10 glorious gardens to visit in Sussex
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Bask in the splendour of these beautiful Sussex gardens - they're just waiting to be discovered
1. Borde Hill Garden, Haywards Heath
A series of rooms set within 200 acres of parkland offer a variety of gardens to explore, from the formal Italian and rose gardens to subtropical plants in the dell or the dappled shade of the woodland. Camellias, azaleas, rhododendrons, magnolias and bluebells star in spring. Later, over 450 roses, including the collection of more than 100 David Austin varieties, add a touch of romance. Expect herbaceous borders throughout summer and colourful foliage in autumn. Children can let off some steam in the adventure playground.
Open daily from 10am-5pm until October 31 for pre-booked ticket holders. Adults £9.95, children (aged 3-16) £6.70, under three’s go free. bordehill.co.uk
2. Arundel Castle
Seat of the Dukes of Norfolk, Arundel Castle has 40 acres of grounds and gardens to enjoy. Take a wander through the organic kitchen gardens, past the cut flower and herbaceous borders and see the quirky stumpery. A highlight is the award-winning Collector Earl’s Garden, an architectural fantasy with its imposing temples, urns and water features adorned with bold plantings of palms, bamboos and tropical exotics.
Open from 10am-5pm, Tuesday to Sunday. Entry to the gardens: adults £12, children £6. Pre-book tickets online. arundelcastle.org
3. Denmans Garden, Fontwell
The former home of renowned garden designer and writer, the late John Brookes MBE, the garden displays an expert use of texture and foliage. Lose yourself in its contemporary take on ‘controlled disarray’, which is achieved through a diverse range of plants and a distinctive planting style to create year-round interest through structure and colour.
The garden is spread over four acres with both intimate and sweeping vistas, punctuated by the planting combinations, statuary and urns. Gravel is used for paths but also as a growing medium to create casual, naturalistic effects.
Open from 10am-4pm Wednesday to Saturday and by appointment from noon to 4pm on Sunday. Adults £9, children and seniors £7. denmans.org
4. Great Dixter, Northiam
This influential garden was once home to the late Christopher Lloyd, and the legacy of this iconic gardener is being continued under the guidance of Fergus Garrett and his team. It’s an epicentre for the gardening world in Sussex and it’s easy to understand why. There is much to delight, from the renowned hot border full of exotic plants to the mixed borders, annuals and bedding, as well as the sunken gardens, meadow areas, striking topiary accents and adjoining nursery.
Gardens open 11am to 5pm. Adults £11.50 (timed entry), children £4. greatdixter.co.uk
5. Merriments, Hurst Green
This four-acre display garden is adjacent to the popular garden centre of the same name. Imaginative plantings with colourful combinations ensure eye-catching displays from spring to autumn. Deep, sweeping borders edge verdant lawns, a striking Oriental bridge spans two ponds and a scree garden provides plenty of inspiration for dry areas. Wildflowers carpet the ground under a stand of silver birch and there is also a grass garden with jewel-like highlights of vibrant perennials.
Open from 9am-5pm Monday to Saturday and 10am-4pm on Sunday. Adults £9, children go free. merriments.co.uk
6. Parham House & Gardens, Pulborough
These timeless interlocking gardens encircle an historic Elizabethan house. Opulent herbaceous borders billow over gravel paths in the walled garden; especially beautiful when backlit by late afternoon sun. There are also herb and vegetable gardens, a long greenhouse brimming with fuchsias, an orchard, mown grass maze and acres of rolling lawns. There is an ongoing programme of renewal, renovation and conservation, taking the opportunity while the garden was closed last year due to the pandemic, which will be exciting to see.
Open from noon to 5pm on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, Sundays and Bank Holidays. Tickets for the gardens: Adults from £10, children from £5, under-five's go free. Visitors are advised to buy their tickets before travelling. parhaminsussex.co.uk
7. Pashley Manor Gardens, Ticehurst
A quintessential English garden set around an elegant Georgian house with a timber-framed Tudor façade. Romantic in style, with beautiful plantings through the season, James and Angela Sellick have been opening their garden to the public since 1992 following a restoration of the garden guided by landscape architect Anthony du Gard Pasley. The scene changes from drifts of thousands of tulips and spring blossom to the vibrant tones of the hot border in late summer and autumn.
Throughout the year there are special events including the Tulip Festival, sculpture exhibition, and rose and kitchen garden weeks.
The gardens are open from 10am-5pm on Tuesday to Saturday including on Bank Holiday Mondays and Special Event days until September 30. Adults £12, children £5, those aged under six go free. pashleymanorgardens.co.uk
8. Rymans, Apuldram
A mixture of formal and informal country-style gardens set around an attractive 15th century stone house. There are some areas protected by mellow old walls, with avenues between densely packed borders, as well as a rill garden and a formal parterre by the house. Plantings are designed for a long season of interest, from spectacular wisterias to dazzling dahlias and Japanese anemones. The latest development is a restored natural pond.
Open through the National Garden Scheme from 2-5pm on June 19-20 and September 18-19. Adults £6, children go free. Visits also by arrangement until September for groups of 20+. ngs.org.uk
9. Wakehurst, Haywards Heath
Kew’s country botanic garden is a hotbed of inspiration, from a wide plant palette from across the globe to interesting design ideas. It's also home to the Millenium Seed Bank, the world’s largest seed conservation project. There are 200 hectares of ornamental gardens, woodlands and a nature reserve making this one of the most biodiverse places on the planet. It’s owned by the National Trust and managed by the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew.
Open daily from 10am-6pm. Adults £14.50, children and National Trust members go free. kew.org and nationaltrust.org.uk
10. West Dean Gardens, Chichester
A Grade II listed historic garden in tranquil downland setting has 35 acres to discover. There’s a 300 ft pergola designed by Harold Peto, as well as mixed borders, rustic summerhouses, spring and water gardens and a sunken garden. A highlight is the fabulous Victorian walled kitchen garden with decorative rows of produce, fruit trees and 13 glasshouses with tender exotics.
Summer: open from 10:30am-5pm Monday to Sunday from March to October. From £11. Winter: open from 10:30am-4pm Monday to Sunday in January, February, November and December. From £7.50. Pre-booking is essential. westdean.org.uk/gardens
Check before travelling for any social distancing measures in place, such as pre-booking, as well as updated information on opening times. You can read the full round-up of 25 glorious gardens in the Sussex Life magazine app.