I first discovered One Garden Brighton by chance on a visit to Stanmer Park last year. There’s lots going on there and as we ambled about, we came across a beautiful 1950s Palm House and a flint-stone walled garden.
Stanmer and the Pelhams
The village of Stanmer was mentioned in the Domesday Book, although man was here long before that. The Stanmer Estate was bought by the Pelham family in 1773. Pelham is a name you’ll come across often in Sussex. Before the family bought the Stanmer Estate, they owned Pevensey and Hastings Castles and land at Lewes, Laughton, Halland and Bishopstone but their family history dates back hundreds of years before that.
Having bought Stanmer, they employed renowned architect Nicholas Dubois to design the house and gardens (including the walled garden). Tragically, in 1926 the 6th Earl and the 7th Earl (the latter was only 21) both died of flu within a few days of one another. The 8th Earl was killed in action during WWII, shortly before the birth of the 9th Earl. In 1947, the Stanmer Estate was sold to the Brighton Corporation and opened to the public in the 1950s.
One Garden Brighton
In 2021, following a substantial restoration project, One Garden Brighton was opened to the public. It is now managed by Plumpton College and includes a series of gardens, a restaurant and a farm shop. They also host all sorts of events and workshops. The gardens were designed by architect Dominic Cole who worked on the Eden Project and they include an all-seasons garden, a contemplation garden, an urban garden, and a medicinal garden amongst others. In short, inspiration for everyone and it’s a wonderfully tranquil place to pass a few hours.
As you might expect, the restaurant uses local produce some of which is grown on-site or at Plumpton, and you can eat outside overlooking the gardens and basking in the warmth of the sunshine bouncing off the stone wall.
Meanwhile, the farm shop is a treasure trove of local produce and a place to fill your basket with wine, cheese, and meat (all produced at the Plumpton College campus). The whole site is rooted in supporting the local community whether that’s just by providing a green space and a breath of fresh air or by helping individuals or groups to acquire new skills. And of course, sustainable change is at the heart of what they’re doing here.
The Jubilee Palm House
The beautiful Palm House at the entrance to the walled garden is next up for restoration. Currently a little dilapidated and closed to the public, when you peep through the glass you get a real sense of its glory days. The aim is to have it fully restored and open to the public by 2024, and it’s going to be stunning. The idea is to include a specialist nursery with rare and exotic plants and a social space that can be used for all sorts of events.
Things to do
There are many reasons to visit this little corner of Brighton. You are right at the foot of the South Downs so it’s a good place to recuperate after a hearty walk. But it’s also right on the edge of Brighton and is a little pocket of serenity and a chance to escape from the hustle and bustle. As mentioned, they host lots of events, workshops and courses, and these include everything from yoga and forest bathing to pottery, foraging, floristry, propagation and … a wine club! More information can be found here and we’ll be sharing further details about the wine club soon.
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