My friend was right. Great Dixter was the highlight of our trip to Rye, itself a very pretty little town famous for smugglers and EF Benson’s Mapp and Lucia novels.
But Great Dixter, set well back from the sea, about 20 miles inland, and away from other houses or a village, is a gorgeous garden surrounding a medieval farmhouse that was extended by a famous Arts & Crafts architect at the beginning of the 20th century.
It is the integrated ensemble of house and planting that makes this a spectacular place. At the same time it feels entirely peaceful and relaxing. Christopher Lloyd, who grew up and lived in the house, created the garden in his unique style.
Because of Covid, numbers of visitors are severely limited, which adds to the feeling of a place set aside from the world. On an extremely hot day, after a tour of the garden, we needed a good rest in the shade. And we found the only piece of small lawn in a garden that is the epitome of high summer in all its exuberance.