by Janis / 0 comments - Orginally published:1st August 2023

Homage to the stylish movement of Arts and Crafts

We’re off exploring another beautiful National Trust site in West Sussex, and this time we are visiting Standen House and Gardens, a rural retreat just south of East Grinstead.

Standen House is a magnificent Arts and Crafts styled family home awash with stylish modern designs and exquisite interiors crafted by Morris & Co. The attention to detail that the National Trust has maintained is exceptional.

It was such a pleasure exploring the interior of Standen House and the gardens, particularly wending our way amongst the delightful vegetable patches of the kitchen garden. And, of course, enjoying the exceptional views across the Wealden countryside and Ashdown Forest beyond.

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Visiting Standen House and Garden will also allow you the opportunity to head to another National Trust historic home, Nymans House.

So, let’s grab our National Trust cards and explore Standen House and Garden.

Where is Standen House & Gardens

How to get to Standen House & Garden

Standen House postcode is RH19 4NE or you can find it by using What3words ///bought.piano.sake

- By Train
The nearest mainline station to Standen House and Garden is East Grinstead, 2 miles away. A taxi rank is at the station.

- By Car
Standen House in West Sussex is 2 miles south of East Grinstead, just off the West Hoathly Road. The site is signposted from the town centre.

There’s a free car park for National Trust members; parking charges may apply to non-members.

A little bit of history on Standen House

The Beale family home
In 1890 the prosperous Beale family, originally from Birmingham, purchased farmland south of East Grinstead with the desire to create a family rural retreat. James Beale and his wife Margaret had nonconformist ideas. They wanted to design a stylish, modern home for their seven children to cherish and love.
the conservatory and terrace at standen house and garden, a national trust property in west sussex, england
Conservatory and Terrace

Immediately after the land was acquired, the Beale’s began implementing plans for the house and garden and planting the 12-acre Arts and Crafts hillside retreat. The barns and stables that remained from the old farmsteads were blended with the surroundings to create a further character.

The Beale’s primary residence was in Holland Park, London; however, over the years, Standen House became a firm favourite with their grandchildren and future retirement.

the entrance to standen house, a national trust property in west sussex is a large brick building with a wooden door and a stone porch.
Entrance to Standen House

James Beale and the architect Philip Webb drew up in-depth plans for the Arts and Crafts house, revised many times to create the perfect modern country home. Standen House is designed using locally quarried sandstone and materials in the Wealden vernacular style.

The interior design of Standen House embraced the flair and creativity of William Morris and is a stunning example of the originality of the Arts and Crafts movement. The eye-catching fabrics and furnishings, along with William Morris carpets and decorative tiles, can be seen throughout the house.

Standen House was completed in 1894 at a cost of £18,065.
the reception room at standen house is decorated in the arts and crafts style, with white wood panelled walls and a fireplace
The reception room in Standen House
Standen House was granted Grade I listed status in 1948. Following the death of the Beale’s youngest daughter Helen in 1972, Standen House and Garden was bequeathed to the National Trust, who have lovingly maintained it ever since.

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Visiting Standen House

Capturing a moment in time
As you stroll by the historic farmhouse with its overflowing exquisite cottage garden and through the archway into the charming courtyard of Standen House, you’re immediately transported to another era. You can just imagine the Beale’s greeting visiting families and friends and welcoming them into their magnificent country retreat.
the courtyard entrance to standen house with a wooden door and a stone archway.
Historic farmhouse in Standen Estate
Standen House was unquestionably a modern home of its time, with electric power generated by a donkey engine that fed the electric light fittings. On the ground floor, there was the luxury of central heating. In the early 1900s, this must have been revolutionary.
the courtyard entrance to standen house with a wooden door and a stone archway.
Standen House

As you step into Standen House, you’re immediately greeted with a smile from the welcoming National Trust volunteers, ready to impart the house’s fascinating history and bring the Beale family home to life.

You’re able to observe the house just how the Beale’s may have used it, read excerpts from diary entries and personal letters, and embrace the delights of the Arts and Crafts movement.

Where to stay near Standen House

Crowne Plaza Felbridge - Gatwick, an IHG Hotel
This hotel is located in the north of East Grinstead and offers great facilities, including a spa and indoor swimming pool. There is an onsite restaurant and a relaxing garden to enjoy.

