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Wakehurst Gardens

Somerset Maugham observed that, as we have so few summer days in Britain, it is only fair that ours should be finer than anywhere else in the world.

Thus on one of the few hot days – or rather one without rain – I was delighted yesterday to have organised a trip to Wakehurst Gardens in Haywards Heath.

These are owned by Kew but under the auspices of the National Trust.

One of the delights of Sussex is that you are pretty much guaranteed a pretty journey.

I met a girl friend who lives in Hurstpierpoint and from there we drove through Cuckfield on leafy b roads past Ardingly to the Gardens.

We passed cricket pitches on the common, country pubs, and the school at Ardingly whose alumni included Terry-Thomas and Ian Hislop.

I had expected, as it was part of Kew, that there would be loads of greenhouses.

In fact there was a mansion and series of interesting gardens, a walled one, an Asian one with Japanese water irises in bloom and, best of all, rolling meadows and fine old trees in which you can ramble.

They gave us in the reception area a comprehensive map and there were cafes and loos.

I like the English garden though my friend had to name the flowers for me. Rather than the ornate Japanese garden, which tends to be smaller and more spiritual, you can in a English garden lose yourself.

All in all a most enjoyable trip.

About Nancy Bright-Thompson

A widely-respected travel editor, Nancy is a past president of the Guild of Travel Writers (GTW). She and her husband Phil now run a horse sanctuary in East Sussex. More Posts