Sussex Gardens Tour

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Duration: 7 nights
Interests: Garden Tours
from £1,189pp £1,119pp

Sussex is home to an enviable array of top-quality historic gardens; we’ll visit some of the best on this trip full of horticultural highlights. Parham House delights with its four-acre walled garden while Highdown showcases how to design a garden within an abandoned chalk quarry. Wander the extensive grounds of Wakehurst Place – home to the Millennium Seed Bank – and be inspired by the classic rose and Italian gardens of Borde Hill. There are more gardens to be enjoyed at Arundel Castle, West Dean and Sussex Prairies.

Holiday Highlights

  • Discover a unique collection of plants and trees in the stunningly beautiful chalk gardens of Highdown
  • Wakehurst Place, has beautiful ornamental gardens, woodlands, a nature reserve and is home to the largest wild seed conservation project in the world.  
  • Parham House Gardens - stunning Herbaceous borders, a glass house, vegetable garden, Orchard and a 1920s Wendy House.
  • Explore Borde Hill gardens a series of of 'linked garden rooms' each with its own character and style. 

What’s included

  • High-quality Full Board en-suite accommodation and excellent food in our Country House
  • The guidance and services of our knowledgeable HF Holidays’ leader, ensuring you get the most from your holiday
  • All transport to and from gardens on a comfortable, good-quality coach with a PA system
  • All garden admission costs except those for English Heritage, National Trust and RHS Gardens. If you are a member of these organisations, don't forget to bring your membership cards! Some venues have stately homes/houses which incur a separate admission fee should you wish to visit.

 

Trip Notes

Trip notes are detailed, downloadable PDFs for each holiday.

Download Trip Notes

You can check in to your room from 2.30pm onwards (Better rooms from 1pm). Please join us for afternoon tea.


During the morning we will spend our time in Arundel Castle’s amazing gardens, which have surprises around each corner and are a delight for everyone. Enjoy the tranquility of the rose garden or the quirky design of the stumpery in beautiful historical surroundings. 

 We spend the afternoon at Denmans. The garden here is only four acres in size but offers a lot of inspiration for visitors. Providing ideas which they can try in their own garden. 


There have been gardens on the site at West Dean since 1622. JC Loudon mentioned a number of the rare trees on the site and this is reflected in today’s woodland plantings. There is also a magnificent walled garden laid out with herbaceous borders backed by climbers and a walled kitchen garden growing all manner of produce and flowers for cutting. A long pergola covered in wisteria and other climbers dates back to Edwardian times while the historic greenhouses protect a large array of plants. The gardens are also renowned for their large collection of fruit trees. In the afternoon we head to Parham House, a beautiful mansion with some lovely gardens surrounded by a deer park. A 4–acre walled kitchen garden is now the main focus of ornamental plants with fabulous borders.


A free day for you to explore the local area or to relax in the Country House. Our Discovery Points help you make the most out of your free day. There’s plenty of maps and a selection of the best local walking routes, as well as weather forecasts and public transport options – plus details about other places to visit.


Sheffield Park is a parkland garden set around a large artificial lake. High Beeches is a mix of woodland and meadow and has a fine collection of trees and shrubs, including many rare and unusual subjects.


Not to be missed, Wakehurst Place, managed by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, is a delight for the horticulturist.  It has beautiful ornamental gardens, woodlands and a nature reserve. Wakehurst is also home to the Millennium Seed Bank, the largest wild seed conservation project in the world.

Sussex Prairies, owned by Pauline and Paul Mc Bride, is an exciting garden of around six acres, planted in the naturalistic style with large drifts of herbaceous plants and grasses.


Our morning starts with a visit to Borde Hill gardens near Haywards Heath. The whole estate covers 200 acres of Sussex parkland, with a Tudor mansion house, and a splendid collection of woodland plants. The classic rose garden and Italian gardens were designed by William Robinson. The afternoon will be spent at Nymans (National Trust) which contains a marvellous collection of trees and shrubs. During our visit we can visit the sunken garden, laurel walk, rose garden and a well-planted and designed herbaceous border.


Depart after a leisurely breakfast


Abingworth Hall

Tucked away in the village of Thakeham at the foot of the South Downs, Abingworth Hall has stood in one form another since the 13th century. Gutted by fire, it was rebuilt in 1910 in its current distinctive style. As well as 27 en-suite rooms the house has all the ingredients you need for the perfect country house stay: three comfortable lounges with squishy sofas to kick back in, the largest of which opens onto an attractive conservatory and bar in which to dally, great food and super-comfy rooms to retire to. You’re spoilt for choice when it comes to walking here; go for a lazy amble around the wildlife rich chalk Downlands to discover a colourful tapestry of historic villages, thatched cottages, pastoral landscapes and vibrant market towns. Highlights of your stay might include the Seven Sisters, the Glorious Goodwood estate, the Devil’s Dyke and Chanctonbury Ring, as well as Arundel and the National Trust property at Petworth. Take your pick.

 

Need to know

Important Covid-19 steps we have taken for guest safety: Please Read

Following the relaxation in government guidance on 19 July, we are continuing to take extra steps to keep our guests leaders, and staff safe in our HF country houses. We ask all our guests to respect the measures put in place.

