Historic Houses & Castles

Listed from A to Z

1066 Battle of Hastings Abbey & Battlefield

High Street, Battle, East Sussex

2016 marks 950-years since the battle that defined England. Stand here at the centre of that landscape where England’s future was fought.

From Summer 2016, for the first time, climb to the top of the gatehouse to experience the stunning rooftop views and understand how the clash between Normans and Saxons might have played out.

See the new special exhibition exploring the battle, including a blow by blow account of the day itself, from dawn to dusk. Throughout the summer, don't miss the costumed characters bringing the times of 1066 to life.

Start planning your attack on the country’s most famous battlefield and abbey ruins, and experience the atmosphere for yourself.

Anne of Cleves House Museum

Southover High Street, Lewes

Anne of Cleves House formed part of Anne’s annulment settlement from Henry VIII in 1540. The House is a wonderful example of a late medieval timber framed building. The earliest parts date from the late 1400’s, and there were further additions up until the 17th century.

Today you can catch the atmosphere of how people lived during Tudor times in the kitchen, bedroom and parlour, which have authentic domestic furnishings.
The house also contains the Museum of Lewes History and the Wealden Iron Gallery which illustrates this local Tudor industry.

The pretty gardens behind are inspired by Tudor planting schemes and contains traditional plants including a medlar tree. The café and Tudor tea garden has a separate access to the museum which allows non museum visitors to come and enjoy a drink in the setting of this beautiful former home.

Arundel Castle & Gardens

Arundel, West Sussex

Ancient Castle and stately home of the Dukes of Norfolk, reflecting nearly 1,000 years of history with magnificent views across the South Downs and River Arun.

The stunning and inspirational walled gardens include the internationally renowned Collector Earl’s Garden, The Stumpery; the hot and cool Herbaceous Borders with contrasting foliage plants; the Cut Flower Garden and Organic Kitchen Garden and a restored lean-to peach house and vinery.

Do not miss the Fitzalan Chapel with it's own delightful garden planted in white, and the Rose Garden, with old-fashioned English roses, in what was once a Medieval bowling green.

Bodiam Castle

Bodiam, Near Robertsbridge, East Sussex

One of Britain's most picturesque and evocative castles. Spiral staircases, battlements, portcullis and murder holes - Bodiam Castle is the real thing. Windows to gaze through where arrows were once loosed; towers to climb and ruins to explore where knights once roamed.

Bodiam is a place to inspire and let your imagination run wild. Our colourful castle characters bring the medieval world to life through intriguing tales. A Knight’s Peril invites you to solve a mystery and save the day.

Our tea room makes the perfect end to your visit, with a tempting array of homemade cakes and lunches. With lot of events throughout the year and open all year around, what are you waiting for?

Charleston: A Bloomsbury Home and Garden

Firle, near Lewes, East Sussex

Visit Charleston, the home of Bloomsbury art and ideas. With its unique interiors and beautiful walled garden, it was the home of artists Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant from 1916. Together they decorated the house over the decades they spent here, painting walls, doors and furniture and filling the rooms with their own paintings and works by artists they knew and admired, such as Picasso, Derain, Sickert and Renoir.

Events, workshops and literature Festivals throughout the year with a lovely Shop and Café on site.

OPEN Wed to Sun 1 Mar to 29 Oct plus Bank Holiday Mondays. See website for opening hours, prices and to book your House tour in advance. Groups welcome by prior arrangement, call 01323 811626.

Chichester Cathedral

West Street, Chichester, West Sussex

In the heart of Chichester, this magnificent 900 year old Cathedral has treasures ranging from medieval stone carvings to world famous 20th century artworks. Open every day and all year with free entry. Free guided tours and special trails for children. Regular exhibitions, free weekly lunchtime concerts and a superb Cloisters Café and Shop. A fascinating place to visit.

Open: Summer: 7.15am - 7.00pm, Winter: 7.15am - 6.00pm. All are welcome. Choral Evensong daily (except Wednesday) during term time.

Admission: Free entry. Donations greatly appreciated.

Hastings Castle and 1066 Story

Castle Hill Rd, Hastings, East Sussex

Discover the history of Britain’s first ever Norman castle.

Take in the breath-taking views of the Hastings coastline while you explore the history of this iconic building.

