6 ISSUES FOR £6 Subscribe to Sussex Life today click here

What it’s like to live in Haywards Heath

PUBLISHED: 09:46 17 January 2017 | UPDATED: 09:56 17 January 2017

The rose garden at Borde Hill near Haywards Heath. Photo by Borde Hill Garden

The rose garden at Borde Hill near Haywards Heath. Photo by Borde Hill Garden


It was the arrival of the railways 150 years ago which saw Haywards Heath become a major centre in Mid Sussex. And it remains a popular commuter home for more than 25,000 people

Getting there

Haywards Heath is on the main railway line between Brighton and London. Southern Rail, Gatwick Express and Thameslink trains run direct to the airport, Victoria, London Bridge, Portsmouth, Eastbourne, Brighton, Littlehampton, Bedford and Ore, and all stops in between.

By road Haywards Heath is accessible from B2272, formerly the A272, which has since bypassed the town. It is only five miles from the A23/M23 from London to Brighton.

The town is served by buses from Compass Travel, Metrobus, theSussexBus.com, Sussex Coaches and Heritage Travel, offering routes across the town as well as to Burgess Hill, Lindfield, Uckfield, Hurstpierpoint, Brighton, Lewes, East Grinstead and Crawley. 


Prior to the arrival of the railways 150 years ago Haywards Heath was a small village. But when landowners around Cuckfield refused to allow a railway line to pass through the village, Haywards Heath suddenly found itself at the centre of a new-found prosperity. Now home to more than 25,000 people the Mid Sussex town, alongside its near neighbour Burgess Hill, provides the area’s commercial heart. The national chain Pets Corner began from a shop in Haywards Heath in 1968, and 1st Central Insurance and Lloyds Bank both have large offices in Perrymount Road. The town is also perfect for commuters going to Gatwick and London. Despite the modern developments there is still a little history around the town – not least Muster Green where Parliamentarians routed a small Royalist force in 1642. And the town is in the middle of some of the most beautiful countryside in Sussex – as can be seen from the Ouse Valley viaduct only a few miles north.

Annual festivals and events

It’s Magic holds regular concerts in The Broadway, mixing tribute acts with big name guests such as Katherine Jenkins and Shane Richie.

The Town Council also organises a Town Day in September, offering a mix of live performances and events.

Haywards Heath is only four miles from the South of England Showground in Ardingly which hosts a programme of fairs and festivals throughout the year, including the Spring Garden and Leisure Show, from 30 April and 1 May; South of England Show, 8 to 10 June; and the Autumn Show and Game Fair on 30 September and 1 October. 


Haywards Heath has its own theatre space, Clair Hall in Perrymount Road, which hosts film screenings, live comedy, music and theatre. Highlights of their 2017 programme include the Weald Theatre Group’s charity pantomime Sleeping Beauty from Tuesday 10 January, guitarist Martyn Joseph on Friday 20 January, comedians Richard Herring (8 March) and Andy Parsons (31 March) and tribute acts Absolute Bowie (25 March) and Mainly Madness (21 April). Places for People Leisure also run The Dolphin leisure centre in Pasture Hill Road, which has a gym, swimming pool and regular workout classes. The parkland Haywards Heath Golf Club is in High Beech Lane.

Shopping in the town centre is based around the 40-strong Orchards Shopping Centre, which is home to national chains including Next, Marks and Spencer, Clarks and Tesco. Restaurants and bars can be found along The Broadway.

The Princess Royal Hospital offers a range of acute services, A&E and a maternity unit. There is plenty of parkland, including Beech Hurst Gardens, which has a miniature railway, bowling green and tennis courts, Jubilee Gardens, Victoria Park and Blunts Wood. The Woodland Trust is responsible for the 23 acres of ancient woodland at local nature reserve Ashenground and Bolnore Woods.

Around Haywards Heath

The town is in the middle of some of the most beautiful countryside and private gardens in Mid-Sussex, such as the National Trust property Nymans, six miles away in nearby Handcross. Much of the house was lost in a devastating fire in 1947, but the gardens remain open to the public. There are further impressive gardens at Borde Hill, only two miles away, and Kew’s botanic gardens at Wakehurst Place which is six miles away.

Train-lovers can take a ride on the Bluebell Railway, which runs between Sheffield Park and East Grinstead and has a station five miles from Haywards Heath at Horsted Keynes.

Meet the neighbours

Former Haywards Heath residents include Pointless star Richard Osman and his brother Mat, who formed the band Suede with fellow Oathall School pupil Brett Anderson. Pop singer Natasha Bedingfield was born in the town, and Olympic decathlete Daley Thompson began his training with Haywards Heath Harriers in the mid 1970s.


Haywards Heath has its own town council. It comes under the Mid Sussex District Council and West Sussex County Council. The Conservative MP Sir Nicholas Soames has represented the Mid Sussex constituency since 1997.


What it’s like to live in Chichester - West Sussex’s only city is still booming with its combination of history and cutting edge culture. Duncan Hall finds out more


Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Sussex Life visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Sussex Life staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Sussex Life account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More from Out & About


Bluebells, bluebells and even more bluebells. That’s Sussex right now…

Read more

It was raising funds for the local primary school which first inspired farmer John McCutchan to open his bluebell woods to the public.

Read more
Yesterday, 12:01

As we enjoy wild flowers in our county’s beautiful woodlands this spring, it’s easy to forget just how many challenges our native trees are facing. Diane Millis investigates.

Read more
Thursday, April 20, 2017

10 of the most beautiful, inspiring and simply stunning photos of Sussex shared on Instagram over the past week...

Read more
Tuesday, April 18, 2017

17 April 2017 is a day Brighton & Hove Albion fans will never forget. The club’s long-standing ambition finally came to fruition as the Seagulls were confirmed as a Premier League club. Here’s how it happened…

Read more
Tuesday, April 18, 2017

On this month’s walk, Hazel Sillver enjoys spring flowers in Nymans Woods

Read more
Tuesday, April 11, 2017

“Everyday epic” is what guest artistic director Kate Tempest is promising for Brighton Festival 2017. Duncan Hall picks out his highlights

Read more
Monday, April 10, 2017

A trip to the garden centre is de rigueur for green-fingered folk in search of this year’s wow factor. Harry Maddock selects some garden centre cafés, from Heathfield to Angmering

Read more
Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Last year the Halifax Quality of Life Survey ranked Horsham the 19th best place to live in the UK. Duncan Hall finds out why

Read more
Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Brighton Museum’s archives capture an ever-changing vision for the Royal Pavilion. Curator Alexandra Loske takes Duncan Hall on a tour

Read more
Thursday, March 30, 2017

There are many ways to enjoy the beautiful Sussex coastline from popular pier visits to country parks. Here we round up some of the best

Read more
Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Designed to showcase the best of English wines, Flint Barn Restaurant is all about local and seasonal produce. Duncan Hall tucks in

Read more
Monday, March 27, 2017

Our guide to the best events in and around Sussex this April.

Read more
Monday, March 27, 2017

We love to celebrate all things Sussex, so we’ve rounded up a few farm shops in the county where you can find a whole range of fantastic local produce.

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Follow us on Twitter

Like us on Facebook

Local Business Directory

Sussex's trusted business finder

Job search in your local area

Search For a Car In Your Area

Property Search