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Highdown Gardens, Worthing

#1 of 7 in Parks in Worthing
Garden · Hidden Gem · Nature / Park
Highdown Gardens are gardens on the western edge of the town of Worthing, close to the village of Ferring and the National Trust archaeological site Highdown Hill, in West Sussex, England. Overlooking the sea from the South Downs, they contain a collection of rare plants and trees, collectively a national collection. The gardens are owned and maintained by Worthing Borough Council with free admission.

Created from a chalk quarry where there was little soil and unfavourable conditions for plant growth, the Chalk Garden at Highdown is the achievement of Sir Frederick Stern (1884–1967) and his wife, who purchased the 8.52 acres (3.45 ha) in 1909 and worked for 50 years to show that plants would grow on chalk.
The gardens were created during a period when expeditions were going to China and the Himalayas collecting rare and interesting plants. Many of the original plants from the early collections are in the garden today, particularly plants collected by Reginald Farrer and Ernest Henry Wilson.
On the death of Sir Frederick in 1967, aged 83, Lady Stern carried out his wishes and left the gardens to Worthing Borough Council.
During spring and early summer there is a succession of flowering bulbs: snowdrops, crocus, anemones and daffodils, followed by paeonies and bearded iris.
A visit to Highdown Gardens represents just the start of the adventure when you use our Worthing online trip builder to plot your vacation.
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Highdown Gardens reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.5
723 reviews
  • Free entry (but bookable online at present) and free parking at this public garden which has just re-opened after an upgrade. The rainfall this year has no doubt brought on the planting, which is...  more »
  • Very disappointing indeed. The gardens used to be well-tended and spectacular. Not so now. The recent makeover has seen the rose garden removed and replaced by raised beds with mixed herbaceous...  more »
  • A lovely place to visit with children under 10. Great for imaginative games and lots of shade for picnics. Beautiful and tranquil place to visit. Lots of benches to sit and enjoy the trees and flowers from.
  • We went to Highdown Gardens after hearing some good things. Being that Highdown Gardens is right on our doorstep we should check it out. Highdown Gardens sits on 8.5 acres and created out of an old chalk pit. The chalk garden was an achievement of Sir Frederick and Lady Stern. Who worked for 50 years to prove that plants would grow on chalk. In the process creating some stunning gardens. When you enter the gardens there is a little information section. Here you can find general information about the gardens. There is also a map for the kids to find specific species of plant. This is great for helping to keep them interested. Everywhere you look there is something interesting to see, smell and enjoy. Each section has its own set of planes that are grown in that area it seems. Trying to take it all in is difficult as there is so much there. We not only saw flowers and trees but Dragonfly's, Butterfly, Birds and Bee's. Which is great to see I wish I had brought a small lunch with us so we can sit and enjoy the gardens more. Should you suffer from mobility issues there is a route that takes you round the gardens. This is chip bark in places and if you have a wheel chair with small wheels you may struggle a little. Also the path is relatively even but it is a garden and people who are unsteady on there feet need to pay attention. All in all Highdown Gardens is a beautiful site and one I will be visiting many more times with my kids and wife.
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