Great Sussex Gardens – Chichester and surrounding areas Chichester England, BN18 9AB

Explore some great West Sussex gardens across Chichester, Midhurst, Petworth, Arundel and surrounding areas

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Our sunny corner of Sussex boasts some outstanding gardens, from formal gardens fit for a queen to wild and wonderful spaces where wildlife thrives.

We have begun our tour in the grand grounds of Arundel Castle, finishing in historic Chichester with a true hidden gem. Garden lovers will be spoilt for choice as we discover a host of glorious gardens set amongst stunning Sussex scenery.

Arundel Castle

a photo showing a castle with formal gardens in the foreground

Arundel Castle & Gardens

 

The exquisite gardens at Arundel Castle are truly a sight to behold.

From tropical and English gardens to the quirky Stumpery; glasshouses bursting with produce, and a fragrant rose garden, these are gardens which dazzle with floral delights.

Each Spring the annual tulip festival sees the grounds burst into blazes of colour as up to a million tulips put on an outstanding show. Throughout April and May, in addition to tulips, you’ll also see narcissus, cammasias and alliums.

These really are gardens fit for a queen and are a must-see for any garden lover. Visits can be pre-booked in advance or on the day.

West Dean Gardens

An image showing Laburnum growing over a helix arch at West Dean Gardens nr Chichester

Laburnum Vossii at West Dean Gardens by Trevor Sims

 

West Dean Gardens is one of the greatest restored gardens open to the public today.

A visit here will see you exploring a sunken garden, marvelling at a walled kitchen garden bursting with produce, discovering secret flint bridges and admiring a 300ft Edwardian pergola. You’ll survey the impressive variety of colour always on display in the collection of thirteen working Victorian glasshouses, which under the eye of head gardener Tom Brown, boast exotic plants and orchids, strawberries, figs, nectarines, peaches, and a variety of other fruits. An aboretum sits at the top of the hill and is perfect for stretching your legs before enjoying the on site cafe.

You can choose to book your visit ahead of time or buy your ticket on the day.

 

Denmans Garden

An image showing Denmans Garden

Denmans Garden

 

Located in Fontwell near Arundel, Denmans Garden is a garden where peace and tranquility reign.

In this contemporary country garden you’ll find surprising planting combinations and water features along meandering paths and in gravel gardens. You’ll discover quiet places to sit and enjoy the stunning surroundings and year-round interest.

Originally transformed from a market garden to an ornamental garden by plantswoman Joyce Robinson in 1970, Denmans was taken on in the 1980s by John Brookes MBE, a garden and landscape designer often credited as the “man who made the modern garden” who consistently worked on renovating the garden until he passed away in 2018. Denmans is highly significant in the history of garden design.

Advance booking for visiting is advised. Be sure to visit the plant centre to bring some of your garden inspiration home!

 

Petworth House Pleasure Grounds & Park (National Trust)

An image showing The Rotunda at Petworth Park

The Rotunda at Petworth Park by John Miller

 

Petworth House‘s stunning grounds are the work of legendary landscape designer Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown. During the 1750s and 60s Brown transformed the formal gardens to create the majestic lakes and wide open, natural looking spaces you see in the park today.

Closer to the house, in the Pleasure Grounds, which are also the work of Capability Brown, you will find winding paths which showcase the informal, seasonal planting. Visit here in spring time and you can be treated to a display of golden daffodils, paths lined with blossom or even a sea of blue as the bluebells raise their heads. Stop for a while at the iconic Rotunda or Doric Temple and appreciate stunning Sussex views.

There’s no need to pre-book to visit here, simply buy your ticket or show your membership card on the day.

 

The Walled Garden at Cowdray

An image showing The Walled Garden, Cowdray Estate, Midhurst

The Walled Garden, Cowdray Estate, Midhurst

 

Accessed via a heavy oak door in the grounds of the imposing Cowdray Ruins at the Cowdray Estate in Midhurst, The Walled Garden is a hidden gem in the heart of the South Downs National Park. The garden is open for visits when booking an afternoon tea, available on Tuesdays and Wednesdays during the warmer months.

Inside you’ll be surrounded by the sound of birds chirping in the trees, the scent of lavender and roses in the air, splashes of colour from alliums, lupins, a fragrant herb garden and apple, pear, cherry and walnut trees.

Its thought that ‘Capability’ Brown was involved in the design and planning of the garden, which today offers a truly hidden retreat. Pre-booking required for your afternoon tea visit.

 

Woolbeding Gardens (National Trust)

An image showing a pool at Woolbeding Gardens

Woolbeding Gardens near Midhurst, West Sussex

 

Woolbeding Gardens is located amongst the Sussex countryside just outside Midhurst in the South Downs National Park. A masterpiece of colour and design, you’ll can lose hours exploring this constantly evolving horticultural haven.

From garden rooms to surprising sculptures and follies, this garden delights at every turn. Feel transported as you explore the variety of formal gardens and informal pleasure grounds culminating in glorious views of the River Rother and beyond. The garden was intially developed by American garden designer Lanning Roper, then Julian and Isabel Bannerman.

Spring 2022 will see the opening of a new, much-anticipated Hetherwick Studio designed structure and garden. Tickets must be booked in advance here.

 

Uppark House & Garden (National Trust)

a photo showing a stately home with a garden full of daffodils in the foreground

Uppark House and Gardens

 

You’ll find Uppark House & Garden located in an elevated position in the South Downs National Park, with outstanding views across the Sussex countryside. The glorious gardens here are the work of ‘Capability’ Brown and Humphry Repton, who were commissioned around 1810 by Uppark’s owner Sir Harry Fetherstonhaugh.

Explore the Amphitheatre and Scented gardens where each season brings a wealth of colour and interest. A picnic stop on the South Terrace is a must-do to admire the vista across the meadow to views to the South Downs and, on a clear day, to the sea and the Isle of Wight.

There’s no need to pre-book to visit here, simply buy your ticket or show your membership card on the day.

 

Stansted Park

a photo showing a stately home in grounds

Stansted Park

 

At the heart of Stansted Park‘s 1800 acres of parkland and ancient forest stands an Edwardian Mansion, former home of the Ponsonby family. Surrounding the house you will discover a charming walled garden, with its popular tearoom (where we highly recommend a coffee stop) the Dutch Garden, Arboretum and Yew Maze.

On site is also a Farm Shop, Garden Centre, and Miniature Railway. The surrounding grounds lead on to walks exploring the woods and avenues of the magnificent parkland. Stansted Park is also home to a programme of annual events including much-loved The Garden Show each June.

There’s no charge to visit the garden, but visits to the house can be booked here.

 

 

Bishops Palace Garden, Chichester

A photo showing a garden with flowers

Bishops Palace Gardens, Chichester

 

Hidden away within the grounds of Chichester Cathedral, just a short walk from Chichester’s bustling streets lies Bishops Palace Garden.

Free to visit, this haven is an unexpected space in the city centre, featuring abundant planting, luscious trees and offering outstanding views of the Cathedral. This is undoubtedly a great spot to while away a few hours with a picnic on a warm day – pick up a feast from nearby delis The Barn Little London or Luckes before exploring the historic Cathedral itself.

Why not explore on from here to take in the stunning gardens of Parham House or Chawton House, or further afield Wakehurst, Nymans and Leonardslee, or find inspiration from our itineraries to make your next amazing Sussex discoveries. 

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