Leonardslee Lakes and Gardens: We’re Open!
The wonderful woodland gardens of Leonardslee Lakes and Gardens opened to the public on Saturday April 6th 2019. Just in time for the start of the school holidays.
We were delighted to see the very many visitors who came along on the first and the following days, despite the chilly weather and blustery conditions over that weekend.
There were a range of entertainments to see and enjoy on the first day, as we celebrated the opening.
Flower Stilt Walkers created a stir at the new entrance and reception to the gardens. The greenhouse was looking stunning with its new flooring and restored pond - and home of the famous great crested newt that held up the restoration!
The greenhouse is available for private parties and other events by arrangement. It is a beautiful, spacious area for evening drinks, black tie and corporate events.
The Angel Delights provided some lovely live entertainment with their vocal harmonies and music from the 1940’s and 1950’s, which visitors enjoyed as they entered from the new carpark.
Also in the reception area is the plant sales shop. Whatever the weather, green-fingered visitors will find something for every season to take home and enjoy, as a reminder of Leonardslee.
The range of household plants features Asiatic lilies, irises, geraniums, fuchsias and petunias. Erysimum varieties include Bowles Mauve, Apricot Delight and Winter Passion.
In the outside areas you can select from a wide range of fresh herbs, from Lavender and Lemon Thyme to Orach Red and Fennel Bronze.
The plant shop offers many varieties of rhododendrons, including Hoppy, Albert Schweitzer, President Roosevelt, Black Magic and Yakushimanum Dopey. Camellia Japonica varieties include Aldophe Audusson and Lavinia Maggi.
There's much more besides, from honeysuckle vines to Pink Jasmine and Gojberry plants.
On the Saturday, the Horsham Ladies Morris Team gave a wonderful performance of traditional music and dancing, captivating visitors to the Clocktower Cafe.
The Clocktower cafe offers a wide range of self-service refreshments. There's a choice of hot and cold beverages, light lunches, cakes and pastries. The ideal spot to take a break after a walk around the lakes and gardens.
The farm shop, located within the cafe, features produce from the estate and selected local suppliers. You'll find freshly baked speciality breads, organic olives, local cheeses including Sussex Charmer, cured ham and beef from Sussex, chutneys, rillettes, sorbets, and cordials.
It's ideal for creating delicious picnics to take with you in the grounds of the estate or to enjoy in the Courtyard Cafe.
Close by, the stable block gift shop has a range of wonderful items especially picked for home and garden.
The shop offers gardening essentials approved by the Royal Horticultural Society.
You can also pick up a bottle of wine or two from the Benguela Collection or try Leonardslee branded toffee and chocolate. Or perhaps a bottle of Leonardslee gin - a collaboration between our Executive Chef Jean Delport and Horsham-based company Cabin Pressure spirits.
To celebrate the renaissance of Leonardslee Gardens our winemaker has released a limited edition of Leonardslee Sauvignon Blanc and Shiraz/Merlot blend. These are available from the estate shops and also through the Benguela Cove Wine Club online, which features the full range of our wines from the South African vineyard.
You could only hear them at first down by the lakes: the captivating sound of the Whispering Woods Choir, hidden amongst the trees. Then as you followed the harmonious voices, there they were, with many visitors stopping by to listen.
Yes, the highlight was of course the gardens themselves.
Be sure to pick up a leaflet at the reception or you can buy the extended guidebook, each features a map which lists the trails through the gardens and around the lakes. The guidebook additionally has articles on the fascinating history of the estate, as well as on the flora and fauna you can expect to see, the dolls’ house museum, food and refreshments and the vineyard.
Come and see us soon! We are open 7 days a week, come rain or shine. https://www.leonardsleegardens.co.uk/