Advantages Hidden Gem. "Morris" Interior. Superb Views. Lovely Gardens.
Disadvantages Boggy Car Parks. Not an "All Weather" Venue.
If, like me, you have ever wondered just what an "Arts and Crafts" house is, or more specifically contains, then Standen can provide many of the answers.Here we were, on the first sunny Friday afternoon of the "season" wondering just how best to make use of such an unexpectedly pleasant afternoon. English Heritage and National Trust guide books to hand, we were looking for somewhere local, nowhere more than forty-five minutes drive from Brighton, and preferably that we had not previously visited. That criteria knocked out English Heritage properties at a stroke, at the same time, presenting us with a handful of National Trust ones.
With my leg not yet up to walking a big garden, such as Nymans or Sheffield Park, we plumped for a smaller property, a house and garden, which until picking up the guide book, neither of us had heard of.A forty minute country drive from home brought us into the western suburbs of East Grinstead and to "Standen".
If you do not know East Sussex
On this particularly fine mid-April Friday afternoon, we were not the only ones to have had the idea of visiting Standen. There is a long car park stretching down the side of the hill, with allocated staff and disabled spaces at the top, we drove down and down and finished up in an overflow field at the bottom of the hill. This car park would be a boggy nightmare on a wet day, or after heavy rain, and unless you have a four wheel drive I would advise against coming here in such conditions.Having safely parked the car we had the long, steep walk back up the hill to the house. The car park runs down the eastern side of the property and as we climb the hill there are some fine views westwards across the gardens and to the South Downs and Ashdown Forest beyond.
The unusually shaped house, attached as it is to estate workers cottages, forms two sides to an appealing little "village" green, called Goose Green, on the third side of which, adjacent to the drive, is located a converted barn where you will find the restaurant and information room. The general appearance standing here, observing the red tile hung and weather-boarded buildings complete with little leaded light windows, is rather of a picture book Sussex village.Standen is not, nor was it ever intended to be, a "grand country" house.
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