We continued through the countryside in Kent, and came across another great estate, Penshurst Place, surrounded by ancient parkland.  I had read about this grand building, parts of which dated back to the 14th century.  The halls and rooms were incredible and even more so when you realized that the heart of the house was medieval from the Tudor period. Henry VIII was said to have used it as a hunting lodge.

The entryway to the grand hall. Photo by me

It has been described as “the grandest and most perfectly preserved example of a fortified manor house in all England”.

The magnificent stone work was matched by the woodworking inside. Photo by me

I loved the sense of history here. It really was just a family historic home, but every time you turned a corner, you expected to run into a medieval nobleman or lady. We just have nothing that can compare to this in the United States, and it humbles you to realize the long, vast history of English-speaking people.

A gardener works on through the rain showers just outside the hall. Photo by me

Many films have been made here, including The Other Boleyn Girl. Sound recordists from the Harry Potter film series came and recorded floor creaks in the Long Gallery to get authentic sound effects.

You can imagine Henry VIII sweeping through the courtyards. Photo by me

After a quick tour of the building, My Beloved Brit and I went out in to the gardens. We started by crossing the sunken garden outside the main structure.

The sunken garden. Photo by me.

We passed down a few long passages of gardens in rainbow hues, some quite whimsical in their design…

The dramatic skies just made it more wonderful. Photo by me

The showers made everything so lush. Photo by me

Each garden held a bit of a surprise.All photos by me.

…and then we entered a maze of exquisite garden “rooms”. Each had their own personality.

A "secret room", buried in the garden maze. Photo by me

They were varied and lovely, even in the rain which kept starting and stopping.  It didn’t matter at all.  Sun or grey, they were lovely.

The wind blows the fountain on a grey day in the gardens. Photo by me

You could get lost in the many passages as you cut through the “doorways” in the hedge walls that separated them.

It was unique and lovely and made for a truly wonderful afternoon.

I love Kent, fondly known as “England’s Garden”.  Aptly named.

Every time you are tempted to curse the rain, you realize that it is responsible for these extraordinary explosions of nature. I love every drop.