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Saturday 11th and Sunday 12th December, 10am- 5pm

Escape the rush of the high street and indulge in a spot of festive shopping at the Borde Hill Christmas Market. Soak up the sights, smells and sounds of Christmas while browsing over 45 hand-selected stalls of locally sourced products, from delicious food and drink, to unique crafts and gifts for all the family.

Foodies can explore a mouth-watering range of stalls at Jeremy’s, before popping along to the Borde Hill Garden Gift Shop and Marquee, and Green Tree Gallery to browse for beautiful gifts for loved ones or a personal treat. There will be pop-up stalls offering festive favourites including luxury hot chocolate and mulled wine to help keep the chill at bay. Children can write a letter to Santa, and for a small charge can take a ride on a mini vintage carousel. The Garden will be open for winter walks, dependent on the weather. Entry is FREE and pre-booking is not required. To find out more and to see the list of stallholders, click HERE

In line with Government guidance, please bring a face covering to wear in indoor retail spaces.

Borde Hill Gift Voucher
Garden Admission & Cream Tea for 2 Voucher – £35.00
Treat your loved ones to an unforgettable day out in the beauty of the Garden followed by a delicious Cream Tea for 2 at the Gardeners’ Retreat Café. Our Gift Vouchers are flexible and can be used any time during the 2022 open season.Gift Membership 
Give the gift of a great Sussex garden – from £32.00
Whether they’re garden enthusiasts or a family looking to spend time in the great outdoors, Membership makes a perfect gift. Offering unlimited access to the Garden throughout the open season, as well as free school holiday family trails, it’s the perfect choice for Christmas.

Buy a Gift Voucher or Membership


Rose Pruning Workshop
with Michael Marriott 
Thursday 20th January, 10.30am-1.00pmJoin one of the world’s leading rose experts, Michael Marriott, previously Head Rosarian at David Austin Roses, for this highly recommended workshop. Looking at the theory of rose pruning, the workshop will develop your knowledge to ensure your own roses perform to their potential, producing beautiful summer blooms. Includes practical demonstrations in the Rose Garden followed by a light lunch inside the Marquee. Tickets: £45.00 (Members £36.00) >Read more
Open Air Opera Tickets 2022 
A gift for opera lovers
Britain’s leading outdoor touring company, Opera Brava, will be returning to Borde Hill to present Bizet’s Carmen on 22 July and Rossini’s The Barber of Seville on 23 July 2022. Accompanied by a chamber ensemble and performed against the backdrop of the Elizabethan Mansion House, the operas are a highlight of the summer with tickets making a unique and memorable gift for Christmas >Find out more

Join our 10th birthday celebrations!
Elderflower Fields is having a party, and you’re all invited. Be part of a fantastic wild weekend of
music, sport, art, performance and non-stop festival fun at the idyllic countryside setting of
Pippingford Park in the Ashdown Forest.
Designed especially for families with younger children, Elderflower Fields provides plenty of
space to camp under the stars with friends for an unforgettable wild adventure. The perfect
chance to set yourself free and connect with nature in an area of outstanding natural beauty.
The award winning Elderflower Fields adventure offers some of the finest local artisan food and
drink whilst showcasing a spectacular line-up of performers from Sussex and beyond.
Partnering with a host of experts in sports, arts and nature, families are invited to try new things
together in a safe and nurturing environment.
Everyone’s invited to Elderflower Fields!
Book your wild family adventure today and join the party to start summer 2022 with a bang.
Watch the Elderflower Fields highlights video
Tickets on sale now – see website for current prices

It’s hard to believe how a small gathering of just a few hundred friends has blossomed over 10 years into
an award-winning family festival welcoming almost 5000 guests. Elderflower Fields was created in 2012
by a team of friends under the So Sussex umbrella. Set within stunning grounds and a magical woodland
in the Ashdown Forest, Pippingford Park also hosts So Sussex’s second family festival, Into The Trees.
So Sussex offers people a range of enjoyable, educational and fun outdoor experiences to develop their
understanding and appreciation of the local environment. Working in partnership with a range of
wonderfully talented, enthusiastic and professional individuals and like-minded organisations, the team
deliver award-winning outdoor experiences including newly launched The Living Coast by Bike and the
successful Schools Without Walls programme. Elderflower Fields and Into The Trees are the first two So
Sussex festivals encouraging kids and their families to spend more time outdoors.
Since creating Elderflower Fields the ambition has been to create a wealth of great activities for children
and families to take part in with organisations who love what they do and can inspire people beyond the
festival. In 2021 the festival welcomed around 5000 guests to join the wild adventure, with more
entertainment and activities on offer than ever before.


