Avant-garde artist Derek Jarman once said, “‘Paradise haunts gardens, and some gardens are paradises. Mine is one of them. Others are like bad children, spoilt by their parents, over-watered and covered with noxious chemicals.”
It is with this ethos that he built the sparse desert garden surrounding Prospect Cottage, his final home. The landscape consists of a number of varieties of hardy local plants accented by driftwood and found objects from the nearby beach. The garden surrounding the small slat-board cottage also features a number of standing stone sculptures that the artist installed. Jarman passed away in 1994, but for many years the garden was maintained by his former partner. The garden is on private property and not open to the public, but fans of Jarman’s work or just beautiful landscaping are welcome to view the garden from the road.
In January 2020, the U.K.’s Art Fund launched a campaign to save Prospect Cottage from being sold and dismantled. They raised £3.5 million to secure the property, with a goal of turning it into a center for public creativity. If they are successful, the team behind the project hopes restore the house and gardens, launch a residency program for artists, academics, and activists, and open the cottage up to public visits.
Know Before You Go
The cottage is on the single track Lydd road from Dungeness and visible from the miniature railway. It’s a ten-minute walk along the shingle beach to the railway station.