The design sensibility and talents displayed in this colorful garden, seem to run in the family. Messel's nephew is photographer Lord Snowdon, once the Queen's brother-in-law, and his grand nephew is furniture designer Viscount Linley, Princess Margaret's son.
The habitable portion of a romantic, mock-medieval house, damaged by fire in 1947, can be visited along with the garden. Rooms are displayed much as the family would have used them during the 1920s to 1940s, while the ruins left by the fire form a backdrop for the garden. Besides the garden, the property includes 275 acres of woodland, a conifer avenue and a lake with views across Sussex to the South Downs.
Nyman Garden Essentials
- Where:Nymans Garden, Handcross, nr Haywards Heath, West Sussex RH17 6EB, England
- Phone: +44 (0)1444 405250
- The garden is open all year
- Last admission is half an hour before closing time, or dusk if earlier.
- Admission to some parts of the garden is limited in winter.
- Wednesday through Sunday and Bank Holiday Mondays, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Valentine's Day through December 23)
- Saturday and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. ( January 5 to February 8)
- See their website for shop, Christmas shop and restaurant hours
- Admission £7.00, children £3.40, family £17.40. Winter weekend admissions are just over half price.
- Services for the disabled: Seven wheelchairs are available to be booked. A tactile map is available for the audio guide.
- By car: The garden is about 37 miles from Central London, off the London-Brighton M23/A23 road on the B2115 at Handcross. It is 4.5 miles south of Crawley. If you use a satnav system, the OS map reference is 187:TQ265294.
- By train: Balcome Station is 4.5 miles away, Crawley is 5.5 miles. Both are between 40 minutes and an hour from London Victoria. Metrobus lines 273 and 271 pick up at Crawley Station.
Despite the large woodland park, Nymans is a small garden. On bank holidays and popular spring and summer weekends the garden fills up and admission can be restricted. So if you come to this area, have a "plan B" - The Royal Pavilion in Brighton, for example.
Read about More Great English Gardens.