‘Elderflower Fields – Best family festival for trying something new’
‘Elderflower Fields has raised the bar for what I now want out of a family festival’
‘Absolutely magical. I am an avid festival goer and this was just fantastic. It felt like a very safe festival and
truly created with children in mind, but still a very lovely experience for the grown-ups too’
‘Such a brilliant festival! So much for the kids to do. The sports and arts camps are great for the kids and
give parents a break. They also loved the high rope climbing and swinging on the ropes in the trees.
The complimentary Sunday picnic was delicious! I love that it’s not too crowded. So friendly’
‘Second year attending this amazing event and once again exceeded all expectations. The children had
an absolute blast! In their words; ‘the best weekend ever and this year was even better!’
‘Fantastic weekend. Our first camping experience as a family and we all loved it. Wonderful
adventures in the wild! Will be back next year to make more memories’
‘What an amazing, extremely well run, family-friendly festival in the Sussex countryside. It’s like a mini,
family-friendly Glastonbury – music was great and we loved the green, woodland setting. Our kids
thoroughly enjoyed the woodland and nature bits as well as the science tent and rock climbing’

  • First ever Lindfield Repair Café an outstanding success.
  • More than 45 visitors with items repaired
  • Kids table very popular


With an amazing team of 32 volunteers, led by local enthusiast Trevor Carpenter, we were able to greet visitors, provide refreshments and, of course, carry out repairs at the first Lindfield Repair Cafe. The event took place on Saturday 6th November at the United Reformed Church in Lindfield and we were delighted to have Richard Talman, of rtfj, award-winning local jewellers, to open it.  Richard has appeared several times on the BBC’s The Repair Shop in recent years. We also welcomed several local councillors and our local MP, Mims Davies.


Our goal is to reduce waste by providing a volunteer-based repair service to anyone in Lindfield and surrounding areas. Items repaired by our team of skilled volunteers included a china cat; secateurs; a kid’s scooter; a jumper; a picture frame; an electric toy car; a toaster; waterproof trousers; a cardigan; a projector; a kettle; a teddy bear; an ornamental clown; three bracelets; a food processor; jeans; a digital clock; a woollen jacket; a handbag chain; a radio; a bobble hat; a 40-year-old soft toy; kitchen scales; an old knife; a clock; a china cat; and a onesie. We also sharpened knives and still have items coming back next month. Our volunteer refreshments team did a fabulous job and contributed to a great atmosphere on the day. Our teas, coffee and amazing choice of homemade cakes, including vegan and gluten-free options were deservedly popular. Huge thanks to White Feather Remembrance Co., who loaned us their vintage bone china cups and cake stands which helped to make our opening truly special.


Most of our visitors were from Lindfield or Haywards Heath, but we also attracted others from Ardingly, Chelwood Gate and even as far as Guildford. We had a great mix of age groups, from children all the way up to the over sixties. Our Kids Area was very popular with youngsters enthusiastically taking items apart to see what was inside and how they worked.  This month our ‘future repairers’ had the opportunity to open an old tape/cd/radio detachable speaker player. “I was completely blown away by the turn out for our first event on Saturday.” said Trevor.


Finally and perhaps most importantly, thank you to everyone who took the time to visit us and bring items for repair and to all the volunteers, particularly the repairers, who helped to make the day such a success.


Please spread the word so that we can continue to make repairing fun and prevent more items from ending up in landfill.


Lindfield Repair Café is open on the first Saturday of every month at the United Reformed Church, 52 High Street, Lindfield from 10am to 1pm.  (On bank holiday weekends the date will move to the second Saturday of the month)


Lindfield Repair Café Forthcoming Events: Kids Room:


Saturday 4th December: Toys and Donations

Bring your loved toys that need to be repaired.
We are also collecting toys to be donated to a local children’s Christmas toy collection


Saturday 8th January: Computers

This month we are joining forces with Computers for Kids, a local charity that repair computers to donate to children to aid them with their school work at home.

