Here's what it's like to live in Lindfield
PUBLISHED: 11:42 21 August 2019 | UPDATED: 11:46 21 August 2019
Right on the edge of commuter town Haywards Heath this village is jam-packed with stunning views and modern amenities
Blossoming above the River Ouse, this Sussex beauty spot goes beyond ticking boxes. Lindfield is almost everyone's ideal of a perfect English village. Providing much more than just the necessary, this English rose of a village is an unflawed balance of functionality and relaxation. Despite having the luxury of switching off and enjoying the silence of the countryside, Lindfield is pretty connected to major cities and towns. All the pleasures of village life come with convenience for commuters and travellers too; Haywards Heath mainline railway station with its fast and frequent services to Gatwick, London and the south coast is only a five-minute drive away. Regular trains to Brighton every 20 minutes with a short and sweet journey, filled with serene country scenes. The M23 takes you to London and the A23 takes you to Brighton in just over 30 minutes. In addition to all that, Compass Travel's number 30 and 31 bus services run hourly from Monday to Saturday between the town and Haywards Heath. Metrobus also runs an hourly Monday to Saturday 270 service from Brighton to East Grinstead which takes in Lindfield.
The history of the town is fully displayed on its streets, the half-mile stretch of a lime-tree lined road is certainly impressive. It was the limes which gave Lindfield its name, 'open land with lime trees.' The first mention of Lindfield was in 765 AD, when the Saxon King Ealdwulf granted land here for the construction of a Minster church. The manor was later held by the Archbishop of Canterbury. The town was granted a market charter and the right to hold two annual fairs by Edward III in 1343 which carried on for centuries after, and the Lindfield sheep fair became one of the most active in the county. Those bucolic pursuits were later supplanted by smuggling. On one famous occasion in 1782 over 300 horses carrying smuggled goods were led up Lindfield High Street. The smugglers are said to have built a network of tunnels near All Saints Church, but if the tale is true, there are no signs of the tunnels to be seen today!
All Saints Church is a 13th century gothic landmark, located at the top of the High Street on what may have been the site of the Minster according to the Lindfield History Project Group. Its walls are adorned by shimmering Victorian stained-glass. The High Street is lined with historic buildings - an attractive mix of half-timber, and later Jacobean, Georgian, and Victorian styles. One of the more interesting buildings is Old Place, thought to have been built as a country cottage for Elizabeth I. Next to Old Place is another intriguing cottage thought to have been used as a hunting lodge by Henry VIII.
Lindfield is a haven for those who want to escape city life but like the city feel. Director of Jackson-Stops Properties, Toby Whittome, is a "Sussex boy, born and bred." After living in the Big Smoke, he came back to Lindfield because he couldn't resist its sublime scenes. "I think that when people grow up in the countryside, they are always thinking about working in London," he says. "Then when they get there, things like marriage comes along and children arrive shortly after. They suddenly realise that they loved the country and they want to move back there."
For a professional like Toby, who works in and out of London, the commute is important, and he doesn't regret his decision of moving to Lindfield at all. "The entire commute, from a beautiful Sussex property into the heart of London, can take just over an hour - and the views on the way are superb," he says. "It really is the best place to just wind down after a stressful day at work." When asked about his favourite thing about the town, community and "the whole area" were his answers. "Some of my favourite hours are spent walking through the countryside. When you catch those panoramic views of the South Downs whether they're topped with snow or the sun beams are poking through the clouds, it's quintessential England at its finest."
At its centre, the village is bursting with a range of shops and services, including a Co-op supermarket, various fashion boutiques, delicatessens, florists, butcher, baker, wine merchant South Down Cellars, hairdressers, home interiors and kitchen shops and even a traditional toy shop. You name it, Lindfield has it. There is a doctor's surgery at Lindfield Medical Centre on the High Street, several pubs in the village, one of which is the Red Lion - EastEnders' Pat Coombs called it her favourite pub. There is a bistro called Limes of Lindfield which hosts vegan feasts and a family-run Italian restaurant called Paolino.
Having celebrated its centenary in 2011, King Edward Hall has been a reception centre for evacuees, a library and a World War I convalescent hospital for those returning from the Western Front. Now it hosts a programme of public gatherings, dance classes and shows.
Cricket has been played on Lindfield Common since 1733 when Sir William Gage, an early promoter of the game, hosted a match. Lindfield Cricket Club, which plays in division two of the Sussex County League, dates back to 1747, and hosts the annual Lindfield Cricket Week.
At the edge of the town is Eastern Road Nature Reserve, an important nine-acre reserve with wetland habitat for birds, insects, and butterflies. A few miles distant is Wakehurst, a National Trust property which houses the countryside collection of Kew Botanic Gardens.
Since 2010, the Lindfield Arts Festival has taken over the High Street and Common every year. From 16 - 22 September in 2019, you will get the chance to delve into some culture, partake in drawing classes, learn more about the violin trade and enjoy delicious local food and drinks. This festival has firmly established Lindfield to very much become the creative hub in Mid Sussex.
For almost a century, the Lindfield Cricket Club has also hosted its annual Cricket Week every August. This fun-filled week sees regular visitors including the MCC and Nairobi-based team Kenya Kongonis. It commences on the first Sunday in August.
For keen cyclists, the iconic London to Brighton cycle ride passes through Lindfield as part of its 55-mile scenic route.
Meet the neighbours
At the top of the village, stands the grandiose and private Old Place, which was once home to Charles Eamer Kempe. This famous stained-glass artist dedicated years of his life to All Saints Church, decorating its dazzling windows with his designs. Kempe does not appear to have been active in village life, although he did serve as a church warden for a time.
However, Dame Vera Lynn frequents the village and her Children's Charity is located in Haywards Heath. She even celebrated her 101st birthday down the road in Ditchling.
Lindfield has its own parish council and it comes under the patronage of Mid-Sussex District Council and West Sussex County Council. Lindfield's Member of Parliament is Sir Nicholas Soames, who has been a Conservative MP for 35 years. He has represented Mid Sussex since 1997, previously serving as MP for Crawley.
- Flats: £132,000 - £450,000
- Terraced/semi-detached: £130,000 - £650,000
- Detached: £400,000 - £4,775,000
- Average price: £523,433
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