Perfectly-placed refuel spot:

With hungry bellies and thirsty throats from all that fresh spring air, make time for tea and cake at Emmetts Garden’s Coach House Tea Room. Serving hot and cold refreshments until 5pm daily (4:30pm in winter), the views from its terrace are superb.

Bring the outdoors home:

For green-fingered guests wishing to cultivate a little spring spectacle back home, Emmetts Garden has its very own plant centre, open daily. Here you’ll find a fabulous selection of trees, shrubs and bedding plants available to purchase.

Make a day of it:

Extend your garden adventures by delving deeper into Emmetts itself. Consisting of two parts, the north and south gardens offer different vistas, divided by the public footpath. Lose yourself amid winding woodland paths, trickling streams and tranquil ponds. Look out for enchanting garden features too, from a rock garden and lime tree avenue, to an alpine slope and grassed amphitheatre.

Discovery Tickets allow access to all areas of the garden, including secluded sylvan spots usually out of bounds. Visit the National Trust website to book. Entry costs apply.

Route followed:

Our route takes its lead from the National Trust’s Toys Hill and Emmetts Garden Circular Walk, beginning and ending at Toys Hill car park.To view full details, visit:

We hope this springtime ramble has awakened your senses to nature’s floral masterpieces. Just remember to appreciate it in moderation, staying on the paths to protect precious petals underfoot.