Kids will get an opportunity to take apart and see what it looks like inside a computer.

Please also bring unwanted computers to donate to this amazing charity


Ditchling Museum of Art + Craft is delighted to announce a major new exhibition celebrating one of Britain’s most beloved performers, Dame Vera Lynn. Running 8 January – 18 April 2022, Dame Vera Lynn: An Extraordinary Life will showcase over 100 objects from the estate of the ‘Forces’ Sweetheart’, including numerous previously unseen personal items. Unveiled today is a new portrait of Dame Vera by Neil Gower, commemorating the entertainer’s life and work, and her love of Ditchling, where she lived from the 1940s until her death in 2020.


Exhibiting never-before-seen objects from Dame Vera’s private collection, Dame Vera Lynn: An Extraordinary Life will offer unparalleled insight into both the public and personal life of the singer, whose songs were crucial in maintaining morale during the Second World War. The exhibition will also reveal never-before-seen artworks by Dame Vera, who was an enthusiastic painter for much of her life. There will be 20 works on display, comprising portraiture and still-lifes painted at her London home, following the Second World War, and at Ditchling, where she owned a home from 1944.


The exhibition will chronicle the nine decades Dame Vera spent in the public eye, from her early days as a singer, to her wartime service in the Entertainments National Service Association (ENSA), through to her extensive post-war entertainment career and charitable works. Extraordinary objects detailing Dame Vera’s early life as a singer and dancer include the feather dress made by her mother and the tiara she wore when performing in Madame Harris’ Kracker Kabaret Kids, the touring singing troupe she left school to join at just 11 years old. Her 1930s wage book will also be on display, alongside her adolescent ballet and tap shoes.


A copy of a top secret instruction from King George VI for Vera Lynn to perform at the then HRH Princess Elizabeth II’s 16th birthday in 1942 will be on display. The letter from the Variety Booking Manager at the BBC asks Vera Lynn to secretly excuse herself from her duties at the Empire Theatre, London for the Royal Command Performance at Windsor Castle. The letter was found alongside a programme from the party, signed by the other performers who appeared – these include the comedian Tommy Handley from ITMA (It’s That Man Again radio show) and Jack Warner who was to find fame in Dixon of Dock Green.


During the Second World War Dame Vera toured Egypt, India and Burma, first with the ENSA and then under the management of the Army. Photographs of the young performer with troops will be on display. Visitors will also be able to read moving letters sent into her radio show Sincerely Yours, which connected servicemen with their loved ones at home. The show received upwards of 2,000 requests a week. Dame Vera’s secret leather diary from her three-month tour through Burma in 1944 will also be shown to the public for the first time, as she travelled 5,000 miles across the world in dangerous wartime conditions to perform to soldiers in the Burmese jungle. The Burma Star and War Medal she was awarded in 1985 for her efforts will also be on display, alongside the iconic military shorts she wore when performing to Allied troops.


In the 1950s and 60s Dame Vera travelled the globe with her husband Harry Lewis who was her manager,  and daughter Virginia – previously unseen objects from this time, including her travel trunk, travel iron and vanity case will be on display. A Super 8 movie camera and a fabulously contemporary purple dress purchased by the singer when in Honolulu, Hawaii will also be featured.


Other highlights from Dame Vera’s wardrobe will include dresses from her countless public appearances such as one in black velvet worn in 1952 when she appeared on the front of the New Musical Express having been the first non American artist to reach No.1 in the Billboard music chart in the USA. Five one-off pieces created exclusively for Dame Vera by British designer Colin Becke will also be on display. The outfits, all made in the 1950s, include corseted dresses with net skirts such as the one she wore with the hearing impaired American singer Johnny Ray and a sequined one shoulder taffeta dress she wore with British singer Yana. A selection of Dame Vera’s accessories, including handbags, gloves, hats and shoes will also be displayed.


