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Autumn foliage at Sheffield Park Gardens

Long walks through colourful autumn scenery is one of my favourite ways to spend a few hours at this time of year. Even better if it’s followed by a Sunday roast in front of a roaring fire at a country pub. For me it makes the approach of winter just a little easier to bear. If you’re looking for some stunning autumn colour in Sussex I know the perfect place. Sheffield Park Gardens in East Sussex.


Sheffield Park Gardens, East Sussex


Sheffield Park and Gardens near Uckfield in East Sussex, is the place to head to over the next few weeks to take in some gorgeous autumn colour.  It’s one of the best Sussex Gardens and one of the best UK gardens for autumn foliage. The National Trust gardens were specifically planted for autumn, or fall if you’re from across the pond, and the autumn display of rich colour is a show stopper.


Sheffield Park Gardens


Kick your way through a blanket of fallen foliage on a crisp, sunny day and you’ll get double the delight as the rich russets, ruby reds and golden hues of the landscape are reflected in the park lakes. Our first visit to Sheffield Park Gardens fell on a sunny autumn day – perfect for enjoying the blaze of autumn foliage against a crisp blue sky.

Sheffield Park House

Sheffield Park House


Sheffield Park house is private but the gardens, parkland and woodland surrounding it offer some beautiful walks through a colourful and beautifully planted landscape. Call it a horticultural work of art.

We love visiting beautiful, interesting and quirky gardens. Check out our round up post of some of our favourite Sussex Gardens that you might also like to visit.


Sheffield Park Gardens, near Uckfield


The Lakes

The garden has evolved over centuries with influences from Capability Brown and Humphry Repton but Arthur Soames’ legacy gives us the stunning autumn foliage we see today. Arthur Soames owned Sheffield Park at the beginning of the twentieth century and was responsible for introducing many of the species to the landscape including the colourful Acer, Taxodiums and Nyssa.

Nyssa sylvatica (Tupelo)

Nyssa at Sheffield ParkNyssa sylvatica (Tupelo)

Sheffield Park is famous for its Nyssa sylvatica (Tupelo) and has the largest collection on any one site. Four hundred were raised from seed by Arthur Soames in the early 1920s and there’s even a tree that’s been cultivated at the park called Nyssa Sylvatica ‘Sheffield Park’. You can buy one for your own garden in the plant sales area.

The reason for planting so many Nyssa was to recreate the spectacular autumn colours of the fall. Soames definitely succeeded and the gardens have received Grade I status to recognise their international importance for autumn colour.

Autumn Foliage, East Sussex


The Gardens

On arrival we took a photo on my phone of a map showing where to find the best examples of autumn colour. You’ll find it outside visitor reception. We’ve started taking photos now to save wasting paper. The map was really handy because we only had a couple of hours to explore so found the highlights quickly. Next time we’ll spend a lot more time there.


Sheffield Park Gardens, East Sussex


Five lakes are at the heart of the garden with a series of paths leading around them and through the woodland glades and magnificent trees that edge the lakes. As we were short on time we stuck to the areas around the lakes but there are acres of parkland with numerous walking trails to explore.


Sheffield Park Gardens, East SussexMaking friends with the locals

It’s not all about the foliage. Some plants produce colourful seeds. I like the delicate baby pink of the Euonymus (Spindle Tree) against the clear blue sky.

If you like local woodland walks then you might like to learn more about fungi foraging in East Sussex.


Euonymus (Spindle Tree) at Sheffield ParkEuonymus (Spindle Tree) at Sheffield Park


Acers are known for their vibrant colours ranging from lime greens and citrus yellows to deep crimson. There are 25 species of Acer at Sheffield Park and 240 specimens in total. I love the delicate feathery appearance of the leaves.


Japanese Maple

If you want to make your day really special you could arrive by steam train on the Bluebell Railway. The gardens are just a fifteen minute walk through the fields from the station.

Facilities at Sheffield Park Gardens

Sheffield Park is a National Trust property so you’ll find all the usual facilities to enhance your visit. The Coach House tea rooms are located at the entrance side of the car park. It serves a full menu of hot and cold lunches, snacks, cakes and drinks. You can leave the garden to use the tea room and re-enter as often as your like throughout your visit. Dogs are welcome in the garden room of the Coach House tea room.

If you’re in the garden itself and fancy light refreshments the Shant serves hot and cold drinks and snacks. There’s also a gift shop, second-hand bookshop and plant sales area.


Sheffield Park Gardens, East Sussex


Sheffield Park in autumn gets especially busy so it’s worth planning your visit. Sunny weekends are going to be crowded so check Sheffield Park’s ‘plan your day’ page for details on opening times, parking, facilities and dog access.

Where are your favourite Sussex spots for spectacular autumn colour and fall foliage? Please share so that we can all visit too.

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Dylan Jones

Friday 15th of November 2019

I visited last autumn and it has one of the best autumn displays I have seen in the UK. Wonderful photos and a great read.

Suzanne Jones

Friday 15th of November 2019

It's one of my favourite places for an autumn walk. The colours and planting are stunning.

the Curious Pixie

Wednesday 6th of November 2019

I love this colourful season and donning my hat and scarf.

Suzanne Jones

Wednesday 6th of November 2019

We love wrapping up warm and checking out all the autumn colour too!


Wednesday 6th of November 2019

I love autumn such a lot as it is full of vibrance, colour and energy. Your pictures vibrate off the page. What a great place to see autumn's awesomeness.

Suzanne Jones

Wednesday 6th of November 2019

It's the perfect place to soak up everything that's wonderful about the autumn!

Kathryn Burrington

Wednesday 6th of November 2019

I'm embarrassed to say that I've never heard of Sheffield Park House. It looks fabulous and just my cup of tea. Will definitely be visiting sometime. Lovely photos btw, Suzanne.

Suzanne Jones

Wednesday 6th of November 2019

Thanks Kathryn. Go soon before the beautiful colours start to fade - you won't regret it!


Sunday 3rd of November 2019

Wow... this is just so amazing! I can't believe that I live in England for more than a year, and I've missed so many beautiful pieces of the country...

Suzanne Jones

Monday 4th of November 2019

England might be a small country but there's so much to see and do - especially in Sussex!