Britain’s Best Getaways: Parham House and Gardens, West Sussex

Tucked away in lovely West Sussex, Parham House and gardens is an Elizabethan stone house built on the site of a former monastery.  Parham was once a family home, dating back to 1577, but opened its doors to the public in 1948. Over the past centuries, Parham’s timeless beauty and tranquillity haven’t changed much. We will take you on a tour through the stunning house and its many rare collections of paintings, furniture, needlework, antiquities and the impressive gardens.

It all started in 1577, when the first stone of the Parham House was laid by Thomas Palmer. Later, in 1601, he sold the property to Sir Thomas Bysshopp, where for the next 320 years Bysshopp descendants lived. In 1922 the Parham estate was sold to Clive and Alicia Pearson and together they restored the House with great care. They eventually decided to open the House to visitors in 1948.

The tour starts at the Parham’s Gardens, which consist of seven acres of Pleasure Grounds and a four acre Walled Garden, both originating from the 18th century.

The Head Gardeners of Parham have spent the last twenty years creating a romantic, vibrant and colourful garden. The Walled Garden also includes an orchard with fruit trees, a herb garden and a vegetable garden. The flowers in the House are cut from the garden each week and arranged in the special ‘Parham way’ throughout the rooms.

The Pleasure Grounds consist of a lake and a small classical summer house, but the latter was added in the early nineteenth century. In addition, a white marble statue, sculpted by Ivan Mestrovic, is displayed in the Three-Arched-Summer House. You can also discover Veronica’s Maze, which was built in 1991 and named after Veronica Tritton, who inherited Parham from Clive and Alicia Pearson and continued their work of restoring the Parham Estate.

The tour continues to Parnham House, which is entered through Fountain Court and will lead you to the Kitchen Court Yard. Inside you will find the magnificent Great Hall, with its early English furniture and very fine portraits. In addition, in the Great Parlour there are portraits of Elizabeth of Bohemia by Paul van Somer, Charles I by Mytens and Susan Villiers by William Larkin. Next we move onto the Saloon, which was remodelled in 1790 by the 12th Lord Zouche, from a wood-store into an elegantly cream and golden room. There is much more to explore, including the Great Chamber, with the Great Bed, the West Room, which is hung with portraits of ancestors of the Byshopp family, the Green Ante Room, containing one of the earliest surviving examples of needlework carpets, the Green Room, the Long Gallery, the White Room and the Ship Room. To find out more about what to see and find in each individual room, such as the rare collection of paintings, furniture, needlework and antiquities, click here.

Parham House and Gardens  are open every Sunday & Bank Holiday Monday in April and October, and from May to September on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Sunday and Bank Holidays.

Less than half an hour from the Parham House and Gardens lies the stunning Angel Hotel and Bentleys Grill. Situated in the heart of the South Downs National Park, the Angel Hotel and Bentleys restaurant offers a unique blend of fresh contemporary design, while paying respect to the heritage of over 400 years of history. Bentleys, serves some of the most delicious Argentinean steaks in the world. It is also ideally located to visit the many local events and attractions – besides Parham House and Gardens – including the house, cars and racing at Goodwood, Cowdray Park’s polo and ruins, Petworth’s house and gardens and West Dean Gardens. Or, of course, merely step outside the front door into the heart of the South Downs National Park for some of the finest walking in England.

The Parham House image, the Walled Garden image and the Fountain Court image by Rictor Norton & David Allen.