Historic Gardens Weekend at the Weald & Downland Open Air Museum


- Credit: Archant

4 – 6 July - A wonderful opportunity to see the Museum’s six period gardens all carefully recreated to show the transition of gardens from early 16th century through to the late 19th century which would have been typical of the more humble farm houses and cottages they adjoin.

This event uniquely showcases each garden representing the period of the house as well as the social status of the householder. Herbs, vegetables and plants that would have met the needs of rural households over the centuries provide an informative and historical display. Interestingly, the earliest gardens were purely utilitarian; but moving forwards through the centuries and social levels some plants were grown for their aesthetic qualities: the very first beginnings of decorative planting and ornamental display.

Carlotta Holt, Museum Gardener, with her team of volunteer gardeners will be present in all the gardens talking about the work they do; she will be giving a daily talk and walk through some of the gardens. Carlotta comments: “Both myself and the Museum’s dedicated team of gardening volunteers, look forward to meeting visitors during the event. Having the opportunity to share our knowledge and passion for the period gardens at this lovely time of year, makes all our hard work worthwhile.”

There will be fascinating demonstrations in the market square of the medicinal uses of some of the plants. The Museum’s herbarium – a collection of every species of plant dried, pressed and recorded – will be on display in one of the Museum buildings, as well as demonstrations in the Tudor kitchen of cooking using the Museum’s own produce; the stillroom; cosmetics and other processes such as natural dyeing and garden tool-making.

The Museum has 50 historic buildings which have been rescued from destruction, moved and carefully reconstructed on the downland site. Whatever the weather it is a great opportunity to bring friends and family to the Museum’s idyllic location which is set in the heart of the South Downs National Park near Chichester, West Sussex.

The Historic Gardens Weekend is open daily from 11am – 5pm and is included in the admission to the Museum. The lakeside café will be open, plus there are indoor and outdoor picnic areas. Dogs on leads are welcome and there is ample free parking. Normal Museum entry charge applies and the Museum closes at 6pm.