Learn how the Battle of Hastings unfolded in the medieval siege tent, as a 20 minute video show takes you on a journey from 1066 right up to the present day.

Wander through the Castle grounds and be transported back through time, explore the whispering dungeons and the remains of the chapel.

Whatever your age, Hastings Castle is a fun yet education day out for all the family.

Herstmonceux Castle, Gardens and Grounds

Wartling Road Entrance, Hailsham, East Sussex

Set within 300 acres of carefully managed woodland with themed formal gardens to the rear, the 15th century moated Herstmonceux Castle embodies the history of medieval England and the romance of renaissance Europe.

Starting at the front of the castle, visitors have the perfect opportunity to take some photographs before walking around to Chestnut Tree Walk and heading towards Chestnuts Tea Room and the Visitors Centre, before taking a gentle stroll around our formal gardens and woodland trails.

The castle operates as an International Study centre and is not freely open to the public. We do offer conducted organised tours at an extra charge. Please check our website for times and prices.

Lewes Castle & Barbican House Museum

High Street, Lewes

Lewes Castle was begun soon after the Battle of Hastings in 1066, by the Norman William de Warenne, a close friend of William the Conqueror. The impressive Barbican Gate was added in the 14th Century.
Climb the steep zig zag steps to the Keep to get stunning panoramic views of the Sussex countryside all the way from the Downs to the coast.

The adjoining Barbican House Museum is home to the Museum of Sussex Archaeology with artefacts and a mini cinema which tells the story of Lewes and the castle from early prehistoric to late Medieval times.
The museum is also home to the Battle of Lewes Tapestry which depicts the battle that opened the way for the eventual introduction of representative democracy.

Michelham Priory House & Gardens

Michelham Priory Road, Upper Dicker, Near Hailsham, East Sussex

Michelham Priory boasts England’s longest medieval water filled moat and offers a great day out for all the family. The moat encircles a site steeped in history dating back to 1229, from its foundation by Augustinian canons, through the destruction caused by the dissolution of the monasteries in Tudor times and into its later life as a country house.

On this picturesque island you will find the magnificent Tudor mansion, impressive 14th-century gatehouse with an interactive medieval gallery, working watermill and forge, replica Bronze Age roundhouse and Elizabethan Great Barn. In the 7acres of grounds discover the kitchen garden, physic and medieval herb garden. Visit the website for the regular events program throughout the year.

Petworth House & Park

Petworth, West Sussex

A magnificent treasure house set in the rolling South Downs National Park with a 700 acre deer park, waiting to be explored.

Petworth House contains the National Trust's finest collection of art. On display are important pieces by Van Dyck, Reynolds and Blake and vast murals by Louis Laguerre.

It houses an array of magnificent ancient and Neo-classical sculpture, fine furniture and carvings by Grinling Gibbons.

St Mary's House & Gardens

Bramber, West Sussex

Enchanting historic 15th century timber-framed house, with magnificent gardens, and charming cottage-style tea rooms, in the picturesque award-winning downland village of Bramber. St Mary's is still a lived-in home, with fine panelled rooms, including the unique Elizabethan trompe l'oeil Painted Room.

There are five acres of beautiful gardens, with an exceptional example of the prehistoric Ginkgo Biloba 'living fossil' tree, amusing animal topiary, and 'Secret' Garden with original Victorian fruit wall and pineapple pits, beautiful rose garden, unusual circular English Poetry Garden, landscape water garden and Rural Museum.

The Royal Pavilion

Brighton, East Sussex

Built as King George IV’s pleasure palace when Brighton was the heart of fashionable Regency society, the Royal Pavilion was also used by King William IV and Queen Victoria. Today it has been restored to its original 1823 splendour with Indian architecture contrasted with interiors inspired by China.

Features include audio guides in various languages (available for a small charge), Royal Pavilion Tearoom, gift shop and stunning Regency Gardens.

Visit 1066 Country

Hastings

Experience the echoes of England’s extraordinary past in this unique blend of historic coast and unspoilt countryside. With its famous arts, music and medieval festivals, enchanting gardens and walks, attractions to suit all ages, museums and castles, antique shops and unrivalled local produce. There is no other place with such a rich past and great future. 2016 – 950th anniversary of the Battle of Hastings – come celebrate!