The best gardens in Sussex – within easy reach of Steyning.
Here are some of my favourites: I revisited all of them last year!
Sussex Prairie Garden
An 8 acre garden planted in a naturalistic style, with swathes of grasses and perennials surrounded by mature oak trees.
Near Henfield and just a 15 minute drive from Steyning. Open from 1st June 2022.
Parham House Gardens
Set in an ancient deer park, the seven acre gardens were laid out in the 18th century. The 4 acre walled garden is especially attractive with wide herbaceous borders, a rose garden, a cut flower garden, a vegetable garden, an orchard and a 1920’s Wendy House.
Near Storrington, just a 20 minute drive from Steyning. You can also catch the 100 bus, then walk through the deer park to the house and gardens. Open from Easter Sunday 2022.
Arundel Castle Gardens
The gardens at Arundel were remodelled some years ago by designers who took as their starting point, the early-17th-century garden belonging to the 14th Earl, Thomas Howard, at Arundel House in London.
The stunning walled gardens include the renowned Collector Earl’s Garden, the Stumpery, the hot and cool herbaceous borders, the cut flower garden and the organic kitchen garden. The sheltered location makes it possible for many of the tender perennials such as Cannas, Salvias, Bananas and Palms to remain in the ground throughout the winter.
Arundel is in West Sussex, a 30 minute drive from Steyning. Open from April to November.
Denman’s Garden features dry riverbeds, gravel gardens, a walled garden, a conservatory, and unusual plants from around the world. It was the former home of the late John Brookes – one of Britain’s most influential landscape designers. The contemporary 4-acre garden was converted from market garden to ornamental garden by plantswoman Joyce Robinson, who started the gravel gardens in 1970.
Near Fontwell in West Sussex. A 35 minute drive from Steyning. Open all year. Admission in 2022 is £9 per adult and £7 for children and seniors.
West Dean Gardens
Beautifully designed gardens with an Edwardian pergola, Victorian glasshouses and a walled garden. I particularly recommend a visit here.
North of Chichester in West Sussex. A 50 minute journey from Steyning. Open all year.
Borde Hill Gardens
Borde Hill Garden is planted in “living garden rooms”, each offering a different character and style. Each time I have been there, during the summer months, there has been a wonderful display of sculptures amongst the plants. I just love this garden! It is, without any doubt, one of the best in Sussex.
Near Haywards Heath. A 35 minute journey from Steyning by car. Open from 19th February 2022.
Read more about Borde Hill
Explore their wild botanic garden, home to the Millennium Seed Bank and over 500 acres of the world’s plants. Plenty to see and do here. The seed bank exhibition is especially interesting.
Near Ardingly in West Sussex – a 45 minute drive heading north, from Steyning. Open all year.
Sheffield Park Gardens
This is a most attractive informal landscape garden, which used to be my mother’s favourite. Owned by the National Trust, it was originally laid out in the 18th century by Capability Brown, and further developed in the early 20th century by its then owner, Arthur Gilstrap Soames. It is especially popular in autumn when people go to see the marvellous autumn colours.
5 miles east of Haywards Heath, in East Sussex. A 45 minute journey by car from Steyning. Open all year.
I also strongly recommend a visit to Highdown Gardens, which is close by, just outside Worthing. Others I love are Pashley Manor and the well known Great Dixter in East Sussex, but these both involve longer journeys.
Looking for local accommodation? Check out Rosebud Holiday Cottage
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