- Keep your eyes peeled to spot deer in the ancient deer park, who have lived on the grounds for 400 years.
- Explore the traditional Walled Garden and discover the 1920's Wendy House.
- Take in the beauty of the Parham House collections, which includes embroidery, furniture and paintings.
- Try and make your way around the maze in the Parham House Pleasure Grounds.
If you have history lovers in the family and are looking for a fun-filled yet educational family day out, Parham House & Gardens is the ideal place to go. Packed with Elizabethan history, as well as beautiful gardens to explore, there is something for everyone at this remarkable historic location.
Situated in the parish of Parham in Sussex, Parham House was built in 1577. The first stone was laid by Thomas Palmer, who was only 2 years old at the time! Having always existed as a family home, Parham House, also known as Parham Park, is one of the finest examples of Elizabethan architecture. Parham House history goes back almost 500 years, and in that time only three families have lived there. The house was bought in 1601 by Sir Thomas Bishopp, and it remained in his bloodline for 300 years until 1922, when it was sold to Clive Pearson, whose descendants still use the house as their family home today. The house has had a fascinating history, housing evacuees from Peckham in London during World War II, as well as soldiers.
Now, Parham House stands surrounded by 875 acres of agricultural and parkland, including 300 acres of deer park that are home to Fallow deer. On your visit, see if you can spot one of these beautiful deer in Parham Park, who are descended from the original herd that were introduced to the park in 1628. Since 1948, the house has been opened to visitors, and now you can wander in and discover the treasures of this beautiful and historic building. The Parham House collection is one of the most spectacular things you can view at the house, and includes items that were collected by Veronica Tritton and her parents, over the past 60 years. Here, you'll see stunning embroidery, original furniture, and paintings from past centuries. Make sure to walk through the Long Gallery in the house, where you can view some of the historical items on display.
Once you've explored Parham House itself, head to the gardens and pleasure grounds to experience a real taste of history. The Walled Garden contains four acres of plants and gardens to explore, and contains an orchard, a glasshouse, and even a real 1920's Wendy House! Kids will have a brilliant time discovering the hidden secrets of this traditional English Walled Garden and can learn about the self-sustaining nature of the garden thanks to clever composting. The vast Pleasure Grounds on site are also worth a stroll around and are a real blast from the past. Tranquil and serene, the Pleasure Grounds contain a 19th-century greenhouse, a lake, and a turf maze named 'Veronica's Maze' after the current owner's great aunt. There are events on throughout the year at Parham, that appeal to families in particular. From the Parham House Country Fair that takes place at different times of the year, as well as a Christmas Fair that is bound to get you in the festive mood.
Once you've finished exploring Parham Park, why not stop off at The Big Kitchen Restaurant, a former Tudor kitchen turned restaurant? With indoor and outdoor seating, with locally sourced ingredients, this is a great way to enjoy a nutritious and tasty meal within a historical setting. For light snacks and drinks, head to the Mower Shed, which looks out over the Pleasure Grounds. You can also bring your own picnic, and enjoy in the picnic area by the House. Alternatively, if you feel like heading out of the park, The Moon in Storrington is a great place to go for a proper pub lunch, and it's only a five-minute drive away.
There are two shops on site, including a nursery where you can get a gift to take home as a souvenir of your day at Parham, or select your very own plant. The House Gift Shop is the best place to get local jams and preserves, as well as postcards and toiletries. The Nursery & Garden Shop has over 200 plants to choose from, where you can take your own piece of Parham home.
If you enjoyed your trip to Parham House and Gardens and are keen to take the family somewhere they can learn more about local history, check out the Bluebell Railway, where you can watch the Sussex countryside go by from the window of a real 19th-century steam train! Or, head to the historic city of Chichester, just a half-hour drive away, where you can explore the medieval Chichester Cathedral and learn all about the city's Roman past.
What to know before you go
- Parham House and Gardens have varying opening times throughout the year. Since this is still a residential family home, there are some times where the house can't be accessed by the public.
- All of the ground floor areas are accessible by wheelchair, but the first and second floors are only accessibly via stairs. Mobility scooters are not allowed inside the house.
- Only Assistance Dogs are allowed in the House.
- There are baby changing facilities and accessible toilets available on site.
- Parham House and Gardens is located between the A29 and A24, and you can access the entrance via the A283 on Pulborough-Storrington road.
- Free parking is available onsite, including spaces for Blue Badge holders.
- The nearest train station is Pulborough, and there are taxis available from the station.
- If travelling by bus, catch the no. 100 bus that comes hourly to the main gate.
- Cycling is not permitted anywhere in the grounds.