There are many beautiful historic houses and gardens to visit in East Sussex here are a few that you shouldn’t miss on your holiday in Southern England. We are able to create a bespoke group tour so you can follow your historical and horticultural passions and here are a selection of our favourites to visit.
Bateman’s – near the village of Burwash is a 17th C house that was the home of the writer Rudyard Kipling. This beautiful family home which is set in the wooded landscape of Sussex remains as it was when Rudyard Kipling lived here, the rooms are just as Kipling left them with his personal belongings and memorabilia relating to his life and work on display. The gardens are delightful with beautiful lawns, a wildflower meadow, a kitchen garden and a 17th C working water mill where flour is still ground. The surrounding countryside is great for walking at any time of year. Bateman’s is now owned by the National Trust and is open all year, dogs are allowed in the gardens on short leads.
Bodiam Castle – Situated near Robertsbridge, Bodiam Castle is one of Britain’s most picturesque and evocative castles. The 14th C castle is set in a beautiful landscape surrounded by a moat, the outside of the castle appears to be untouched since medieval times, but the inside is a ruin although with spiral staircases, rooms in the towers, battlements and wonderful views it is easy to imagine what castle life was like. Owned by the National Trust, Bodiam Castle is open all year and dogs are allowed in the grounds on leads.
Herstmonceaux Castle and Gardens – near Hailsham is the perfect fairy-tale castle, this 15th C castle is set in an estate of over 240 hectares of woodland and formal gardens and is surrounded by a moat. The castle is now used as an International Study Centre, but during the spring and summer there are guided tours available to the public. The gardens are wonderful; including an Elizabethan Garden, a Rose Garden, a Butterfly Garden and a Magic Garden, dogs are allowed in the gardens on a lead. As well as enjoying walking around the gardens and grounds, visitors can also enjoy a horse drawn carriage ride during the summer season.
Lewes Castle and Barbican House Museum – situated at the highest point in the town of Lewes, it is one of the oldest Norman fortresses in England and gives the visitor incredible panoramic views of the Sussex countryside from the Downs to the coast. The adjoining Barbican House Museum is home to the Museum of Sussex Archaeology which has a fine collection of artefacts. Lewes Castle is open all year round. You can combine you visit to Lewes Castle with ticket that includes ANNE OF CLEVES HOUSE MUSEUM, Lewes. This house which was part of Anne’s annulment settlement from Henry VIII in 1540 is a wonderful example of a late medieval timber framed building. With authentic furnishings you can see what life was like in Tudor times and the pretty gardens are inspired by Tudor planting schemes.
Alfriston Clergy House – In the village of Alfriston is this rare 14th C Wealden hall house – timber framed with 2 floors and low ceilings, a house which is typical to Kent and Sussex and built for local farmers. This thatched Clergy House is in an idyllic setting with views across the River Cuckmere and is surrounded by a tranquil cottage garden full of wildlife. It was the first house to be purchased by the National Trust in 1896 and it is open from March to December. It is an ideal starting point for walking over the South Downs.