Trip Planner:   Europe  /  UK  /  England  /  West Sussex  /  Worthing  /  Highdown Gardens

Highdown Gardens, Worthing

4.6
#1 of 6 in Parks in Worthing
Highdown Gardens is situated between Ferring and Goring nestled on the South Downs and operated by Adur and Worthing Council.

Entry into the gardens is free of charge.

These stunningly beautiful gardens on downland countryside overlooking the sea, are one of the least known gardens in the area, but it is one that offers a unique collection of rare plants and trees. In fact the whole garden has been deemed a National Collection.

The 34479 sq m (8.52 acres) of garden were created out of a chalk pit overlooking the Downs, where there was little soil and very unfavourable conditions for plant growth. The Chalk Garden at Highdown is the achievement of Sir Frederick and Lady Stern who worked for 50 years to prove that plants would grow on chalk. This was during a period when many expeditions were going out to China and the Himalayan regions collecting rare and beautiful plants.

Many of the original plants from the early collections can still be seen in the garden today, particularly plants collected by two pioneering botanists Reginald Farrer and Ernest Henry Wilson.

Farrer, Reginald 1880-1920

Reginald Farrer was born at Ingleborough Hall in Clapham, North Yorkshire and from a small child was very passionate about plants and would explore hills around his home. Farrer went to Balliol College in Oxford and during his student years helped to build a rock garden in St. John's College.

Plants from many of Reginald Farrer's early expeditions to the Himalayan regions, China and Japan can be seen in Highdown Gardens today. The plant Geranium farreri is named after him. He also wrote and painted about plants and gardening.

Wilson, Ernest Henry 1876-1930

Ernest Henry Wilson was born in Chipping Campden, Gloucestershire and studied at the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew. In 1899 Wilson was recommended by the then Director of Kew to travel to China to find a source of The Handkerchief Tree (Davidia involucrata). Wilson not only found the source but 400 additional new plants, including the yellow poppy (Meconopsis integrifolia), many new rhododendrons, roses and primuli. He was also instrumental in discovering the Lilium regale, the large white trumpet type lily which graces many gardens.

Wilson became Director of the Arnold Arbortetum in Boston, Massachusetts in 1927 which was quite an achievement at the age of 50. Unfortunately Wilson and his wife were tragically killed in a road accident in Massachusetts in 1930.

The gardens look their best in Spring and early Summer when there is a colourful succession of spring bulbs such as Snowdrops, Crocus, Anemones and Daffodils followed by Paeonies and Bearded Iris

Opening Hours

January - Monday - Friday, 10am - 4pm

February - Monday - Friday, 10am - 4.30pm

March - Monday - Friday, 10am - 4.30pm

April - Monday - Sunday, 10am - 6pm

May - Monday - Sunday, 10am - 6pm

June - Monday - Sunday, 10am - 6pm

July - Monday - Sunday, 10am - 6pm

August - Monday - Sunday, 10am - 6pm

September - Monday - Sunday, 10am - 6pm

October - Monday - Friday, 10am - 4.30pm

November - Monday - Friday, 10am - 4.30pm

December - Monday - Friday, 10am - 4pm
A visit to Highdown Gardens represents just the start of the adventure when you use our Worthing online trip builder to plot your vacation.
Source
Create an itinerary including Highdown Gardens
map
Highdown Gardens Reviews
Rate this attraction
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5
575 reviews
Google
4.7
TripAdvisor
  • Highdown Gardens was a private garden developed in an old chalk pit, making them quite unique in the fact that so many plant have flourished. Add to that that the owner brought back many plants and se...  more »
  • It's very nice.The food is really lovely,have been there a few times,it's a bit like a carvery but i prefer Toby carvery or Lyons farm,but this has got a lovely view.  more »
  • A lovely place with varying types of gardens, very peaceful and restful. Admittedly I went there during lovely weather but nevertheless it was lovely and hard to believe that it is entirely free to vi...  more »
Google
  • What amazing gardens, very well designed and different flowers depending on the time of the year. Wonderful walks. Feels different every time I visit. Facilities are just about acceptable but don't take away from the experience. There's a coffee shop next door with an incredible selection of cakes and lunch options. Beautiful views of the downs. Highly recommended!
  • Had our wedding reception at high down towers and photos in high down gardens which is a lovely place. Try to do a picnic once a year.
  • Exceptional gardens funded by the local council. Quiet mid week but can be busy at weekends.
  • Beautiful gardens especially in the spring. Well maintained and lovely views across the south downs.
  • A nice place for a wander, but nowhere near as well maintained as it used to be... slightly disappointing.
Places to stay near Highdown Gardens

Plan your trip to Worthing

  • Get a personalized plan

    A complete day-by-day itinerary
    based on your preferences
  • Customize it

    Refine your plan. We'll find the
    best routes and schedules
  • Book it

    Choose from the best hotels
    and activities. Up to 50% off
  • Manage it

    Everything in one place.
    Everyone on the same page.

Plans to Highdown Gardens by other users

44 days in London & Brighton BY A USER FROM TURKEY July, culture, beaches, historic sites, museums, wildlife, fast-paced, popular PREFERENCES: July, culture, beaches, historic sites, museums, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Fast-paced 33 days in Ashford BY A USER FROM IRAQ May, romantic, popular PREFERENCES: May, romantic ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 1 day in Worthing BY A USER FROM UNITED KINGDOM May, popular PREFERENCES: May ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 60 days in Lymington BY A USER FROM AUSTRALIA March, culture, outdoors, historic sites, museums, wildlife, slow & easy, hidden gems PREFERENCES: March, culture, outdoors, historic sites, museums, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Hidden gems PACE: Slow & easy 22 days in West Sussex BY A USER FROM CANADA September, popular PREFERENCES: September ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 8 days in Bognor Regis BY A USER FROM UNITED KINGDOM July, relaxing, romantic, slow & easy, popular PREFERENCES: July, relaxing, romantic ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Slow & easy 8 days in Bognor Regis BY A USER FROM UNITED KINGDOM July, kids, beaches, slow & easy, popular PREFERENCES: July, kids, beaches ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Slow & easy 8 days in West Sussex BY A USER FROM UNITED KINGDOM May, popular PREFERENCES: May ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 59 days in United Kingdom & Ireland BY A USER FROM INDIA May, hidden gems PREFERENCES: May ATTRACTION STYLE: Hidden gems PACE: Medium 8 days in Bognor Regis BY A USER FROM UNITED KINGDOM June, kids, popular PREFERENCES: June, kids ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 3 days in Worthing BY A USER FROM UNITED KINGDOM June, kids, popular PREFERENCES: June, kids ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 7 days in West Sussex BY A USER FROM UNITED KINGDOM July, popular PREFERENCES: July ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium
View more plans