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The garden at Sheffield Park and Garden

Water lilies on Middle Lake in the summer at Sheffield Park and Garden, East Sussex
Water lilies on Middle Lake in the summer at Sheffield Park and Garden | © National Trust Images/John Miller

The garden is a horticultural work of art, formed through centuries of landscape design, with influences of ‘Capability’ Brown and Humphry Repton. Four lakes form its heart, with paths circulating through the glades and wooded areas surrounding them. Each owner has left their impression, which can still be seen today.

Summer highlights at Sheffield Park

Sheffield Park's lakes and gardens burst with colour during the summer months. From jewel-like waterlilies to meandering swathes of wildflowers or dramatic explosions of rhododendrons. Experience a 360-degree view of the bright waterlily blooms and buzzing dragonflies from the floating pontoon, installed specially for this natural event.

The summer-long Lakes & Lilies Festivall is a celebration of this, with sights and activities for all-ages including the Exotic Spots family trail during the summer holidays, stand-up paddleboarding, evening openings, art workshops, free Kwik Cricket sessions and more for all-ages.

Winding paths, grand trees, lakes, cascades and bridges provide a varied landscape to explore as well as quiet spots to stretch out on a picnic blanket. Off the beaten track, nature thrives in the 300 acres of parkland and woods that surround the garden.

Crimson waterlilies at Sheffield Park and Garden
Crimson waterlilies at Sheffield Park and Garden during the Waterlily Festival | © National Trust/Nina Elliot-Newman


Water has always been a key element of the landscape at Sheffield Park and the lakes have become an iconic feature, which is much photographed and enjoyed by everyone who visits. Their hand-dug, clay-lined construction creates dramatic reflections of the carefully planned planting that surrounds them.

Trees and shrubs

The vast collection of trees and large shrubs are planted to create vistas that enhance the feeling of scale and grandeur of the property. The garden has received a Grade I listing and holds the National Collection of Ghent Azaleas.

Champion trees

The garden boasts 14,500 trees and includes over 80 Champion trees, such as an original tupelo (Nyssa sylvatica) ‘Sheffield Park’ planted by Arthur Soames that was discovered by former head gardener, Archie Skinner.

It was awarded its champion status for girth and height and differs from others of the genus in that it colours 10 days earlier with particular intensity.

The oldest recorded living tree in the garden is an English oak (Quercus robur), dated to 1485. Make sure you walk down Big Tree Walk to see the giants of the garden, including the Giant Redwood.

Pulham Falls

The Pulham Falls, which connect Ten Foot Pond and Middle Lake, were commissioned by the 3rd Earl of Sheffield and installed between 1882 and 1885 by Pulham and Son.

We turn the falls on between 12pm and 1pm every Tuesday and Friday – a spectacular sight to take in during your visit.

Garden tours

Delve deeper into Sheffield Park’s horticulture, history and conservation work on a free Garden Tour. Our Gardeners and Rangers lead a series of walks throughout the year to showcase our seasonal beauty and work. Please visit the events page to find out more.
Gardener and Ranger walks are free but normal garden admission applies. Available on a first come, first served basis.

Or join one of our volunteer guides as they bring the gardens to life. Most Thursday plus other days in the week subject to volunteer availability - please do check before travelling.

Water cascading down the Pulham Falls lined with spring flowers and lush foliage at Sheffield Park and Garden, Sussex
The Pulham Falls at Sheffield Park and Garden, Sussex | © National Trust Images/John Miller

Sheffield Wood

Having been left undisturbed for years, this historic woodland is a hidden delight of peace and tranquillity.

Local artist Keith Petit was commissioned to produce a series of sculptures in the woods. His use of natural materials and forms add some surprising interventions and help tell the story of the woodland.

  • Access to Sheffield Wood is from Flint Road and Big Tree Walk.
  • As it's off the beaten track, sturdy footwear is recommended, and it may not be suitable for buggies and pushchairs.
  • Dogs are welcome, apart from before 1pm on Saturday mornings, but please keep them on a lead.

Flora and fauna

Sheffield Wood has a mosaic of different habitats: conifer woods, broadleaf woods, coppice hornbeam, open rides and glades, all of which are vital for wildlife.

The rides and paths that have been created in the woods are the perfect habitat to see many species of insects such as bees, hoverflies and butterflies, including the speckled wood, silver washed fritillary and the white admiral. Sheffield Wood is also a paradise for fungi spotters, but we kindly request that visitors don't pick or touch fungi.


Lots of birds also make Sheffield Wood their home, from buzzards that drift overhead to owls that fly low through the woods to catch their prey.

Greater spotted woodpeckers can be heard drumming their way into trees in search of food, and chiffchaffs, treecreepers and goldcrests can be seen and heard across the woods. We’ve also been lucky enough to see crossbills feeding.

Fill a day with adventure

The garden is teeming with opportunities to let children’s imagination run wild and explore nature’s outdoor playground.

Seasonal trails and activities provide a chance to take part in something new, or you can try ticking off your '50 things to do before you’re 11¾' list by flying a kite, playing in a stream, or building a den.

Take a look at our visiting Sheffield Park and Garden with families page for more ideas.

View from First Bridge towards Middle Lake at Sheffield Park East Sussex

Discover more at Sheffield Park and Garden

Find out when Sheffield Park and Garden is open, how to get here, the things to see and do and more.

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