Our Roots

A Fascinating History of Discovery

Borde Hill has a unique history rooted in nature and the power of plants and continues to be spearheaded by the passion of five generations of the Stephenson Clarke Family.

Borde Hill House -1870

Our History

Plants have been in our DNA since 1598 when Stephen Borde, the grandson of Henry VIII’s private herbalist and physician Andrew Borde, rebuilt the picturesque Elizabethan Mansion House at the core of our Estate.

Centuries later, Colonel Stephenson R Clarke was responsible for creating our nationally important Garden and plant collection. A horticultural pioneer, he sponsored plant hunting trips around the world, including Japan, China, Burma, Tasmania and the Andes. The result is one of the rarest collections of privately owned champion trees in the UK and one of the only places you can still see plants from all four corners of the world.

A Plant Lover’s Paradise

Planted with passion as a series of outdoor ‘Garden rooms’, highlights include the Azalea Ring, tranquil Italian Garden, stunning Rose Garden and newly replanted perennial summer borders. Listed by English Heritage as being of Grade II* historic importance and set within 383 acres of an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty on the High Weald, our House and Garden are surrounded by rolling Parkland and ancient Woodland beyond.

Over the last 130 years, five generations of the Stephenson Clarke Family have been committed to protecting and enhancing Borde Hill’s significant collection of plants, trees and shrubs. In 1999, the Garden won the South East Tourism Board’s prestigious ‘Attraction of the Year’ award and in 2004 it won the HHA/Christies Garden of the Year.

We are custodians of the Estate with a long-term goal to protect its natural beauty for future generations to enjoy. We couldn’t do this without the passionate team who work at Borde Hill. Thanks to our dedicated gardeners and growers we continue to give our plant collection the care it deserves.

We invite you to come and experience ‘joyous balance’ and the beauty of nature, where there’s something for everyone, from Woodland walks and horticultural talks, to food and drink events, live music performances, wellbeing workshops and activities for families of all ages.

Our Timeline

A Fascinating History of Discovery

West End Watercolour of Borde Hill House 1870

Borde Hill – The Beginnings

1598 to 1893

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The Stephenson Clarke Family.

The Garden Charity - To Present Day

1965 to date

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Press Coverage

Discover the Possibilities

A family next to the water feature in the Rose Garden at Borde Hill during summer.

Become a Member

Membership is your ticket to enjoy unlimited access to the Garden, Parkland and Woodland throughout the open season. Our members also receive free entry to a number of exciting events, from live music in the Garden to Specialist Plant Fairs and much more. Family Membership provides unlimited access to the Adventure Playground and free school holiday trails.

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Italian Garden at Borde Hill. Image: Molly Hollman

Our Garden & Grounds

Set within 383 acres of heritage listed Parkland, our formal Garden captivates and delights visitors with a series of intimate 'Garden rooms'. Beyond the formal Garden you can explore Woodland walks, the South Park and our lakes with outstanding views across the Sussex High Weald.

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A misty atmospheric view of trees in North Park at Borde Hill with cows in the distance.

Support Us

As a small, independent Garden Charity, we rely on your kind generosity to help fund our projects and to continue to grow sustainably, protecting our natural heritage for generations to come. 'Reinventing Borde Hill' is our most ambitious project to date and your support will help us to achieve exciting plans to benefit our local community.

It would make a huge difference if you would consider supporting us by making a donation – thank you.

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