Last weekend as part of the Eid week celebrations, I decided to treat Mum and me to a day trip to Blacker and Moore Peony Farm in Kent. I love peonies and I know I’m not the only one, Instagram is in full bloom with it being peony season, but for Mum and I, the peony obsession is a sentimental thing. We’ve been lucky enough have peonies grow in the family garden since the 80s. Come rain, snow or heat wave, year on year the peonies spring into bloom and make the garden look gorgeous, so when I discovered the peony farm through Pretentious Fringe and Heart Zeena, that was our Eid outing sorted!
The farm has a beautiful display of over 6,000 peony plants, which bloom every year during May and June. I have never seen so many peonies before, apparently there are over 30 varieties including Chinese and Dutch peonies. You can buy potted peony plants or cut peonies at the farm. You don’t have to pay to enter and you can wander around freely. The rule is you can’t pick or cut the flowers yourself but you can take home for free any flowers which have been cut but left behind on the ground. We and the other visitors found so many and the house is now full of gorgeous peonies.
You can bring your own picnic and there are free tea and coffee making facilities inside at the art cafe. This was a life saver while we dried off and waited for the rain to blow over. We’d been optimistic and put all our faith in the weather report which said there would be a little rain early in the morning but the rest of the day would be full of sunshine (we’d even bought a picnic blanket with us). It was sunny when we left the house but by the time we arrived, it was a full on heavy downpour of rain. We waited it out and headed out to the peonies when there was a break in the rain, but the weather wasn’t on our side in the morning and we got absolutely drenched plus it was so windy! Luckily in the early afternoon, the sun came out and it was beautiful. I even managed to dry off!
We ended up eating our picnic on the train home as we were still a bit damp, cold and tired from battling the wind and rain, but I hear that Bearstead has lots of lovely pubs if you fancy treating yourself to a pub lunch. The farm is only about an hour away from central London. We got on the train at Bromley and within 45 minutes we arrived in Bearsted which is the nearest train station. From there we jumped in a cab and it was only 10 minutes to the farm. My top tips would be to pre-book a cab as there can be a wait especially as there are a few wedding venues in the area. A local taxi service is Express cabs. If you’re going via taxi or driving, the Sat Nav is quite likely to get confused and will try to tell you that a complex of new build houses is the correct destination, but ignore that and continue down the road for about 5 minutes where you’ll see a cream house with a black barn and a sign for the This Art of Mine art cafe. If you are driving, just a warning that you will have to venture down a country lane for a while, which is only really wide enough for one car, though it’s two way traffic. I might try and brave that drive next year.
Unfortunately the farm is only open for 2 weekends in June and last weekend was the 2nd open weekend. The art cafe is open all year round and you’ll be able to the see the peonies from there if you head down in the coming weeks. I’d love to go back next year and make it into an annual tradition.
Bearstead is also the station you need if you’re visiting Leeds Castle. I love this castle (it’s known as the loveliest castle in the world) and it has beautiful grounds with wildlife, birds of prey and a confusing maze. You’d definitely have time to visit both and make a day of it. You can also take a shuttle bus there and back from the station.
Are you as obsessed with peonies as me and been to visit Blacker and Moore?