Beautiful gardens and Stately homes in Sussex - including Nyman's Gardens
PUBLISHED: 17:07 29 November 2010 | UPDATED: 09:52 20 February 2013
From beautiful country gardens to imposing stately homes, we've scoured the county to find the best places to visit...so you can spend your time enjoying them
Location: near Haywards Heath
Set against the backdrop of a Gothic mansion's evocative ruins, this Sussex Weald garden features topiary, lakes, a rock garden, sunken garden and amazing summer borders. There's also an historic collection of weird and wonderful flora in the Wild Garden. Created by Ludwig Messel and his son Leonard between 1885 and the mid- 1900s, it's a 30-acre plot set on the side of a valley and constructed in different outdoor 'rooms'. Many of the species of plants on display were collected on visits to South America, the Far East, Burma and Tasmania. As well as the gardens themselves, there are also wonderful views over the Weald and South Downs to be enjoyed.
01444 400321 www.nationaltrust.org.uk
Location: Haywards Heath
With a reputation as one of the finest gardens in the UK, Borde Hill is a Sussex gem. Made up of more than 150 acres of parkland, it is rich in botanical beauty and features woodland, parks, lakes and superb views over the Sussex High Weald.
01444 450326 www.bordehill.co.uk
In 1909 businessman Nathaniel Lloyd had a 16th century house moved from Kent and combined with the original building at Dixter to create the romantic manor house we see today. Nathaniel's son Christopher, a well-known garden writer, created the beautiful grounds, with their topiary, borders, orchard and wild flower meadow.
01797 252878 www.greatdixter.co.uk
Standing over the South Downs, this garden is a great example of late 17th century grandeur.
01730 825415 www.nationaltrust.org.uk
A small but spectacularly formed garden.
Location: Hurst Green
Four acres of colourful and spectacular densely planted borders created in the early Nineties. 01580 860666 www.merriments.co.uk
On the southern face of the High Weald, these gardens have been declared 'outstanding' by English Heritage.
01444 400589 www.highbeeches.com
Location: near Wadhurst
With bags of individuality and a quintessentially English feel, Pashley Manor's traditional gardens are well worth a visit. The Garden Room Caf prides itself on high quality, locally sourced food, from hand-raised pies to smoked chicken or trout, so you won't go hungry.
Famous for its rhododendrons, azaleas and natural woodland setting, there are 240 acres of parkland to explore, with seven lakes teeming with wildfowl and wallabies and deer roaming the site.
Sheffield Park Garden
Location: near Uckfield
Mentioned in the Domesday Book and landscaped by Capability Brown in the 18th century, this is an enchanting informal garden featuring waterfalls, cascades and four large lakes.
01825 790231 www.nationaltrust.org.uk
This museum is inside a church built on the Stade in 1852, which fell out of use after the Second World War. In 1956 local people concerned about preserving the maritime history of Hastings took over the old Fishermen's Church, knocked down part of a wall and pulled inside one of the last of the luggers (sailing fishing boats), the Enterprise, which only just fits. All around it are many models, photos, paintings, nets, ropes and a wide variety of other fishing artefacts.
01424 461446 www.hastingsfish.co.uk/museum
With 26 galleries and two walled gardens, Horsham Museum is a veritable Tardis of interesting local history. It's all housed in a medieval timber framed building and the collections include themes such as geology, toys, crime and punishment and even bicycles.
01403 254959 www.horshammuseum.org
This chequer-board fronted building is one of the oldest lay buildings in the county.
Barbican House Museum
Part of Lewes Castle, Barbican House Museum tells the story of Lewes through a sound and light show and scale model of the town, as well as exhibiting Sussex Archaeological Society's finds. There is also a wide variety of coins and medals that date back over the centuries.
01273 486290 www.sussexpast.co.uk
Shipwreck Heritage Centre
Visited by the Queen in 1997, this exhibition contains a wealth of artefacts from several wrecks.
01424 437452 www.rgzm.de/navis/Musea/Hastings
Lovingly tended galleries exhibit the work of generations of creative people.
Rye Treasury of
Displaying dance organs, pianolas, music boxes and more.
Yesterday's World aims to take you right back in time to interactively discover 100 years of British history.