Gothic House
This is a boutique guest house in the heart of East Grinstead. The rooms are very comfortable, clean, a full English breakfast is offered, and all local amenities are just on your doorstep.

Exploring the Beale family home

Style and grace throughout
We loved exploring Standen House; in each room we entered, there were more and more exquisite examples of William Morris designs, furnishings, and embroideries on display.
the living hall with a grand piano, a table, and a vase of flowers in standen house, west sussex
The grand piano in The Hall of Standen House
We first stepped into The Hall, and not quite a hallway that you or I would recognise. This room is a lovely example of a “living hall” where guests would be greeted and gather in a relaxed atmosphere. The Hall was extended to allow more light into the room, along with a sweeping bay window next to the family’s upright grand piano stands.
The large billiard table in the arts and crafts styled Standen house
Billiards room in Standen House

The next room we entered was the stunning billiard room, lined with bespoke, integrated bookshelves and innovative brass electric light fittings suspended above the billiard table.

You’ll spot fine pieces of Morris wallpaper produced exclusively for Standen House in the billiard room. There’s a charming, raised seating alcove to gain the optimal view of the billiard game unfolding ahead.

standen house conservatory with a lot of potted plants and a radiator in front of large arched windows and a glass roof
Standen House Conservatory

Stepping out of the billiard room, we wend our way to the beautiful conservatory with incredible views across the terrace and gardens beyond.

Next to the conservatory is the light and airy Drawing Room enjoying the same beautiful views across the garden and Medway Valley.

The drawing room at standen house featuring furnishings and decoration from the arts and crafts period
Drawing Room
The drawing room is awash with Arts and Crafts designs. The hand-knotted wool carpet is a stunning example designed by J.H. Dearle for Morris & Co. Scattered around are cushions embroidered by Beale family members and an intricate portiere, all based on Morris designs.

If, like us, you enjoy visiting the National Trust gardens around the United Kingdom, then grab yourself a copy of the latest ‘Gardens of the National Trust’.

It’s a beautifully illustrated book, and it won’t be long before you’re planning your next trip.

Upstairs and Downstairs in Standen House

A loving family home
We head upstairs to explore the bedrooms of Standen House, and the one that particularly catches my eye is the Larkspur room. The bedroom was named such due to the stunning Larkspur flower wallpaper, which was re-papered in 1937 with the William Morris design.
The white painted wooden wardrobes in the arts and crafts styled larkspur room complete with a standalone bath in front of the open hearth fireplace at the national trust's Standen house and garden
Larkspur Room
Also, in the Larkspur bedroom, which was occupied by Beale’s eldest daughter Amy, was built-in wardrobes, which were highly uncommon at the time, along with the external wardrobe mirror.
A arts and crafts period brass bed in the centre of a well-decorated tidy bedroom
 Mr and Mrs Beale’s bedroom
At the far end of the upstairs corridor is Mr and Mrs Beale’s bedroom, also decorated with William Morris wallpaper in the Powdered design. The room is located above the Morning Room and enjoys spectacular views across the Medway Valley.
A table set for six in the centre of an arts and craft styled dining room with ivy green wood panelling at standen house in west sussex
The Dining Room

As we head back down the elegant wooden staircase, we wend our way to the exquisite Dining Room, which has remained relatively unchanged. Not every home could carry off the wonderful green wood-panelled walls; however, it looks sophisticated in Standen House.

Throughout the dining room are rows and rows of blue and white China plates and a handsome portrait of James Beale.

Patterned wallpaper walls on either side of the fireplace set in a rust red wall behind the desk in the business room at standen house in west sussex
The Business Room
We wander through James Beale’s Business Room, where the woodwork is painted in Dragon’s Blood red, which compliments the Morris Poppy wallpaper. This room is near the front entrance of Standen House, so visitors are not required to enter the family’s personal rooms.
The spacious kitchen with a large table in its centre in front of a gunmetal grey range with copper pots set on top at the national trust's standen house in west sussex
The Kitchen in Standen House
Last but by no means least is where the hustle and bustle of daily life exists, and that is the kitchen. The kitchen was designed for ease of use for the servants and is reasonably large and extremely light for a house of this era. It has two kitchen ranges, one for heating water, one for cooking, and many mod-cons for the late 1800s.

