8 Sussex Garden Gems
Arundel Castle and Gardens
Beginning life in 1067, many of Arundel Castles original features such as the Norman keep and medieval gatehouse still survive to this day. The seat of the Dukes of Norfolk for over 850 years, Arundel castle has witnessed almost 1000 years of British history. Arundel Castle is very educational, especially for children, who can learn about the history of the castle throughout the years and wider British history through activities, talks and shows. Furthermore, Arundel Castle possesses beautiful award-winning tropical and English gardens. From the beautifully smelling rose garden to the abundant kitchen garden and warm glasshouses with chillies, grapes and lemons, Arundel Castles’ glorious gardens are a joy to explore
Opening Hours: 10:00am – 5:00pm (Closed Mondays)
Castle and Gardens Admission: £23 Adults, £10 Children, £56 Family, Under 5s free Gardens only Admission: £13 Adults, £6 Children
A garden lover’s dream, Nymans possesses an extensive yet intimate garden set around a romantic house, which was largely destroyed by a fire in 1947. Inspired by Maud Messel’s 1920s design, Nymans is scented with old fashioned roses. Summer is a particularly beautiful season at Nymans, possessing June borders, hydrangeas and salvias amongst thousands of other plants taken from not only the UK but all over the world. Visitors can learn information about the selection and care for a large number of stunning plants, some of which even the most seasoned gardeners wouldn’t have seen before.
Opening Hours: 9:30am – 5:00pm
Admission: £15 Adults, £7.50 Children, £37.50-£22.50 Family, Under 5s and National Trust members free
One of the most biodiverse places on Earth, Wakehurst is home to the UK’s largest conservation project, the Millennium seed bank and an Elizabethan mansion. With over 500 acres of botanic gardens, Wakehurst functions as an aesthetic display, an educational garden and an important site of research. Managed by Kew, the Millennium seed bank is the world’s largest collection of wild plant seeds, holding seeds from 25% of the worlds flora and with aims to hold seeds from every UK native flora. The importance of the Millennium seed bank to preventing the future mass extinction of many of the world’s flora species cannot be understated.
Opening Hours: 10:00am – 6:00pm
Admission: £14.50 Adults, £7.25 17-25 years, Under 17s and National Trust members free
Getting its name from the nearby St Leonards ancient woodlands, ‘the finest garden woodlands in England’ was almost lost forever. But, nine years of the largest garden restoration project in Europe saved the stunning gardens. From the ‘Walk of Life’ sculpture park to the wallaby enclosure (which were brought to the gardens by previous owner Sir Edmund Loder in the early 1900s, Leonardslee provides a unique and educational experience for the whole family.
Opening Times: 9:00am – 5:00pm
Admission: £13.50 Adults, £6.50 Children, £36 Family
Borde Hill Garden
Renowned for its collection of rare shrubs, including rhododendrons, azaleas, magnolias and roses, Borde Hill’s impressive collection was built from seeds gathered by the great plant hunters of the early 1900s. Seeds were collected from Asia, Oceania and Africa and were some of the first of their species to be planted in the UK. In addition to this, Borde Hill contains one of the largest collections of champion trees in Britain, with 82 specimens as of 2013, of whose colour is transformed in Autumn.
Opening Times: 10:00am – 5:00pm
Admission: £9.95 Adult, £9.50 Concession (Students, Over 60s, Disability), £6.70 Children, £22-£32 Family, Under 3s/Carers free
Denmans Gardens reflects the history of Britain throughout the 20th century. Changing owners and conditions throughout the century, the estate eventually fell into the hands of designer John Brookes MBE. Denmans remains a timeless, tranquil garden featuring a broad variety of interesting and unusual plants that are creatively combined with shingle paths, water features, faux dry river beds, a walled garden, conservatories, and wandering paths dotted with benches and statuary.
Opening Times: 10:00am – 4:00pm (Wednesday – Saturday), 12:00am – 4:00pm (Sunday)
Admission: £9 Adult, £7 Children/Seniors
A historic house surrounded by stunning gardens, Great Dixter is also a centre of education. Run by the Great Dixter Charitable Trust, which was set up in 2003 by the previous resident Christopher Lloyd before he passed to continue his legacy. The trust offers scholarships and student placements with the goal of training top-level gardeners from all across the world. In addition to this, Great Dixter offers adult education courses and works with schools and families to excite and enthuse younger people.
Opening Times: 11:00am – 5:00pm (closed Mondays)
House and Gardens Admission: £14.85 Adults, £4.95 Children, Under 5s Free Gardens only Admission: £12.65 Adults, £4.40 Children, Under 5s Free
The gardens at Parnham consists of 7 acres of pleasure grounds, originally laid by Sir Cecil Bisshopp in the 18th century, with a lake, spring bulbs, a brick and turf maze and many specimen trees. The romantic walled garden contains wide herbaceous borders, a rose garden, a vegetable garden, an orchard and a 1920s Wendy House, as well as a stunning 1920s greenhouse. The land is likely to have been cultivated since the 14th century, dating the historic garden dates back over 600 years.
Opening Times: 12:00pm – 5:00pm (closed, Mondays, Tuesdays and Saturdays) House and Gardens Admission: £12.50 Adults, £11.50 Concessions, £6 Children, Under 5s free
Gardens only Admission: £10 Adults, £9 Concessions, £5 Children, Under 5s free