Standen House is a wonderful Arts and Crafts family home!
The building was designed between 1891 and 1894 by architect Philip Webb, who was a friend of William Morris, for a prosperous London solicitor, his wife and their family of seven children. The house is constructed in the Wealden vernacular style with sandstone quarried from the estate and locally made bricks and tiles. The interior is decorated with Morris carpets, fabrics and wallpapers, with furnishings also by Morris, and the garden complements the beauty of the house. The house had electric power, originally generated by a donkey engine in a shed by the old barn. The house still has its original electric light fittings.
In 1972 Standen House was given to the National Trust.
Standen House Location
The property is near East Grinstead and within easy reach of Steyning.
Go into the house past the lit fireplace in the hall. You will find each room dressed for a different decade in which the family celebrated Christmas at Standen. Once you have enjoyed the festivities in the house, check out the Arts and Crafts inspired gifts in the shop. After that enjoy a warming drink and Christmas treat in Barn Café.
The gardens reopened in July 2020 but the castle is closed at present due to coronavirus.
I recommend visiting Arundel Castle and it’s attractive gardens. This restored medieval castle overlooks the River Arun and was built at the end of the 11th century by Roger de Montgomery, Earl of Arundel
The oldest feature is the motte (an artificial mound) which dates from 1068. You can see it in the photo below.
Whilst you are in Arundel make sure you explore the small historic town. I also recommend visiting the museum, which is almost opposite the castle.
The castle and grounds are usually open from April until November on Tuesday to Sunday each week. They are also open on some Mondays.
I particularly recommend visiting the small town of Arundel – just a half an hour drive from Steyning. This famous West Sussex market town is most well-known for its 11th century Castle and its Victorian gothic cathedral.
There are nearly 1,000 years of history at the castle, situated in magnificent grounds overlooking the River Arun. It was built at the end of the 11th century by Roger de Montgomery. The oldest features are the motte and the gatehouse. The motte is an artificial mound, over 100 feet high from the dry moat, and was constructed in 1068.
The castle is open from Good Friday to the end of October on Tuesdays to Sundays, May Bank Holiday Mondays & August Mondays. Admission costs: Adults £9 (gardens) to £18; Seniors £9 to £15.50; Children £9.
You can visit the cathedral at any time of year and admission is free.
Explore more of the area’s history and heritage at Arundel Museum or look at the town from a different perspective at the Arundel Jailhouse and Ghost Experience!
If you enjoy art you will be happy at one of the superb galleries. Interested in antiques? You’ll find plenty of shops with collectables.
If shopping is your ‘bag’ then you’ll enjoy the wide range of contemporary and traditional independent shops.
Water enthusiasts can hire a rowing boat on Swanbourne Lake or take aboat trips on the River Arun. If you love nature I particularly recommend a visit to the Wetland Centre.
Perhaps you will just want to relax in one of the many cafes, bars and restaurants or in a traditional English pub!
The gardens are open on Sunday afternoons but you need to book in advance. The house is currently closed due to coronavirus.
I recommend spending time there and visiting the house and gardens at 15th century St Mary’s. This timber framed building was constructed around 1470 by the bishop of Winchester. At that time pilgrims used the house as an inn on their way to the tomb of St Thomas of Canterbury.
The house is open from the end of April to the end of September on Sundays, Thursdays and Bank Holiday Mondays (& Wednesdays in August) from 2 – 6 p.m.
Entry costs: Adults £10; Concessions £9; Children £5
There are also some lovely cottage style tea rooms.
The best pier in Sussex has to be Brighton Pier. It is one of five that are still standing and that you can walk along.
British seaside piers date from the early 1800’s. Generations of holidaymakers and local residents have enjoyed visiting them.
Certainly the most popular pier in both Sussex and the UK is Brighton Pier. It is the last surviving intact pier on Brighton’s seafront. Built in 1899, it was designed as the replacement for the older, more utilitarian Chain Pier that used to be slightly to the east.
The main pier building has a lovely dome, and stained-glass windows along the sides showing Brighton-related images. It’s totally free to walk along the pier and look at the Brighton scenery, and the pier is a great way to see the Brighton seafront.
You can also find piers in East Sussex at Hastings and Eastbourne and in West Sussex at Worthing and Littlehampton. Worthing Pier is certainly worth a visit and is the nearest to Steyning.
This was the thirteenth pier to be built in England at a cost of £6,500. Designed by Sir Robert Rawlinson, it was officially opened in April 1862.
The Pier continues to bring enjoyment to visitors and residents. The Pavilion Theatre sits at the northern end and the southern end pavilion has recently been totally renovated and returned to its former glory as a cafe & venue. There’s an amusement arcade in the middle. It is a regular attraction for people to take a stroll along the deck and for fishing. Admission is free!
Worthing is just 6 miles from Steyning & Brighton is 10 miles away. Read about Steyning
The Normans certainly left their mark at St Cuthman’s and St Andrew’s church in Steyning
The church has 12th century craftsmanship that is especially fine, even in a county where much good Norman work has survived. Begun around 1080, the original church was cruciform, and nearly twice the size of the present building. It had transepts and a much longer chancel than the present 19th century one, as well as two extra bays at the west end of the nave, where the 16th century flint chequer work tower is now.
With its high roof, crossing tower and clerestory, it must have been an awesome building indeed. The earliest part that remains is that which now forms the chancel arch, immensely high and with decoratively carved capitals.
The surviving bays of the nave arcade, built around 1170/80, have exuberant carving on most of the arches and capitals, each one different, with no shortage of the customary zigzags and scallops as well as many less conventional motifs and designs that repay a really close look
Walk to end of Church Street and you will see the church on your left. Read more here
This picture shows the beautiful church of St Leonard in South Stoke village, near Arundel, West Sussex.. It was recorded in the Domesday Book – a great land survey from 1086, commissioned by William the Conqueror – when the village was named as “Stoches”.
To find the church head for Arundel then travel down Mill Road until the road ends in a t-junction. Turn left, following the signpost to South Stoke. Go beyond the entrance to the farm and turn left with the road – the gate to the church is down a (signposted) short pathway to the right, about one hundred yards further on. Well worth finding!
South Stoke is about a half hour drive from Steyning and close to the South Downs.
Just north of the coastal town of Worthing, Cissbury Ring is one of the jewels in the crown of the South Downs National Park. It’s the largest hill fort in Sussex and has a history dating back over 5,000 years.
Set high up on a chalk promontory, its ditch and ramparts enclose about sixty-five acres. It dates from around 400 BC and was used for defence for about 300 years.
From the top on a clear day you can see forever: Enjoy views across to the chalk cliffs beyond Brighton and as far as the Isle of Wight.
Long before the hill fort was constructed, Cissbury had extensive Neolithic flint mines. Miners used antler picks to dig shafts up to fifty feet deep, with several galleries opening out at the bottom. Flint was the common material for making stone axes to fell timber and work with wood during the Neolithic period.