The National Fruit Collection at Brogdale Farm claims to be the most significant archive of fruit in the world. Although apple production in Kent has decreased by 85%, the county’s clement weather enables it to still be the largest apple growing region in the country. The orchards at Brogdale are home to around 2,200 varieties of apple, 650 of these are British varieties with the rest coming from overseas.
In addition to apples you can find a wide range of fruit including pears, quinces, cobnuts, cherries and strawberries. The Collection prides itself on preserving rare varieties of fruit, varieties that would have been common in Britain hundreds of years ago but which have gone out of fashion. You can try apples that would have been eaten by Henry IV or Columbus, the varieties of plum eaten by the Victorian. The fruit at Brogdale Farm has provenance and the staff there are only too keen to tell you all about it.
From March to November there are guided walks around the Collection which you can book on for a small fee. There is a discount for groups but be sure to pre-book if you are with a large group. There are also many different festivals and events throughout the year. There is a cherry festival, a cider festival, and an apple festival. In the springtime there is a weekend of walks during which visitors can take guided walks to see the spring blossoms. There is also a shop, a cafe and, at the weekends, a miniature railway.