01424 893938 www.yesterdaysworld.co.uk
Chichester District Museum
Knowledgeable folk at this museum invite you to bring in objects you've found and are curious about. You might just have a significant piece of history.
01243 784683 www.chichester.gov.uk/museum
Military Aviation Museum
Tangmere was one of Britain's frontline bases during World War II and now exhibits all sorts of amazing aircraft.
Weald and Downland
Location: near Chichester
This 50-acre museum features 44 amazing historic buildings dating from the 13th to the 19th century, including a timber-framed farmhouse from Kent, a Hampshire market hall, Victorian school, lakeside and woodland walks.
Location: near Hailsham
Having existed for nearly 800 years, the magnificent Michelham Priory is steeped in history and offers plenty for visitors. It has England's longest medieval water filled moat, carefully tended gardens, roaming wildlife and a working watermill as well as art exhibitions, a restaurant and more. The Priory was founded in 1229 by Augustinian canons and while over the centuries the building has been through many changes the tapestries and furniture inside tell its full story. The water mill has been refurbished using money from the Heritage Lottery Fund, East Sussex County Council and the Friends of Michelham Priory and milling takes place every afternoon during the main season (until October 31).
01323 844224 www.sussexpast.co.uk
Alfriston Clergy House
In 1896 the National Trust bought this small medieval thatched cottage with its beautiful garden for 10. The NT's first building, it features a hall with chalk and sour milk floor, cottage garden and views across the Cuckmere Valley.
01323 870001 www.nationaltrust.org.uk
This 18th century house has been home to a number of literary figures, expat American writer and critic Henry James, EF Benson and Rumer Godden, HG Wells and Rudyard Kipling.
01797 229542 www.nationaltrust.org.uk
St Mary's House and Gardens
A gorgeously evocative and romantic medieval house.
01903 816205 www.stmarysbramber.co.uk
Location: near Lewes
Firle Place is a favourite with TV crews, having been in episodes of Jonathan Creek, Dennis Potter's Blackeyes and more.
01273 858307 www.firleplace.co.uk
Let's not overlook this unusual but wonderful centrepiece of Brighton. You've got to go at least once!
01273 292820 www.royalpavilion.org.uk
Anne of Cleves House
Part of Anne's divorce settlement from Henry VIII in 1541, it now has a wealth of displays including Lewes from the 16th century, the Wealden ironwork gallery and 18th century tapestries.
01273 474610 www.sussexpast.co.uk
Recently given a shot of notoriety by its appearance on the Most Haunted television programme, this spooky Edwardian gentry house dates back to 1600.
01273 292770 www.prestonmanor.virtualmuseum.info
Grade II listed Edwardian country house set in lush green parkland.
02392 412265 www.stanstedpark.co.uk
Parham House and Gardens
A restored Elizabethan house packed with paintings and antiques
Parham Park, Storrington, Pulborough, 01903 742021 www.parhaminsussex.co.uk
A Jacobean house which was home to Rudyard Kipling and exactly how he left it.
01435 882302 www.nationaltrust.org.uk
Set in a Capability Brown landscaped park and featuring the largest art collection in any National Trust property, you must visit Petworth House at least once.
Location: near Lewes
The former meeting place and home of the writers, painters and intellectuals known as the Bloomsbury Group.
01323 811265 www.charleston.org.uk
The Bluebell Railway
Location: Sheffield Park
You'll find a wealth of vintage steam engines, a museum, locomotive sheds, a buffet bar and shop and you can enjoy a nostalgic trip in a real steam train.
01825 720804 www.bluebell-railway.co.uk
Eastbourne Lifeboat Museum
Housed in an original lifeboat house, this museum tells the story of Eastbourne's brave lifeboat men and women from 1822 to the present day.
The ruins of the historic Battle Abbey should fire the imaginations of adults and kids alike as they are your base for exploring the site of the Battle of Hastings. You can even stand on the actual spot where King Harold came to a grisly end on that fateful day in 1066. 01424 773792 www.english-heritage.org.uk/battleabbey
Mechanical Music and
A collection of polyphons, organettes, barrel organs and more.
01243 372646 www.sussexmuseums.co.uk/mech_music
Wish Tower Puppet Museum
Housed in one of Eastbourne's 19th century Martello towers (originally built as a defence against the feared Napoleonic invasion) you'll find everything from early examples of shadow puppetry to the very latest animatronics, via marionettes, glove puppets, Punch and Judy and many more familiar characters you or your children will recognise.
