Gardens to Visit in Sussex

This mild and temperate county boasts some of the most botanically rich gardens in the country, stocked by the famous plant hunters of the 18th and 19th centuries. Framed by the unspoilt countryside of the Weald and South Downs, many of these gardens offer beautiful vistas and many unexpected surprises.


© National Trust Images/Andrew Butler

Visitors will find plenty of inspiration in this neatly laid-out garden. The site was planned and created by Rudyard Kipling and his wife Carrie. The core of the garden contains a formal lawn surrounding a rectangular pool, backed by pleached limes. An 18th-c water mill and duck pond (at the bottom of the plot), was the inspiration for his Puck of Pook's Hill stories.

Facilities: parking, café, restaurant, shop
Open: March to October
Address: Burwash, Sussex TN19 7DS
Tel: 01435 882302 - Run by National Trust

Borde Hill

© Paul Gillett (CC2)

Botanically rich garden displaying several award winning plant collections. Famed for its magnificent trees and shrubs, that provide a rich diversity of seasonal colours. Splendid rose garden and colourful herbaceous borders near to the house. The elegant Italian garden, with its rectangular pool carpeted by water lilies and edged with exotic planting, was designed by Robin Williams.

Facilities: refreshments, playground, picnic area
Open: all year, daily (exc. Xmas)
Address: Balcombe Road, Haywards Heath, Sussex RH16 1XP - Tel: 01444 450326


© David Anstiss (CC2)

This large 19th-c estate has been transformed into a series of small ornamental gardens, with bold designs rich in foliage plants. Planted for all-year interest, with emphasis on shape, colour and texture. The lovely walled garden is filled with old-fashioned roses and herbaceous perennials. Includes a dry stream bed, a tranquil water garden and wild flower meadow with extensive native planting.

Facilities: parking, café, plant sales, tours
Open: all year, daily (exc. Xmas)
Address: Denmans Lane, Fontwell BN18 0SU
Tel: 01243 542808

Great Dixter

by Ron Porter (CC0)

The family home of the distinguished garden writer Christopher Lloyd. These beautiful experimental gardens reach their peak in late summer and autumn, packed with vivid and exotic foliage. Enjoy long mixed borders, hot tropical bedding schemes, wild flowers and naturalised bulbs, augmented with topiary. Of particular interest is the tropical garden created by Christopher Lloyd and Fergus Garrett.

Facilities: parking, nursery, shop
Open: April to October
Address: Rye, East Sussex TN31 6PH
Tel: 01797 252878


© Peter Trimming (CC2)

Grade I listed, 200 acre, woodland and water filled landscape. Renowned for its blaze of spring colour generated by stunning azaleas, rhododendrons and magnolias. Set in an idyllic location within a luscious valley. It has rock gardens, streams, waterfalls and lakes teeming with fauna and wildfowl. Don't miss the deer park with sika deer and wallabies.

Facilities: closed July 2010
Open: not currently open to the public
Address: Lower Deeding, Sussex RH13 6PP
Tel: -


Romantic Ruins © Seasonal Gardening

One of Sussex's greatest gardens. Come and enjoy this historic collection of early 19th-c plants, trees and shrubs from all over the globe. Grown in a natural setting around the atmospheric ruins of an old manor house. This enchanting garden is full of surprises. Massed rhododendrons, azaleas and magnolias make Nymans a real delight to visit in late spring.

Facilities: parking, café, shop, plant sales
Open: all year
Address: Staplefield Lane, Handcross RH17 6EB
Tel: 01444 405250 - Run by National Trust

Parham House

Herbaceous Borders (GSP)

A delightful Elizabethan house, surrounded by exquisite gardens and deer park, set on the slopes of the South Downs. A garden for all seasons. Comprising a large walled garden with extensive herbaceous borders, rose gardens, greenhouses, orchards and a herb garden. The grounds also contain a brick and turf maze that is great for children to enjoy.

Facilities: parking, café, shop, plant sales
Open: Easter to September
Address: Parham Park, Pulborough RH20 4HS
Tel: 01903 742021

Pashley Manor

Rosa 'Amber Queen' © Seasonal Gardening

A quintessentially English garden with many fine mature trees and shrubs, augmented with sweeping lawns, fountains, springs and ponds. The woodland walks are carpeted with bluebells in spring. A real picture in summer with an outstanding rose collection (by Peter Beales), hot borders, lilies and herbaceous plants. The site is dotted with sculptures and beautiful vistas.

Facilities: parking, tea rooms, plant sales
Open: April to September
Address: Ticehurst, Wadhurst Sussex TN5 7HE
Tel: 01580 200888

Sheffield Park

Cascade and Bridge © Seasonal Gardening

Historic 18th-c pleasure garden, dominated by four large lakes linked by cascades and waterfalls. The late spring displays of rhododendrons and azaleas are particularly spectacular, along with swathes of daffodils and bluebells. However, the lakes really come to life in summer, with a wonderful floating carpet of water lilies. The grounds also contain many rare trees and shrubs. Special events throughout the season.

Facilities: parking, café, shop, garden centre
Open: all year
Address: Sheffield Park, Sussex TN22 3QX
Tel: 01825 790231

Wakehurst Place

© National Trust Images/Nick Dautlich

Important collection of exotic/rare trees and shrubs, in a beautiful setting. Extensive parkland, valleys and woodland, with reflective lakes, watercourses and a bog garden. Good range of acid-loving plants, a heath garden and a rock walk. Natural History Exhibition. Part of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

Facilities: parking (charged), tea room
Open: all year, daily (exc. Xmas)
Address: Ardingly, Haywards Heath RH17 6TN
Tel: 01444 894066 - Run by Kew

Due to the wide variations in opening times, and seasonal changes, we are only able to state the core months in which these gardens are open. For details of the actual days and times of opening, please visit the garden's website using the link provided or call them using the telephone number listed.

Gardens by Area