The English, Scottish and Welsh governments are not in sync, so measures in our country houses will vary between the nations. With the relaxation of social distancing in England, from 19 July we will be allowing larger groups to dine and relax in the bar together. However, we will still give guests space e.g. we will seat 6 people at a table where pre-pandemic we may have seated 8. We will ensure our public rooms are well ventilated by opening doors and windows wherever possible. If you have any concerns about distancing, please speak to the House Manager. The government recommendation for England is to wear face coverings in crowded areas.

In Scotland and Wales physical distancing is still in place so this will be adhered to indoors and outdoors. Guests will need to wear face masks in public areas except when eating and drinking. The Scottish and Welsh governments are reviewing their guidance in August and we will adapt our measures in line with any updated guidance at this time.

As a temporary measure, we will not be servicing rooms during a stay. Extra tea, coffee, milk, and toiletries will be made available on request for all guests. It is recommended that guests bring their own toiletries for the duration of their stay. We will though be increasing the frequency of cleaning in our public areas providing particular attention to frequently touched items including door handles and handrails.

For now, there is no cream tea on arrival day. Menus for the week will be available in your room on arrival. A self-service breakfast will be served from 7.45am – 9am. Picnic lunches will now be pre-ordered the night before from an order form in the room. Evening meals will be table service. A dinner order form will be available in each room for completion. Dinner is served at either 7.15pm or 7.30pm. Please check at the house for details. The bar will be open. We will be offering a table service but guests can also come to the bar to order (depending on local restrictions).

At this time the evening social programme has been replaced by individual or small group walks talks which allow guests to talk through the following day’s walk options with leaders. All of our swimming pools have opened as planned, except for Brecon and Glen Coe, which have delayed pool re-openings. Swimming pools are being operated in line with guidance provided by Swim England.

For more information and to see all the steps taken, visit our page on how house stays will be adapted.

Rooms

Tea & coffee-making facilities, TV, Hairdryer, Toiletries, Wi-Fi

Stay in one of the Hall’s smartly presented rooms, which make use of every nook-and-cranny in the interesting architecture of this characterful house. With 27 bedrooms, Abingworth Hall has plenty of space and there’s a range of Good and Better Rooms to choose from. Clean and bright, with accent colours to offset the simple palette, the rooms are airy and light. Better Rooms might have a feature wall or strong print wallpaper as well as pretty tiles in the ensuite bathroom.

All ‘Good’ rooms are ensuite and furnished to a high standard. There are also several ‘Better’ Rooms that are either larger or have a desirable view, a more luxurious mattress and larger television – upgrade your stay for just an extra £15-25 per person per night. You can choose a specific room for an extra £30 per room, subject to availability. Upgrade supplements still apply.

Facilities

Free Wi-Fi, boot room and drying room, extensive garden, outdoor swimming pool, multi-purpose activity room, three lounges, library and board games to borrow

After a day strolling on the South Downs, come back to the house and its specially tailored walkers’ facilities. Relax in the large gardens and sit by the pretty pond, turn your hand to croquet or practice on the putting green. Ease through a couple of lengths of the heated outdoor pool if you’ve still got energy to burn. Hole up in the light-filled conservatory with pretty views of the gardens or retire to the Drawing Room with its wood-panelled walls, log burner, library of books to browse and comfy seats to sink in to; there’s a telescope for you to scour the night sky too. In the evening, take your seat in the bar or join fellow guests in the large ballroom for the evening activity.

Food & Drink

As at all our country houses, holidays are full board, from afternoon tea served as a welcome treat through that evening’s meal to a hearty breakfast on the day of departure. Lunch is a chance to stock up on our famous picnic snacks. Food at Abingworth Hall is varied and tasty and has a strong emphasis on ingredients from the area and seasonal produce. Once a week the dining room, which has a giant brick fireplace at its heart, hosts a Local Food Night, when, over a sociable evening, you might try a five-course feast of local Sussex flavours. Look out for the Sussex Churdle, a traditional, meaty ploughboy lunch, local Chiddingly beef cooked with black olives and Sussex smokies, smoked haddock served in a prawn sauce. Cap it all with a Sussex Pond Pudding, a pud that’s part of the honourable tradition of British dishes with names to pique the interest more than the appetite, which is actually bright and zingy, suety and syrupy all at the same time

Accessibility

For accessibility and assistance information, please contact our expert team on 020 3974 8865 or view the accessibility information online for Abingworth Hall

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Getting to Abingworth Hall

Find out more about this location including travel details and room types.

More Information

Essential Information

As you'll be walking around the gardens please bring stout, comfortable footwear for rough, wet or uneven terrain in gardens, and clothes for the great British weather!

Guest Reviews

All holidays are subject to availability. Prices are subject to change.
Prices based on two people sharing. Supplements may apply.
Non-member fee: £30 per person.

Holiday Prices

Date (Start - End) Nights Itinerary Price Status Trip Notes Book
2022
10 Jun - 17 Jun 2022
7 Garden Tour £1,189 £1,119 Save £70 Per Person Trip Notes Book Now
Duration:
7 nights
Interests:
Garden Tours

7 nights from £1,189pp £1,119pp

...or call 020 3974 8865

For group bookings of 10+ people click here

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