Summer Plant Fair at Arundel Castle

A guide to our favourite ‘outdoor’ businesses and things to do in Brighton and Sussex

From shops that 'bring the outside in' to action packed days out


HS Botanics 

Inspired by the Japanese kokedama, Hand Spun Botanics established in 2016 by researching and learning the art of the suspended pot-less plant in a moss ball, spun by hand. Open every day, Hand Spun Botanics is nestled inside the Old Needlemakers in Lewes. Explore their jungle and discover a selection of popular and rarer plants to take home with you. Amongst their shop, you can also buy a curated selection of pots and botanical giftware. From a plant cafe jigsaw, to a ‘house of plants’ card game, their items are unique and wonderful. The botanical accessories you can buy are also gorgeous. Think botanic leaf earrings or cozy plant socks. If you fancy growing your own plants, you can also choose from a plethora of seeds to sprout in a brand new plant plot. Or, expand your plant knowledge and learn something new by attending an inspiring workshop at hand spun botanics. 

BOAT – Brighton Open Air Theatre 

Brighton Open Air Theatre opens its gates for the summer once more on Friday 21st April, with a bumper 9th season. For a unique outdoors experience, BOAT hosts theatre, comedy, music and dance for the whole family. A full programme of events will be announced on March the 15th at 10am, alongside ticket sales. BOAT exists to provide our community with outstanding entertainment, and to provide a platform for artists from all backgrounds to express themselves. It is located in Dyke Road Park, nestled in the beautiful greenery to become of the UK’s premiere outdoor performances space. The perfect opportunity to pack a picnic, and a bottle of fizz, settle down beneath the sunshine for some first-rate entertainment.  

One Garden 

At the far end of Stanmer Park and adjacent to Stanmer Village is One Garden. Also composed of One Market and One Kitchen, this spot is a breath of fresh air away from the hustle of the city. There is a farmer’s market of fresh, locally sourced produce and a gorgeous restaurant to dine in. The space was recently rediscovered and reinvented in Spring 2021 as an urban garden, expertly designed by modern-day landscape architect Dominic Cole. It is intended to inspire visitors as well as including productive traditional fruit and vegetable crops. As Plumpton College’s centre of horticultural excellence, One Garden offers a variety of educational courses covering floristry, horticulture and dog grooming. Find out more about the courses and workshops by going to the ‘Education’ section of their website. Or, take part in an art or food and drink workshop courtesy of One Events

Marmalade MTB 

Perhaps you prefer the thrill and adrenaline of being outdoors, instead of the peace that gardens and plants surmise. Marmalade MTB offers guided mountain biking across the South Downs so that you get the tranquility of incredible views, while practicing your fitness. Based in Lancing, they offer a year-round range of group rides and custom one-to-one sessions in the South Downs National Park and the stunning Surrey Hills. There is also the option for multi-day trips to areas such as South Wales or the Lake District if a biking holiday appeals to you. They are renowned for being a fun and friendly team of coaches with expertise to help you progress, as well as enjoying yourself. Laugh as you cycle up and over hills, and embrace the wind in your hair no matter whether you are new to mountain biking, or advanced. There is plenty to discover for all at Marmalade MTB. 

Nymans National Trust Site 

Nymans is a convincing creation of a medieval manor house remodelled in the 1920s and now a partial ruin. Located in Haywards Heath, it is the ultimate romantic spot to discover. You may also stumble across some rare and beautiful plants in the Grade II listed garden, or become one with the birds as you get lost roaming the dirt tracks of endless woods. Speak to one of the incredibly knowledgeable members of staff about gardening tips and tricks. Or, build a den with your children as spring fast approaches and you are looking for fun family activities to delve into outdoors. There are plenty of other facilities too including an art gallery and cafe which hosts afternoon tea. Go to their website to find out more and book tickets to Nymans today.

Arundel Castle

In the stunning historic town of Arundel you have Arundel Castle, the perfect spot to learn and discover Medieval history. The grounds reopen in April where you can spot one of the largest displays of tulips in the country. A beautiful setting for a picnic. Our Plant Fairs in the spring and summer have specialist nurseries with an array of plant and expert advice. You can be thrilled by combat, entertained by musicians, amazed by skilled crafts people, as well as enjoy some cooking and crafts. There really is something for the whole family. The next upcoming event will be the Medieval Festival on Easter weekend (Good Friday 7th – Easter Sunday 9th April 2023) which will creep up on us with the swoop of a sword so book your tickets now!

Hever Castle 

The childhood home of Anne Boleyn, otherwise known as Hever Castle and Gardens in Kent is the perfect day out. It is open for you to discover the lake walk, miniature model houses, maze, and of course history which dates back to the 14th Century. Its panelled rooms are regarded by some as ‘one of the best collections of Tudor portraits after the National Portrait Gallery’. Explore the fine furniture, tapestries, and antiques.Today, much of what you see is the incredible restoration efforts from the early 20th century of William Waldorf Astor. The gardens are award-winning, set in 125 acres of marvellous nature and classical statues. The Loggia, overlooking the 38-acre lake, is the perfect spot to relax before exploring the many cascades, grottoes and fountains too. There are also three areas for the kids to run around in and explore, including Tudor Towers. An overnight stay at Medley Court or The Bed and Breakfast are options for something different to this Easter. 

Petworth Gardens 

Woman with a little girl walking across the lawns to the house in October, Petworth House and Park, West Sussex.

Petworth Park is a 700-acre deer park with a 17th-century house which is home to one of the finest National Trust art collections, including works by Van Dyck, Turner and Gainsborough. The gardens include serpentine paths and woodland walks with so much to take in during a peaceful spring stroll. Designed by Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown, he introduced colourful informal planting and impressive monuments with views over the surrounding South Downs landscape. For families, make the most of the space to run, skip and jump. Spy daffodils and spot deers. Culture and history lovers, make sure you leave plenty of time to step inside the breathtaking state rooms and art galleries.

St Peter and St James Hospice 

‘dispensary’ is your local, fashionable charity shop destination for vintage homewares, garden furnishing and pre-loved clothes. Our stores in Brighton and Worthing stock an eclectic mix of both new and pre-loved items for you to buy. Plus, not only are you shopping sustainably by making purchases with us, you are also donating to charity. You will help ensure St Peter & St James Hospice are able to help those living with life-limiting illness and their families get the care and support they need. Our Brighton store is located at 138 Preston Drove, and is open Mon-Sat 09.00-17.00. Or, visit dispensary in Worthing at 1 Stanford Square, Mon-Sat 09.30-17.00 and Sun 10.30-16.30.

Fiona Howard Wallpapers 

Fiona Howard Wallpaper designs are created in Sussex using the traditional technique of hand carving and printing lino. It’s a slow and meticulous process that celebrates the beautiful textures and imperfections of a craft which is used less and less in today’s computer driven world. Fiona Howard wallpapers celebrate the British coast and countryside and are printed in the UK using environmentally-friendly inks on FSC papers. The floral, naturistic designs are bound to make a statement  in your home and there is also a wide range of colours to choose from. From pretty blue illustrations of harbour boats’, to soft shades of yellow honeysuckle, there is something for every taste. 

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