Dresses from appearances on ITV and the BBC in the 1970s, including some fromThe Vera Lynn Show (1973-1975) and an orange billow-sleeve dress worn in her iconic appearance in the Morecambe and Wise Christmas Show in 1972 will be shown. Visitors can also see a purple maxi dress with a floral sequined bodice and incredible pleated flute shaped sleeves which she wore to meet the Queen Mother and a floaty multi-tiered chiffon maxi dress from when she met the singer Ella Fitzgerald.  Posters, playbills, gold discs and awards, including her 1959 Ivor Novello and her 2018 Classic BRIT Lifetime Achievement Award will also be on display, recognising Dame Vera’s outstanding achievements in the entertainment industry.


Never-before-seen highlights from Dame Vera Lynn’s personal archive will include her wartime wedding suit, which will be displayed alongside the small, surviving tier from her austere cardboard wedding cake from her marriage to musician Harry Lewis in 1941.


Dame Vera went on to attend the Arthur Segal School of Painting for Professionals and Non-Professionals in England’s Lane, London. At these classes, Segal’s students would study still life setups; sitters would also come and model for the students. Dame Vera Lynn painted for most of her life, and no less than 300 of her paintings are in existence. The vast majority have never been seen before in public. Over 20 of these works will be on display for the very first time.


Dame Vera Lynn’s commitment to charity work and her patronage of Ditchling Museum of Art + Craft will be acknowledged through a number of her medals for services to the nation, as well as her Grand Order of the Water Rats award from 1973. Dame Vera was an active participant in village life – photographs of her at various events in the museum’s 36-year history will be displayed, alongside an original pen and ink cartoon for Freight magazine and photograph of her participating in the ‘Ban the Lorries’ Protest in March 1973.


The new portrait of the entertainer by Neil Gower was commissioned by Ditchling Museum of Art + Craft, following Dame Vera’s death in 2020 and was unveiled at the museum today. Neil Gower based the design on bookplates produced by the St Dominic’s Press in Ditchling, and has incorporated Sussex locations Dame Vera knew and loved including the Ditchling village church St Margaret’s, where she is also commemorated, and the Seven Sisters cliffs.


Virginia Lewis-Jones, daughter of Dame Vera Lynn, said:


“I’m highly delighted that this exhibition is taking place and it’s right and proper that it should begin its life at Ditchling Museum of Art + Craft. I look forward to the opening, and we hope it brings lots of interest and joy to the people who come and visit.”


Steph Fuller, Director and CEO of Ditchling Museum of Art + Craft said:


“This has been an incredibly exciting exhibition to put together to commemorate our former Patron Dame Vera Lynn.  Displaying her personal items including the diaries and correspondence really brings Dame Vera to life for a new generation, and it’s been a privilege to be able to work with her family to do that.”

Celebrating two decades since the first tour in 2002

Family Grapevine readers can win a pair of tickets to see the ballet company perform at the Theatre Royal Brighton in February, click here for more details.

Raymond Gubbay Limited is pleased to announce that the The Russian State Ballet of Siberia will once again tour the UK in 2021 and 2022, accompanied by the Russian State Ballet Orchestra, presenting its iconic and classical repertoire of THE NUTCRACKER, SWAN LAKE, SNOW MAIDEN, CINDERELLA and ROMEO AND JULIET, brought to life with magical special effects. This season marks the twentieth anniversary of the company’s first season in the UK, as it returns to St David’s Hall Cardiff.

The twentieth anniversary season launches at St David’s Hall Cardiff with performances from 18 December 2021, and will tour throughout the UK from January – March, with venue dates in Basingstoke, Blackpool, Bournemouth, Brighton, Bristol, Buxton, Darlington, Edinburgh, High Wycombe, Hull, Ipswich, Leicester, Liverpool, Northampton, Nottingham, Manchester, Oxford, Peterborough, Reading, Sheffield, Southend, Wimbledon and Wolverhampton.

The Russian State Ballet of Siberia – led by Artistic Director Sergei Bobrov, and Music Director Anatoly Tchepurnoi – has established itself as one of Russia’s leading ballet companies and has built an international reputation for delivering performances of outstanding quality and depth. Since their first Christmas season at St David’s Hall in Cardiff in 2002, the Company has completed 18 UK tours and has had success in Italy, Spain, Slovakia, Japan, Turkey, Bulgaria, Taiwan, United Arab Emirates and Singapore.

