Days OutLifestyle

Blooming Beauties: Glorious Summer Gardens in East Sussex

Main Batemans NT David Levenson

Some of the country’s most beautiful gardens can be found in East Sussex and all are at their colourful best during the summer, with eye-popping colours, scented displays, brilliant borders and relaxing open spaces with far-reaching views.

Some of the gardens, such as Bateman’s in East Sussex, reflect the spirit and style of their former famous owners, others are simply havens of beauty to enjoy at your leisure on a summer’s day.

No visit to a National Trust garden is complete without a treat from a characterful tea-room, or you could pack up a picnic to enjoy al fresco in a glorious setting.

Each and every visit to a National Trust place helps support the charity’s work to care for special places for future generations. So celebrate summer with the National Trust’s top spots for summer garden delights:

Bateman’s, Burwash in East Sussex

The beautiful garden at Bateman’s, home of great writer Rudyard Kipling from 1902 until his death in 1936, must surely have inspired his famous poem, The Glory of the Garden, which he wrote in 1923. The extensive Arts and Crafts-style garden has many enchanting features including a tunnel made of pear trees, yew hedges, a formal rose garden, a large lily pond and a wild meadow with a river running through it. Kipling’s love of roses endures with an array of scented rugosa roses and the fragrant rose walk. On the walls there are climbers and ramblers in a variety colours. Gardens and Estate Manager Len Bernamont says: “The crowning glory at Bateman’s is the lily pond and rose garden designed by Kipling himself after he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1907. Here, three varieties of floribunda roses in shades of pink and red flower constantly throughout the summer and well into autumn – the effect is just lovely”.


Standen, near East Grinstead, East Sussex

Now in the final year of an ambitious 5-year garden revival project, the gardens of Standen are vibrant with colour this summer. The reinstated rose garden, known as The Rosery, is full of delicate pink roses, deep purple irises and other contrasting plants around the pond. The recently restored Kitchen Garden is bursting with mouth-watering produce such a rhubarb and broad beans, used in seasonal dishes in the café and on sale from the barrow, and the new elevated Rock Top Walk offers views over the roof tops of Standen and the surrounding Sussex countryside.

There are lots of special garden events and attractions during Standen’s midsummer garden festival in June including daily garden tours, a photography workshop, children’s craft activities and after-hours tours of the garden with our Head Gardener.


Alfriston Clergy House, East Sussex

Filling half the land around the house, the kitchen garden is bursting with flowering sweet peas, potatoes, onions, beetroot, sweetcorn, spinach and squash. The borders surrounding the garden are also home to masses of herbs and flowers such as lemon balm, mint, evening primroses, poppies and pot marigolds.

Main Alfriston Clergy House NT John Miller


Monk’s House, Lewes in East Sussex

Nestled within the garden Leonard and Virginia Woolf loved and admired are an enchanting mix of flowers, flint walls, yew hedges, blossoming orchards, wildflower lawns and ponds. Virginia’s writing room where she penned many of her most famous novels still sits at the end of the garden with views overlooking Mount Caburn and Lewes Castle.

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