The Winchelsea open gardens season got off to a flying start on 14th April.

The sun finally shone and at long last it seemed okay to risk an afternoon out. Five hundred visitors turned up to see the six gardens that opened for the National Garden Scheme and almost £3,000 was raised for the NGS beneficiaries – mostly cancer nursing charities. Garden owners bemoaned the fact that several favourite plants were still refusing to show because of the spring chill but in fact there was plenty to admire. People were even seen eating ice cream, surely a first for 2018.

Teas this year were laid on by the Friends of the Conquest Hospital as part of their fundraising efforts for the MRI Scanner Appeal and £800 was raised for this good cause as well. Friends of the Ancient Monuments laid on a tour of the town’s famous medieval cellars in the morning and there was plenty to explore over and above the gardens themselves.

St Michael’s Hospice come to town on 1st May and the big NGS opening of the year will be on Saturday 16th June when eleven gardens will be on show. There will be cellar tours then as well, as there are on several weekends through the season. If you haven’t been on one yet, check out the dates at winchelsea.com. Money raised from the tours helps fund the maintenance of the town’s medieval gates and Court Hall. Click here to book a Cellar Tour