Sergei Bobrov said, “I am delighted to return to the UK this year.  The response of audiences wherever the company performs is overwhelming.  We can’t wait to be back on stage again in front of UK audiences once again.”

The ballets to be performed this season are:

Swan Lake

The greatest romantic ballet of all time is brought to life by Tchaikovsky’s haunting and unforgettable score. From the impressive splendour of the Palace ballroom to the moon-lit lake where swans glide in perfect formation, this compelling tale of tragic romance has it all. From Odile, the temptress in black tutu as she seduces the Prince by spinning with captivating precision to the spellbound purity of the swan queen, Odette, as she flutters with emotional intensity, the dual role of Odette/Odile is one of ballet’s most unmissable technical challenges.


The Nutcracker

This most famous of fantasy ballets for all the family begins as night falls on Christmas Eve. As snowflakes fall outside, the warm glow of the open fire sends flickering shadows across the boughs of the Christmas tree and all the presents beneath. When midnight strikes we are swept away to a fairytale world where nothing is quite as it seems, toy dolls spring to life, the Mouse King and his mouse army battle with the Nutcracker Prince and we travel through the Land of Snow to an enchanted place where the magic really begins…


Snow Maiden

Protected from the outside world by Father Frost, the exquisite Snow Maiden plays innocently amongst the dancing snowflakes in the enchanted Land of Frost. Based on a traditional folk-tale, set in the snow covered landscape of rural Russia, this seasonal sparkler follows the Snow Maiden as she dances into the human world. Captivated by the colourful village and the people who live there, she ventures too far and is swept up by feelings of love, temptation and betrayal. When finally she surrenders herself completely and warms to love, her heart melts in a tragic embrace.


Romeo and Juliet

Shakespeare’s tale of primal passion and timeless tragedy is brought to life by Prokofiev’s soaring score, set in bustling Renaissance Verona and with an emotionally charged choreography that befits the world’s greatest love story. From the grandeur of the masked ball to the intimacy of the lovers’ balcony, this star-crossed story of duels, bitter family feuds and love that cannot be, is unmissable.



The world’s favourite rags to riches fairy-tale where dreams can come true is a magical mix of Prokofiev’s energetic score, lively choreography and colourful costumes. Whilst her mad/bad stepmother and her ill-mannered daughters prepare for the Royal Ball, graceful Cinderella can only dream of dancing with the dashing Prince. Later that evening, her rags become a glittering gown and she is swept magically to the Ball. From that very moment the Prince is smitten, midnight strikes and one lost crystal slipper later, he must now embark on a journey to find his lost love….


The Russian State Ballet of Siberia was formed in 1978 by talented graduates from choreographic schools in Moscow, St Petersburg, Kiev, Novosibirsk and Yekaterinburg. Many have gone on to become award winning artists and made prominent appearances at international ballet competitions and festivals. The company is proud of its dancers who are highly acclaimed worldwide for their unique interpretation of both dramatic and comic roles, delivering performances of sincere emotional and dramatic integrity. Over 100 opera and ballet productions have been created for the Theatre over the past 40 years with many receiving high critical and public acclaim. Since 2002, Sergei Bobrov has been Artistic Director of the Krasnoyarsk State Ballet (Russian State Ballet of Siberia). Leading dancers from across Russia have forged their skills and artistry under his direction in new productions of timeless classics such as The Nutcracker, Swan Lake, The Sleeping Beauty, Coppélia and La Fille mal gardée. Under the direction of Sergei Bobrov, the Russian State Ballet of Siberia continues to expand its repertoire. In addition to commissioning new works from within Russia and abroad, the company specializes in 20th-Century full-length ballets such as Cinderella, Romeo and Juliet, Spartacus, The Golden Age, Mozart & Salieri, Electra and Antigone.


Visit Wakehurst on a spellbinding winter lantern trail for all ages. The enchanting winter lantern trail is back for its eighth year, and it’s packed full of surprises.

🌙 As darkness falls, the gardens are brought to life with glowing lanterns, mesmerising projections, immersive soundscapes, and glistening torches of fire.

