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5 National Trust locations to visit in Sussex

16th December 2021

 

When looking for a lovely day out, you can’t go wrong with the National Trust. With amazing locations and attractions up and down the country, featuring history, heritage, and natural beauty, there’s never a shortage of fantastic things to see and do no matter where you are. Sussex boasts its own amazing line-up of National Trust locations and in this guide, you will find highlighted just a handful that are well worth a visit, as well as any accessibility information that those with stair lifts at home might find useful. From Botanical gardens to historic parkland, from baroque-inspired palaces to 17th-century homes, there’s plenty to be excited by.

Wakehurst

 

Wakehurst in Haywards Heath is a botanical garden featuring the world’s largest seed conservation project. Wakehurst is known for being one of the most biodiverse locations on earth and is comprised of 200 acres of nature reserve, ornamental gardens, and woodlands. The site is owned by the National Trust but actually managed by the Royal Botanic Gardens - speaking to the importance of this natural treasure. There’s a woodland habitat of North America, a nature reserve home to 300 plant species, a magnificent collection of exotic trees, as well as plenty of natural play spaces for families to enjoy.

Giving a sense of the accessibility of Wakehurst, Claire, from the family blog Mudpie Fridays, shares the following based on her visit: “One thing I really like about the map is that it highlights the steep paths in red so you can avoid them if you want. There are also alternative routes, so you don’t miss out on anything if you don’t fancy the 70m inclines. In total, the walk around Wakehurst is approximately 2.3 miles.”

Wakehurst features a large gift shop, plant sales, and a café for light refreshments as well as hot food in the Stables Kitchen. In terms of accessibility, there is designated mobility parking, accessible toilets, wheelchair and scooter hire, and hard surface paths around the gardens.

You can read more about the accessibility here.

READ ALSO: 5 National Trust locations to visit in Cornwall

Petworth House and Park

 

Found in the South Downs, Petworth House and Park is a truly impressive location, inspired by the magnificent baroque palaces of yesteryear. The National Trust is well known for its impressive art collections and Petworth House is home to one of the most spectacular displays of art anywhere in the country. So, if you are an art lover, there is hardly a better place to be, especially when combined with the house’s 900-year history – designed to be the English Versailles. The art and staterooms on display are stunning and it’s not just a testament to the past, the Petworth family lives here to this very day.

We can’t forget to mention the Capability Brown designed Deer Park at Petworth, with 700 acres of rolling hills and giant ponds to discover. The Park is something that Cathy, from the family travel blog Mummy Travels, has enjoyed with her family, visiting when there was a special kids trail available. Speaking about the views on offer at Petworth, Cathy shares: “One of the best views came at the edge of the gardens, by the wall dividing it from the deer park. Looking through the gold photo frame, you could believe this timeless expanse of Sussex countryside hadn’t changed for centuries.”

For those who get peckish during their visit, Petworth has a café available and there’s also a range of art inspired gifts at the shop. There are some slopes and undulating terrain among the grounds that visitors might want to be aware of, however, there are plenty of benches available, and the rooms of the house that are open to the public are situated on the ground floor.

You can find the full access statement here.

Sheffield Park and Garden

 

Located in Uckfield in East Sussex, Sheffield Park and Garden is yet another delightful National Trust location you can visit in the county. Featuring acres upon acres of marvellous landscaped gardens which are bordered by historic parkland and woodland, Sheffield Park is a place where you can enjoy the great outdoors, marvel at nature, and admire the picturesque scenery on display. This horticultural work of art has evolved throughout the centuries, with its lakes, paths, glades and wooded areas receiving a personal touch from the park’s different owners.

With a history as a former deer park and WWII camp, Sheffield Park and Garden is now a haven for wildlife, with the River Ouse area boasting kingfishers, dragonflies, and birds of prey. Michelle, from the blog Mummy from the Heart, has visited Sheffield Park and Garden with her family, sharing what they enjoyed: “The kids did what they do best and climbed trees, ran and played games together and posed for my photos (I'm so lucky they humour me). The ducks and swans love to be fed and there are some really unusual trees and shrubs in the gardens. After a couple of hours, we realised it was getting late and we needed a drink so off we went to the Coach House for a very tasty cream tea.”

As Michelle mentions, the Coach House Café is a great spot to sit down for a refreshment after exploring the grounds, and there is also a shop and an area where you can buy your own plants. The Majority of the garden is accessible though there are some slopes and non-gravelled surfaces.

You can find the full access statement here.

READ ALSO: 5 English Heritage locations to visit in Kent

Nymans

 

Nymans is a romantic house and ruins with an intimate yet plentiful garden enveloping this garden lover’s home. Featuring rare and unusual plant collections in the garden, the house itself is an elegant and cosy location that reflects wonderfully the taste and story of the Messel family - who started putting their horticultural skills to work at Nymans in the late 19th century until the home became a National Trust property in 1953. No matter what season you visit, there’s always something to enjoy in the garden, such as dramatic autumn colours and beautiful spring blossoms.

There is also an adjoining woodland to explore, making Nymans a fantastic day out and an opportunity to enjoy the Sussex countryside. Nymans also has a romantic air about it, as the blog Muddy Stilettos explains: “It’s also the perfect spot for a romantic afternoon wandering around hand-in-hand, discovering hidden corners through stone archways, and walking along tree-lined avenues surrounded by the lush countryside of the Sussex Weald.”

Visitors can enjoy a variety of events at Nymans throughout the year, stop off at the plant centre, peruse a second-hand book shop, and sit down for cake and sandwiches at the café. The garden is mainly level with gravel pathways being in the majority and all-terrain wheelchair hire is available.

You can find the full access statement here.

Uppark House and Garden

 

Set in Petersfield, Uppark House and Garden is a truly tranquil National Trust location that deserves attention. This beautiful 17th-century house emits a peaceful atmosphere set within gardens and woodland. Uppark boasts commanding views all away out to the English Channel from its vantage point on the South Downs Ridge. The gardens are being restored to their original 19th-century design, helping to keep alive the history of Uppark long into the future. There is a nearby woodland that families will love exploring and for kids to play in and the meadow is the perfect spot to enjoy a picnic when the sun is shining.

Inside the house, you will find impressive Georgian interiors and one of the most notable 18th-century dollhouses in the entire country. Uppark is definitely a location that the whole family, young and old can enjoy, so if you are looking for a spot to bring the grandkids, it’s well worth consideration. Donna, from the blog What the Red Head Said, has visited Uppark with her family, sharing: “We had such a lovely day at Uppark House and Garden and it’s somewhere we would definitely visit again. Although it didn’t have a play area for the children it did have outdoor toys, so much to look at and such a lot of space to run around and play. A really lovely day out for all the family.”

In terms of accessibility, much of the walking route of the gardens are accessible though there are some steep elevations due to Uppark’s geographical setting. The house features a ramp into the main entrance and there is a lift to access upstairs and downstairs. There is also a café to take a load off and enjoy a bite to eat.

You can find the full access statement here.

READ ALSO: Best zoos to visit with your grandchildren

Five National Trust locations to visit in Sussex

  • Wakehurst
  • Petworth House and Park
  • Sheffield Park and Garden
  • Nymans
  • Uppark House and Garden

If you are looking for a great day out or even just a morning or afternoon, the National Trust in Sussex certainly provides. These are just a handful of the locations to look forward to visiting and hopefully this guide has introduced you to some of the lovely attractions available.

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This news article is from Handicare UK. Articles that appear on this website are for information purposes only.