Brogdale Farm in Kent ©Solange Hando
Whether you are just passing through Kent or looking for a day out in the country, from London or elsewhere, Brogdale Farm is well worth a visit. Tucked in a quiet lane near Faversham, it is home to the National Fruit Collection which claims over 2000 varieties of apples and 500 of pears, plus all sorts of berries, cherries, vines and more.
Springtime in Brogdale near Faversham ©Solange Hando
Brogdale has something to offer in every season but spring is particularly stunning when trees come into bloom, displaying myriad colours sure to delight photographers, artists and casual visitors alike.
First set up in Chiswick then tranfered to Wisley, the National Fruit Collection made it to Brogdale in 1952 where space, climate and soil were considered ideal. Today they say that there are 4000 reasons to visit the farm, one for every species of fruit grown on the spot.
Ready for Cherry Pie Eating Competition ©Solange Hando
A lot of hard work goes into Brogdale to preserve varieties, try out new ones and create a 'living gene bank' for a sustainable future, but in this highly dedicated place, there's plenty of entertainment too.
Popular festivals punctuate the year, family picnic under the blossom, Easter trail, strawberry fair, plum day, cider festival, to name just a few.
There's a miniature train for the little ones and guided visits around the orchards, on foot or by tractor and trailer. Near the entrance, the Courtyard Café serving traditional Kentish fare is open to everyone.
Apples in the National Collection, one of 2200 varieties ©Solange Hando
You can't pick your own fruit in Brogdale but you may be able to taste before you buy, including varieties you are unlikely to find in your local supermarket.
Brogdale has its own market place dedicated to food products, vintage items, art by local artists and in the nursery, garden plants as well as ornamental and fruit trees.
And there's one more surprising fact about Brogdale Farm:
This is where the highest temperature in the UK was ever recorded, 38.5 centigrade (101.3F ) on the 10th of August 2003.