✨ Book your tickets for an unmissable evening of winter wonder and marvel at the record-breaking installations, from the UK’s largest natural screen, to the tallest living Christmas tree adorned with 1,800 lights.

☕ Warm yourself with drinks, sweet treats and hot food, or book the Winter Lodge experience for a glass of fizz and unlimited petit-fours, light-bites and winter-warmers.

Prices start at £10 (Child) and £16 (Adult Kew/Wakehurst Member). Under 4’s go free. Family tickets are available. Discount for Wakehurst and Kew members.

Select evenings, Thursday 25 November – Sunday 2 January 2021. Entry time slots every 20 minutes between 4.30pm and 8.10pm.

Quiet sessions available for visitors with disabilities, such as autism, to make for a more comfortable visit.

Book tickets online 

Visitors this winter to Leonardslee Lakes and Gardens, in Horsham, West Sussex, will enjoy an ‘illuminated spectacular’ after-dark winter light trail. The historic Grade I Listed gardens will be lit up with light displays and large-scale installations throughout the estate, with live music and theatrical performances.

Leonardslee Illuminated runs from 4.15pm until late, from November 25th -28th, and then December 2nd – 5th, 9th – 12th, and 15th to 22nd. Advance booking online only, at

The entrance area in the car park will include a funfair, food stalls and a Christmas market. There will also be a marquee selling a wide range of wines from Leonardslee’s sister estate Benguela Cove Lagoon Wine Estate in South Africa.

The magic begins on fairy light lit walkways that meander down to the lakes in the valley below. Along the trail there are thousands of lights, artist performances and illuminated designs. Artpod has created the illuminated replicas of Leonardslee’s famous wallabies and other woodland creatures.

A further highlight is at the bottom of the 240-acre estate’s valley, where last year there was a huge illuminated moon over the lake, and atmospheric music created by Foz Creative, specialists in outdoor sound and music entertainment. This year sees the addition of an illuminated Earth suspended over the lakes, its reflection cast across the still water, which is sure to leave visitors mesmerised, as last year – when there were several marriage proposals pre-arranged with this spectacular backdrop.

Murmuration Arts are creating musical theatre performances of bed-time lullabies collected from local mothers and around the world. Elevated over the lakes in an illuminated nightgown, The Mother’s Voice is hushed and lulls her children with sublime lullabies as they drift in and out of sleep.

Further along the trail visitors are sure to be entranced by The Drummer Spark, creators of spectacular outdoor music and drama. Shared Space and Light project their large-scale 3D video animations onto the gardens’ trees and buildings. The programme also includes Same Sky, who design illuminated night-time displays and lighting.

The 240-acre estate was established by the Loder family, great Victorian plant collectors, who collected trees and shrubs from all over the world. The collection is exceptional in its diversity and maturity, with several rare ‘champion’ trees, threatened in their natural habitat. There is an acclaimed Pulham rock garden built in 1890, a deer park and a colony of wallabies wandering the estate.

The dolls’ house exhibition depicts the Edwardian era estate and neighbouring villages at 1:12 scale. Leonardslee House features classic afternoon tea and Restaurant Interlude, which was awarded a Michelin Star in 2019.

Leonardslee Lakes and Gardens are open every day except Christmas Day, 9am – 4pm.

For further information

From October 2021, visitors to Leonardslee Lakes and Gardens, near Horsham in West Sussex, can enjoy a luxury overnight stay after visiting the Grade I Listed woodland estate and experiencing the multi-course tasting menu at Restaurant Interlude, where Executive Chef Jean Delport recently won a Michelin Star for a second consecutive year:

Grade II Listed Leonardslee House, built in an Italianate style in 1855, features ten charming en-suite bedrooms, newly created on the first floor. They are accessed by the magnificent hallway and galleried landing, which is bathed in natural light from an original domed atrium.

The great Victorian plant collector Sir Edmund Loder purchased the estate in 1889 and planted the extensive gardens and exotic flora that create the estate’s charismatic charm, offering guests a holiday break to remember.

