We both love architecture and photography and there’s no better place than West Sussex to discover some great spots that will blow you away. There’s the beautiful Standen House and Gardens near East Grinstead, an Arts & Craft house that was designed in the 19th Century by Philip Webb. Philip Morris designed the interior and you can see lots of examples of his wallpaper in every room as you tour the house. It’s incredible how well they’ve stood the test of time and still look relevant today, particularly from a design perspective. You can tour the house, take part in workshops or spend the whole day exploring the vast gardens. There’s a cafe in the grounds which is always nice for a cup of tea and slice of homemade cake. You can’t beat the Victoria Sponge.
Nymans Gardens, near Handcross (just off the A23) is equally stunning and worth a visit. There are hundreds of different species of rare plants throughout the grounds; Knot Garden is a particularly pretty spot. Events go on throughout the year including painting workshops and guided walks by the on-site rangers. The National Trust shop is brilliant and sells gifts, books, homewares, plants and garden bits and bobs – we always end up buying something when we visit. There’s a fabulous bookshop in an old shed in the gardens that’s worth a rummage too. If you enjoy exploring gardens, High Beeches in Handcross is also worth a look. It never gets too crowded and in the summer there is a beautiful wildflower meadow in full bloom – it’s such a beautiful spot.
While you’re in the area, make sure you save some time to see the Ouse Valley Viaduct. It’s breath taking from afar and even more mind blowing close up as you stand under the huge arches and admire the intricate brick work. It makes you feel very small when you’re standing underneath it and has to be one of the most enduring sights in the West Sussex countryside. Our go-to place when we’re in the area is The Half Moon pub in the small village of Warninglid. Always friendly and welcoming, you can drop in for a quick drink or enjoy lunch or dinner in the garden in the summer or next to a log fire in the winter. We feel blessed to have so many fantastic places on our doorstep.