By TOBY LICHTIG
Don't tell everyone but it turns out you can stay at Sissinghurst. I don't mean the small and picturesque village in Kent, near the splendid estate where Vita Sackville-West and her husband Harold Nicolson resurrected the ruins of a Renaissance manor and lived for three decades until their deaths in the 1960s. I don't even mean the B&B on the fringes of the estate. I'm talking about a small Elizabethan cottage, the Priest's House, slap bang in the middle of the estate itself and fringed by the renowned “white garden” designed by Vita.
Sissinghurst Castle Garden has for many years been administered by the National Trust, which, in its wisdom, lets out the Priest's House to weekenders willing to pay National Trust prices to stay in a cosy, three-bedroomed cottage, complete with mullion and leaded windows, brick floors and inglenook – a word I've always admired but never previously had the chance to employ. 200,000 people visit Sissinghurst Castle Garden every year, but not many of them in December and January. Even in the middle of the day it felt like we had the run of the estate.