Each bespoke bedroom features the fabric and wallpaper style of a quintessential British interior design house, overseen by the Johnston Parke Interiors studio and architects Gould Baxter. This creates an immersive experience for guests, with classic themes by some of the best known and loved British designers.

The owner of the estate is award-winning entrepreneur Penny Streeter OBE, who has focused with her design team on British-based suppliers, many of whom print their fabrics and wallpapers in the UK, with a strong focus on sustainable and artisan composition.

The designers have sourced antiques to reduce any environmental impact and commissioned furniture suppliers who make their products in the UK. This includes David Seyfried for upholstery, Hypnos for beds, BTC Original for lighting, as well as Edward Bulmer, and Farrow and Ball for paints.

The rooms feature superb views over the extensive lawns, down to the 240-acre historic woodlands and across to the South Downs.

“The new accommodation extends the range of visitors who can visit and now stay overnight, to enjoy the full Leonardslee experience – the beautiful gardens, classic afternoon tea, wine tastings and dinner at Michelin Star Restaurant Interlude. Perhaps too to take in a round of golf at our neighbouring property, Mannings Heath Golf and Wine Estate close by,” says Penny Streeter.

Leonardslee House. Ten rooms, from £350 – £550 per night.

Michelin Star Restaurant Interlude

Executive Chef Jean Delport says that Restaurant Interlude’s multi-course tasting menu is inspired by the woodland gardens with ingredients foraged or grown on the Leonardslee estate, or sourced from selected local farms. The ambience is of an intimate dining experience within the estate’s Italianate mansion, with a self-playing piano to greet guests on arrival for cocktails in the bar.

Interlude dinner guests can enjoy a seasonal menu that might include estate rabbit, winter purslane, hogweed cider and charcoal; also, fallow deer venison with local braai and sour raspberry, or oyster, foraged greens and juniper.

The restaurant features award-winning wines from the owner’s South African vineyards at Benguela Cove Lagoon Wine Estate. In the daytime, guests can also enjoy wine tastings and tours of the Pinotage vineyard that was planted at Leonardslee in 2018, the first commercial planting of this varietal in the UK. The 3.1-acre vineyard will produce 4,000 bottles in 2022.

Penny Streeter OBE brought Executive Chef Jean Delport from his native South Africa to open the restaurant in October 2018. He is only the second South African chef to win a Michelin Star, and one of the youngest recipients, then aged 32. He says:

“Interlude connects lovers of fine dining with the very spirit of Leonardslee. Every dish in each seasonal, multi-course tasting menu is designed to a hunter-gatherer concept of food that’s foraged, cultivated and raised on the estate or close by. It is savoured and enjoyed as an intimate dining experience, almost a dinner party within the estate’s beautiful mansion house.”

Leonardslee House also hosts a highly popular afternoon tea in the daytime, with a classic and a savoury menu, cooked and prepared by the Michelin Star kitchen, with produce sourced from the estate and locally. Menus include home-baked raisin and plain scones, patisseries and then a choice from the cake trolley.

Restaurant Interlude Sample Menu £145. Open Thursday to Sunday, seating from 6pm.
Afternoon Tea

Leonardslee Lakes and Gardens Estate

The 240-acre Leonardslee woodland estate was established by the Loder family, the great Victorian plant collectors, who collected trees and shrubs from all over the world. The collection is exceptional in its diversity and maturity, with several rare ‘champion’ trees, threatened in their natural habitat.

The woodland gardens are designed around seven interlaced lakes set in a steep valley, offering a variety of walks with stunning views – and now a new sculpture park around the lakes featuring the largest outdoor exhibition by one artist this year, Anton Smit.

There is an acclaimed Pulham rock garden built in 1890, a deer park and a colony of wallabies wandering the estate. Visitors can also see the popular dolls’ house exhibition, which depicts the Edwardian era estate and neighbouring villages at 1:12 scale.

There is an on-site cafe and garden and gift shop, with a year-round programme of visual, music and performance arts, including crafts fairs, pop-up restaurants and other entertainments.

New for 2021: The only Santa steam train out of London

Families can get into the Christmas spirit on a magical steam journey with Steam Dreams Rail Co. departing from London Victoria station this December. The Santa Steam Express is new for 2021 and will be the only Santa steam train on the mainline out of London. There will be three daily departures of the service (0920, 1200 and 1415) on three different dates – Monday, 13 December, Tuesday, 14 December, Monday, 20 December and Wednesday, 22 December.


