Take in all the natural colours at Sheffield Park & Gardens in East Sussex this Spring.
Kickstarting my posts on some of the beautiful spots to visit closer to home is the absolutely stunning, Sheffield Park & Gardens, a National Trust site located just a 40 minute drive away from us, near Haywards Heath in East Sussex.
With temperatures reaching over 25C over the Easter weekend, the weather was perfect for some gorgeous Spring walks. The bluebells were out in full bloom and the daffodils were creating a sea of sunny yellow against the blue sky, so Sheffield Park - with its 100 acres of stunning landscaped gardens and 250 acres of parkland - was the ideal place to explore.
Often considered one of the best places to be seen during the Autumn due to all of the rich colours, Sheffield Park is just as picturesque in Spring. It's reflective lakes, incredible wildlife and eclectic array of flora and fauna are absolutely stunning and there's so much to see.
The landscaped gardens were originally designed by Capability Brown in the late 18th century, as part of the Sheffield Park House estate. However, it was Arthur Soames who owned the house in the early 20th century, that really brought the gardens to life. As a keen traveller, he took inspiration from around the world, bringing exotic shrubbery to East Sussex and experimenting with growing conditions and hybrid plants.
At the heart of the gardens is the grand, gothic Sheffield Park House itself. Though not open to the public, it stands pride of place as the focal point of the park and provides some fantastic photo opportunities. The other great attraction is the cricket ground on the estate which played host to a grand fixture against Australia in May 1896, attended by 25,000 people.
What I love about Sheffield Park, though, is how many different walks you can take in one location. One minute you can be marvelling at the expansive reflective lakes on a neo-classical stone bridge, a moment later you'll be walking through an oriental-style garden and before you know it, you're in a tranquil, secluded wood with streams of sunlight sneaking through the trees. There are numerous trails and routes to take, as well as open fields to relax and play in.
To make a full day of it, I recommend packing up a picnic and travelling to the park on the Bluebell Railway - a perfectly preserved vintage steam line connecting East Grinstead with Sheffield Park - to spend a day exploring and enjoying the incredible gardens and wildlife.
Sheffield Park & Gardens are open every day from 10am - 5pm. Entry is £13.10 or free for National Trust / RHS members.