Summer gardens in and around the South Downs

With the long, refreshing days of summer to look forward to, it’s time to make the most of nature – and what better way to celebrate nature’s delights than with a visit to a garden in the South Downs. The Capability Brown landscapes at Sheffield Park and Petworth, contemporary garden at Woolbeding and charming cottage garden at Alfriston Clergy House are all yours to explore.

Relax in the Herb garden at Woolbeding Garden

Woolbeding Gardens 

Discover delights at every turn with distinctive garden rooms set against thoughtfully composed borders. Formal gardens merge into the rural landscape of the River Rother, a perfect backdrop for the many sculptures and follies. A masterpiece of colour and design, you’ll lose hours exploring this carefully cultivated garden.

Alfriston clergy house vegetable garden in summer

Alfriston Clergy House 

The garden at the Clergy House has been designed and developed within the principals of the Arts and Crafts cottage garden style, and contains many plants at their best in the summer months.

Summer wildflower meadow with stone template and trees behind


In summer, Petworth’s eighteenth-century Pleasure Garden reveals a pretty mix of colour and planting styles. Wildflowers litter the garden meadows, against the historic backdrop of the Ionic Rotunda and Doric Temple. Roses, and later dahlias, fill the formal borders, and beyond lies the 700-acre historic park, criss-crossed with picturesque walking trails to explore.

Pink roses growing up the side of a greenhouse

Roses all summer at Hinton Ampner 

Over 90 varieties of rose burst in bloom between June and August at Hinton Ampner. A highly scented collection, many are repeat flowering, giving delicious fragrance and colour well into August: Look out for 100 ‘A Whiter Shade of Pale’ roses near the pond - Head Gardener John Wood's favourite.

Yew topiary in the Sunken Garden in July at Hinton Ampner

Hinton Ampner 

Exotically-coloured dahlias are beginning to create dramatic impact across the gardens, in hot oranges and reds, pretty pinks and yellows. New for this summer is eye-catching stripey-pink Mystic Dreamer in the sunken garden. In the walled garden, sweetpeas are creating a riot of colour, mingling with salads, fruit and veg – all destined for the kitchen.