Sussex

Wakehurst, Sussex

Found on the High Weald, Wakehurst is a natural haven, a conservation hotspot and a magical place to explore. Home to ornamental gardens, rich woodlands and Loder Valley Nature Reserve, there is plenty to soothe the eye and inspire the soul.

Visiting solo or with the family, the 500-acre site offers lots of choice. Wander through the walled garden or spend a while in the water gardens. Enjoy the meadowland or let the kids run free in the natural play areas. With lots of family-friendly activities and events taking place throughout the year, a trip to Wakehurst is always rich and varied.

To really make the most of the wildlife though, the site’s Loder Valley Nature Reserve is the place to be. Here, you can receive a wonderful insight into over 300 plant species and the copious animals and birds who call the reserve home, including dormice, badgers, ospreys and kingfishers. Covering 40 acres, the extensive reserve is dotted with hides so you can sit quietly and watch different species come and go. Be advised you will need a permit to visit the reserve and a map too, but you can pick up both of these from Wakehurst's visitor centre.

Back to Wakehurst’ grounds and you will discover the cherry on the botanical cake, a Grade I Elizabethan manor house. Built in 1590, the house regally sits amongst formal and informal borders, beautifully framed by trees and overlooking a pond dotted with waterlilies.  Resting a spell in front of the house gives you the chance to really soak in the beauty of the gardens and on a sunny day the majesty of the place truly shines through.

If you would like to learn more about Wakehurst’s conservation efforts, make sure you visit the Millennium Seed Bank found on site. The largest wild seed conservation project in the world, the aim of the bank is to conserve 25% of the world’s plant species by 2020. There are also daily guided walking tours around Wakehurst giving you an overview of its history.

Once you are ready for some refreshments, the Stables restaurant and Seed café await. Serving a range of hot food dishes, desserts and drinks, you can give your tummy that feel good feel and nicely round off the day.

Feeling inspired? Take a look at our luxury cottages in Sussex here.

Wakehurst Farmhouse, Selsfield Rd, Ardingly, Haywards Heath RH17 6TN | 01444 894066 | www.kew.org/wakehurst

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