The former family home of esteemed British gardener Christopher Lloyd, this property and its experimental gardens are a visual delight.
Great Dixter House and Gardens is the former family home of gardening writer Christopher Lloyd, an influential figure in 20th-century horticulture. Explore the one-of-a-kind manor house, a hodgepodge of three different structures. Study the design, plant choice and color combinations of the exemplary gardens.
The house was created by merging a 15th-century residence, a 16th-century yeoman’s house transplanted from Kent and an early 20th-century structure. Approach the entrance and try to differentiate between the separate elements. The porch and everything to its right is from the earlier 15th- and 16th-century builds, while everything to the left of the porch dates from the 20th century.
Wander around the rooms inside and stop at the medieval Great Hall. The residents ate dinner in this grand room, one of the U.K.’s largest existing timber-framed halls.
Stroll around the grounds. Renowned for their inspiring plant combinations and design, the gardens are held in high esteem by horticulturists. Note the vivid colors of the borders, the sculpted yew topiary and the innovative exotic garden, with tropical plants from far-flung locales.
Don’t miss the oast house, which was used to dry hops for brewing. Many other oast houses in the East Sussex countryside have been converted into family homes. This one, however, has been preserved, offering an insightful glimpse into the local hop-growing industry.
Stop at the gift shop to purchase gardening tools, books or locally made souvenirs. Buy plants, seeds and pots from the nurseries. Next to the shop is an open-side loggia selling deli food, drinks and snacks. Eat lunch at the nearby picnic tables. Great Dixter often hosts events, from craft workshops to gardening education days. Check the on-line schedule to see what activities coincide with your visit.
Great Dixter House and Gardens is open from Tuesday to Sunday as well as bank holiday Mondays from late March to late October. The gardens open from late morning through afternoon while the house opens only in the afternoon. Find the estate in Northiam, a 30-minute drive north of Hastings. Use free on-site parking. Direct buses also run here from Hastings.