West Sussex has many beautiful historic houses, stately homes, castles and glorious gardens; here are few that you should include on your holiday touring the English Countryside. 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.
Petworth House – Set in the rolling South Downs National Park, Petworth House and Park is a magnificent 17th C mansion. Petworth has a rich and varied history and is home to an extraordinary collection of art and treasures, including important paintings by Van Dyck, Turner, Reynolds and Titian. The servants’ quarters and kitchens give a glimpse of what life was like ‘below stairs’. Set in a 283-hectare deer park the landscape surrounding Petworth House appears to be totally natural, but it was designed by the famous Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown in the 1750s and early 1760s. Petworth House and Park is owned by the National Trust and is open all year, dogs must be kept on short leads in the Park because of the deer.
Arundel Castle and Gardens – The magnificent Arundel Castle with almost 100 years of history is still the home of the Dukes of Norfolk. With wonderful views across the South Downs and the River Arun the castle and gardens should be on your list of places to visit on your holiday in Southern England. This stately home has a fine collection of rare paintings by renowned artists including Van Dyck, Gainsborough and Canaletto, visitors can enjoy a pre-booked guided tour of the castle or wander independently through the carefully preserved rooms, from the Armoury and Barons’ Hall to the beautiful Regency library. The gardens of Arundel Castle are stunning and inspirational, the Collector Earl’s Garden is an amazing garden of Italianate design, and the Rose Garden is full of lovely heavily scented English Roses that are at their best in June and July, these are just 2 of the gardens to enjoy on your visit here. Arundel Castle and Gardens are open from April -November, dogs are not allowed.
Nymans – The historic house of Nymans, near Haywards Heath is a partial ruin and was once the home of the talented Messel family. Today the historic mansion is a romantic backdrop for one of the National Trust’s premier gardens. There is so much to see at Nymans as the garden has all year-round colour and interest with rare and unusual plant collections. Surrounded by the glorious Sussex countryside a visit to Nymans is a great family day out. Open every day of the year, dogs are allowed in the woodland on leads.
Standen House and Garden – Nestled in the Sussex countryside near East Grinstead, Standen House is one of the finest examples of Arts and Crafts workmanship with Morris & Co interiors and decorative art of the period. The house is as it would have been furnished in 1925. Once the home of the Beale family, the 5-hectare garden that was designed by Mrs Beale has been restored to its 1920s glory and has something to offer in every season. From the estate there are footpaths that lead into the woodlands, the Ashdown Forest and the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Owned by the National Trust Standen House and Garden are open all year, dogs are allowed on leads in the formal gardens and on the woodland estate.
Uppark House and Garden – Set high up on the South Downs near the village of South Harting, Uppark has panoramic views as far south as the English Channel. This beautiful 18th C house has Georgian interiors which show the contrast in the comfort of life ‘upstairs’ to the ‘downstairs’ world of its servants. A highlight of Uppark is one of the best examples of a rare 18thC doll’s house in the country. The gardens at Uppark are being restored to their original 18thC design and there is plenty of place to relax and enjoy a picnic in the meadow adjacent to the house. Now owned by the National Trust the garden is open all year and dogs are welcome on short leads. The house is open from March until the end of October and the Servants Quarters are open all year.