Days out in West Sussex with the National Trust

From the beautiful stately home Petworth House with its enormous deer park, to Woolbeding Gardens in a quiet corner of West Sussex (you need to book in advance for that one), from walking on the Devil's Dyke and enjoying the views over Sussex countryside and the sea, to visiting Nymans Gardens.  

The National Trust has lots of helpful information about its places and things to do in Sussex, including:

  • Family friendly places to visit
  • Gardens to visit
  • Houses and buildings in Sussex
  • Countryside and woodland in Sussex
  • Walking in Sussex
  • Dog friendly places in Sussex
  • Outdoor activities in Sussex
  • Places to eat in Sussex
  • Volunteering in Sussex 

Just click here to read all about it!  And you can find out all about the events taking place here.


Visit the stunning Petworth House
Visit the stunning Petworth House and its wonderful art collection and park
There's a deer park, Capability  Brown's Pleasure Gardens walk and land walk,
ancient trees, and at this time of the year, the Spring Festival  (23 March to 14 April)
with all the beautiful, glorious daffodils.  

Memberships to organisations such as the National Trust give you a great opportunity to explore parts of Sussex you wouldn't ordinarily see - and to catch up with people.   I met my friend at Standen House (okay, so that's in East Sussex just outside East Grinstead) for a coffee in their wonderful cafe and thoroughly enjoyed my visit there.   Standen House is an Arts and Crafts family home with Morris & Co. interiors and it's set in a beautiful garden  

There's also Nymans, with its intimate gardens - and incredible views of the Sussex Weald!  I just love walking there, taking in the vistas.  The nice thing about Nymans is that the gardens aren't too big, so it's a great place for a relaxing stroll before you stop to explore the gift shop and take in some refreshments.  The medieval manor house was remodelled in the 1920s and some of it is in ruins, but that somehow adds to the history of the place.  Book lovers will love stopping at the second hand book shop, set in the old Potting Shed.  

The recent programme on Winston Churchill wetted my appetite to re-visit Chartwell again, Churchill's beautiful home with its stunning gardens.  And I loved my visit to Quebec House in Kent, childhood home of General James Wolfe who led the British to victory at the Battle of Quebec in 1759. There's nothing like heading out to East Head on the south coast, whether on a winter's day or a summery one.  Or visit the Cissbury Ring, with its history dating back over 5,000 years. Centuries of continues grazing have produced a wonderful habitat for butterflies and flowers. 

Wakehurst Place is home to the Millennium Seed Bank
Wakehurst Place is home to the Millennium Seed Bank.
It's managed by Kew Gardens and is located near Ardingly. 
(Members of the National Trust will need to show their membership cards
to get free access and please note you have to pay for parking there, members too.)

The gardens at Wakehurst Place stretch across 500 miles, and there are formal Mansion gardens.  The Millennium Seed Bank has over 2.4 billion seeds from around the world, and it's banking them there in an underground collection to conserve them for the future.   And it's got one of the UK’s largest outdoor art installations, Planet Wakehurst, by artist Catherine Nelson, and it's a celebration of our wild botanic garden with a built-in viewing platform 33ft high so that you can look out across Wakehurst and beyond.

In East Sussex, there's Sheffield Park and Gardens near Uckfield, with historic parkland and woodland.  The River Ouse floodplain is recently restored riverside wildlife haven, home to a  species such as kingfishers, birds of prey, butterflies and dragonflies.

Get some fresh air at Cissbury Ring
Get some fresh air at Cissbury Ring

In short, you can indulge in and lose yourself in beautiful surroundings, discover more about the past, wander through stunning gardens or enjoy a refreshing and brisk walk in stunning scenery.

Go for a walk at the beautiful Nymans Gardens 
Go for a walk at the beautiful Nymans Gardens

Enjoy all these when you become a member

  • Free unlimited entry to over 500 special places - click here to find a day out near you.  

  • Free parking at most National Trust car parks

  • National Trust Handbook full of ideas to help you plan a visit

  • National Trust Magazine sent to you three times a year - it's full of behind-the-scenes stories, stunning photos and exclusive offers.  Discover what your membership is protecting and restoring, from landscapes to houses, and how the Trust is caring for wildlife, and encouraging children to enjoy the great outdoors.


Take in the views from the South Downs

Take in the views from the South Downs

Here's a list of FAQs about membership, in case you have any questions

Membership subscriptions, donations and volunteers all contribute to look after all the places the Trust cares for. So you’ll be directly contributing to the protection of over 257,000 hectares of land, over 300 historic houses and gardens, and 775 miles of coastline  when you take out a membership.

And if you go on holiday around the UK, you can still use your membership - it's not exclusive to Sussex - there are over 500 places to enjoy, so even if you have a short weekend break away, it's worth checking to see what's in the area so that you can make the most of your membership and visit.  As well as England, Wales and Northern Ireland, you can use your National Trust membership card in 14 other countries, including Scotland.

Join today or why not give a gift membership?