Hiking the West Sussex Countryside

Nymans is located in the lush county of West Sussex. This region of England, along with the South Downs and the Wealden countryside, is perfect for hikes. To explore the delightful circular walks in this region, you’ll want the Ordnance Survey Pathfinder guidebook no. 66.

Alternatively, why not purchase and download the OS Maps App, which covers all of Great Britain.

Exploring Standen’s Garden

Discover the Quarry Garden

As you approach Standen House, you instantly feel relaxed with deckchairs laid out across the lawn at Goose Green to welcome you and, thankfully, no geese.

What could be better than a calming rest overlooking the West Sussex countryside with a beverage from the Barn Café?

Deckchairs in front og the Barn Cafe at the national trust's arts and crafts Standen house and garden
Barn Cafe at Standen
The hillside garden at Standen is around 12-acres in size and was created almost entirely by the passionate gardener Margaret Beale. Margaret was inspired by the Arts and Crafts movement and wanted to reflect the garden in a similar fashion, creating outdoor rooms.
An information board on an easel in the shady courtyard at the entrance to the quarry garden at the national trust's standen house in west sussex
The Quarry Garden

Just off the elegant main terrace is the secluded and almost hidden away Quarry Garden. This beautiful garden is a haven for delicate, feathery ferns, azaleas, and many shade-loving plants.

It is also a delightful spot to sit and enjoy a welcoming canopy shade from the midday sun.

A glimpse past the ruby red and acid green acers with a view of the conservatory of standen house in the background
The Oriental Acers providing a canopy

Stepping onto the sun-kissed terrace, you can immediately appreciate why the Beale family loved this part of West Sussex with the views across the Medway Valley and Ashdown Forest.

Today the magnificent National Trust gardeners at Standen House keep the stunning gardens looking exquisite all year round. I wish I had a team of gardeners helping me with my garden.

Discovering more National Trust gardens

Our video of Standen House & Gardens

We have created a little YouTube video of Standen House & Gardens.  Why not take a look?

Also, why not subscribe to our YouTube channel and get the latest clips as we post them?

A tranquil haven in West Sussex

From honeybees to artichokes
There are so many areas of Standen House Garden to explore, including the Plantation, the Bothy and Hollybush Wood. One section we visited was the Rosery, which until recent years was lost to invasive bamboo, and we all know what that’s like; only a hungry Panda will keep bamboo under control.
Irises in front of a pergola that lines the rosery with a glimpse of the rustic swimming pool at the end
The Rosery and swimming pond
The Rosery was once the site of a swimming pond used by the Beale children to learn to swim; it’s now being restored by the National Trust. There was even an article on the BBC about it in 2017.
Lush planting between the croquet lawn, with its quaint little shelter and the national trust's standen house in the background
The Croquet Lawn
Our next stop was to the Croquet Lawn, which was surrounded by beautiful Rhododendrons with far-reaching views across the Wealden countryside and a lovely vista back towards Standen House. The Croquet Lawn was also used for other family games and as a tranquil haven of peace.
Beehives dotted between apple trees in an orchard at the national trust's standen house and gardens in west sussex
The Orchard and beehives
Just opposite the Croquet Lawn is the orchard and a pleasant spot for the local honeybees and their beehives. The meadow here is left to grow wild and long encouraging delicate wildflowers to flourish and offer nectar to the honeybees.
A view of the corner of the traditionally planted kitchen garden with standen house in the background
The Kitchen Garden at Standen

A short hop along from the orchard is one of my favourite spots, and that’s the Kitchen Garden, which is conveniently located close to the house.

Once, the kitchen garden spanned across almost three acres of Standen House, nearly a quarter of the estate’s gardens.

Although you wouldn’t believe it looking at it today, but this enchanting Kitchen Garden was only brought back to life recently as it was used as a private garden for some time.
Mixed planting on the edges of the vegetable patch in the kitchen garden of standen house and garden
The vegetable patch
Today the fresh vegetable crops that are produced from the garden are used in the café throughout the year.

Escape for a few days

Are you in search of a tranquil hideaway to relax and unwind in, while you discover the beautiful British countryside?

Browse through the handpicked properties and unique retreats at Holiday Cottages.

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