01323 417776 www.business.virgin.net/puppet.
Brighton Toy and
Ten thousand toys and models including a priceless model train collection.
01273 749494 www.brightontoymuseum.co.uk
Fishbourne Roman Palace
This building was discovered in 1960 due to the digging of a trench for a water main. It dates back to AD43 when it was a military base, then it was turned into a palace by the turn of the first century. It houses some incredible Roman mosaics (the largest in-situ collection in the country) and audio-visual displays help tell the story.
One of the best child-friendly small zoos in the country, with more than 130 animal species in their naturalistic environment. Become a zookeeper for the day or simply watch the animals at their feeding times throughout the day.
Have a look at some of the smallest horses in the world ... they're just 18in tall - honest! Bring a picnic and spend as much time as you like walking through the fields, woodlands and rivers to see the horses in their natural state.
01403 822639 www.toyhorse.co.uk
Fishers Farm Park
Location: Wisborough Green
A unique mixture of farmyard and adventure playground, with tractor and pony rides, open air theatre, quad bikes, paddling pool, climbing wall, beach paddling pool and more. Ideal for family visits, birthday parties and school groups.
01403 700063 www.fishersfarmpark.co.uk
Location: Ashdown Forest
With more than 100 llamas this is one of the leading llama breeding centres in the country. Take the lovely walk around the grounds with stunning views across Ashdown Forest, meet the llamas and alpacas or simply enjoy the play area.
01825 712040 www.llamapark.co.uk
and Art Gallery
Featuring one of the largest costume and toy collections in the country, fascinating Roman artefacts and an impressive collection of fine and decorative art, Worthing Museum and Art Gallery has plenty to offer. Add to this a sculpture garden, a section on local history, the Norwood gallery exhibition space and a rich programme of one-off events and there really is no excuse not to take a look.
01903 221447 www.worthing.gov.uk/Leisure
Cass Sculpture Foundation
This is unmissable for art fanatics and a real experience for everyone. The foundation commissions between ten and 15 new large scale sculptures each year which are all displayed in ancient woodland on the Goodwood estate. Currently there are more than 70 large scale works on display in 24 acres of land in an exhibition quite unlike anything else. If one of the sculptures really takes your fancy, you're in luck - they're all for sale, too.
01243 538449 www.sculpture.org.uk
Sussex Barn Gallery
Part of West Dean college, this gallery combines work by internationally renowned artists and students.
01243 811301 www.westdean.org.uk
With six exhibition spaces, some large enough to hold concerts, Oxmarket hosts around 150 events a year and is an integral part of Chichester's cultural landscape.
Location: East Grinstead
A showpiece of the Arts and Crafts movement.
Brighton Museum And
The gallery in the Royal Pavilion Gardens has recently been transformed by a 10 million redevelopment. Its exhibits include the much-lauded 20th century art and design section to Images of Brighton. In 2005, it was named one of Britain's Top Ten Museum and Art Galleries by Period Living and Traditional Homes Magazine.
01273 290900 www.brighton.virtualmuseum.info
Converted from the stable block where Rodin's The Kiss lived for 20 years, this is an eclectic, forward-thinking gallery with consistently excellent exhibitions.
01273 484214 www.lewes.gov.uk/leisure/1707.asp
Original oils, acrylics and watercolours by Michael Cruickshank.
Hove Museum And
Including a film gallery, local history gallery and contemporary crafts. The museum's pride and joy - the Jaipur Gate, made for the Colonial And Indian Exhibition of 1886 has now returned the museum's grounds after refurbishment too.
01273 290200 www.hove.virtualmuseum.info
The Alexander Gallery
There is one of the largest collections of contemporary craft in the South East.
Pallant House Art Gallery
Recent winner of the Gulbenkian Prize for museums and galleries, which recognises and stimulates excellence in the sector, the gallery is home to one of the UK's finest collections of modern British art.
Rye Art Gallery
Displaying works of national and regional significance, Rye Art Gallery is made up of two separate historic buildings, housing the Stormont Studio and the Easton Rooms.
Booth Museum Of
All sorts of animal, bird and insect specimens, plus geological exhibits
01273 292777 www.booth.virtualmuseum.info