Passengers will be welcomed into festively decorated 1950’s atmospheric carriages where Santa and his helpers will be on hand to meet the children and hand out a Christmas gift to all those aged two and over.


The vintage steam journey will be pulled by the 61306 Mayflower, one of only two surviving B1 locomotives, and will last one hour and fifteen minutes.


David Buck, Chairman of Steam Dreams Rail Co. commented: ‘We are very excited to launch the first ever Santa steam train service experience from London this Christmas. We are anticipating huge interest in the trips which we hope will create both everlasting memories and new traditions for those families joining one of these special departures.’


First Class tickets are £40 per child, £55 per adult or £149 for a family ticket (two adults and two children or one adult and three children).


Standard Class tickets are £20 per child, £35 per adult or £99 for a family ticket (two adults and two children or one adult and three children).


Click here for further information on the Santa Steam Express schedule this December.


For further information on Steam Dreams’ Christmas trips or for details of group discounts, call 01483 209888 or go online

  • Saturday 16 October – Sunday 31 October
  • Gruffalo’s Child interactive trail at Kew Gardens and Wakehurst in Sussex
  • Magical, autumnal landscapes and breath-taking wildlife set the scene
  • Trail builds on phenomenal success of last year’s Gruffalo trail


The Gruffalo’s Child trail, running this autumn, plots an enchanting journey through Kew Gardens and also at Kew’s wild botanic garden, Wakehurst, in Sussex. Adventurous visitors will encounter much-loved characters from author Julia Donaldson and illustrator Axel Scheffler’s book, including, Fox, Owl, Snake, The Gruffalo, the Gruffalo’s Child and of course, the Big Bad Mouse. At Kew Gardens, intrepid explorers of all ages are invited to enjoy a trail across the Gardens, beginning at Brentford Gate, snaking through Kew’s Rhododendron Dell and concluding at the Children’s Garden.

Throughout their wild journey, visitors will collect clues to cultivate their curiosity in their search for The Gruffalo’s Child and other characters. As part of their adventure, young visitors will get the chance to play and explore in Kew Gardens’ striking natural landscapes – home to 14,000 trees – and will become immersed in the enchanting world of The Gruffalo’s Child, brought to life with stunning planting which replicates the snow-covered landscape of the beloved book.

As well as the Gruffalo’s Child trail, Kew Gardens’ captivating autumn landscape boasts a canopy bursting with autumnal colours, and visitors can also learn more about seasonal produce in Kew’s Kitchen Garden, home to a harvest of beetroots, carrots and giant pumpkins, making a visit to Kew at this time of the year a truly memorable day out for the whole family.

Wakehurst, Kew’s wild botanic garden in Sussex, will also host its very own trail, winding through Bethlehem Woods and a Tree Trunk Trek. Admission to the Gruffalo’s Child Trail is included with entry to the gardens, which can be pre-booked. Activities on offer at Wakehurst include ‘Make a Stick Buddy’, as well as a Creative Cookery Camp where visitors will explore further into the woodland before returning to base camp for cave building, hands-on nature art and outdoor cooking over a campfire. Both Kew Gardens and Wakehurst will be open early for members on selected dates between 16th – 31st October, full details are available here.

Sandra Botterell, Director of Marketing and Commercial Enterprise at Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew said: “After the success of last year’s event, we are delighted to be welcoming The Gruffalo’s Child to Kew this autumn, allowing intrepid visitors to immerse themselves in the magic of Donaldson and Scheffler’s beloved imaginative world. This new adventure for 2021 promises to be one for all of the family to enjoy, particularly against the stunning botanical backdrops of both Kew and Wakehurst in the autumn.”

Daryl Shute, Brand Director at Magic Light Pictures, added: “It is so wonderful to enter a second year of this partnership with Kew. Their sites and ethos make the perfect home for The Gruffalo’s Child – a young, curious character who is discovering her environment, adventuring bravely and engaging with nature. Following the success of The Gruffalo Adventures they hosted last year, we know it will be a great activity.”