Gardening lovers, walkers and history nuts alike – you’re in for a treat because we’ve got the perfect activity for your stack! At Nymans in West Sussex, you’ll find beautiful gardens and woodlands set around a magnificent old house and striking ruins, home to the fascinating history of the Messel family, and an abundance of wildlife and plantlife that makes for a perfect relaxing day out.
The Nymans date back to the early 19th century, being built by George Harrington in 1839. The estate was then purchased by the German Messel family, where they transformed the house into what you can see today – the children who inherited the home became famous, with the daughter, Anne, marrying into the aristocracy and having a son who would marry Prince Margaret, son of King George VI!
However, in 1947, the house was partially destroyed by fire, creating the medieval-looking ruins. You can now discover the story of the fire with the fantastic new exhibition, ‘Rising from the ashes; the story of the Nymans’ fire’. You’ll get a fascinating inside look at artefacts that survived the night of the fire, see the original diary entries from Leonard Messel about the event and more in an immersive exhibition. You can also see the surviving rooms of the house, including the Dining Room, Garden Hall, and library which contains a host of family photographs as well as paintings by Oliver Messel, a famous stage designer.
The nurturing of the garden played a huge part in the families recovery, which can be seen today in the grade II listed gardens, home to one of the most significant plant collections in the UK! Spring is a magical time to see the walled gardens, full of colourful, dazzling displays of flowers, from the bright bursts of daffodils to the pink and whites of magnolias. The carpets of native bluebells, and a variety of other wildflowers blooming in the peaceful woodland is a majestic sight, attracting plenty of birdlife and other wildlife – keep your ears open for the sound of the woodpecker, and your eyes peeled for the rare birds nesting in the trees.
Nymans makes for the ideal family day out, or a relaxing trip for anyone who’s looking to escape into nature for the day!