Borde Hill, in the heart of Mid Sussex, is celebrating its 125th year since Colonel Stephenson Robert Clarke purchased the Estate and created the Garden, and this summer will feature an event programme offering a feast for the senses, celebrating art, creativity and imagination throughout July, August and September.
Andrewjohn Stephenson Clarke, owner and Managing Director said, “To celebrate our special anniversary and the beauty of our Garden, which has been carefully planted and tended for 125 years, we want visitors to experience something extra special this year and are offering a wide variety of arts and music events, both free and ticketed, to make it a summer to remember!”
The Colonel, when planting the Garden, could scarcely imagine how times would change over the next century, and here in the 21st century there is so much competition for our leisure time as well as a plethora of day visit possibilities in the South East.
“It is crucial for an independent charity to reach out and network with local business and we’ve found that by hosting networking events at the Garden, this has highlighted collaborative working opportunities, whether that is a business holding their AGM in the Elizabethan House or a large-scale fundraising event in the parkland. Large public events are particularly beneficial as we offer a beautiful pastoral landscape within which to hold events large or small, and in turn these events offer Borde Hill more visibility in the marketplace and often prompts an uplift in day visitors.” explained Karen Manton-Cook, Manager.
One of the larger events this summer will see a collaboration with Haywards Heath based Opera Brava, offering full length productions of La Boheme and The Marriage of Figaro on 27/28 July on the South Lawn. Another is A Boundless Summer, with concerts by UB40 and The Gipsy Kings in the parkland on 7/8 July. “We hope that the concerts will attract people to the area as a whole, supporting local eateries and accommodation providers, so that there is a wider benefit to businesses”. Needs to be first concerts-larger events and then Opera please.
With a large and diverse summer holiday offer for families in the region it is challenging to stand out from the crowd. The aim at Borde Hill is to ensure that all events are linked to the outdoors and this summer holiday begins with ‘The Garden of Imagination’, a mystical trail with fantasy creatures and other worldly beings, including unicorns, fairies, giants and a golden phoenix. The trail will run through the Garden and Woodland from 1 to 31 August. There will also be children’s activities on selected dates, including the chance to ‘meet a mermaid’ and ‘make your own fairy garden’.
The other event predominantly aimed at an adult audience is ‘The Artist’s Garden’; an exhibition of artwork inspired by the beauty of nature in stone, stained glass, ceramic, resin and metalwork, from 1 August to 30 September. “Sponsorship is also crucial and we are very grateful for the support given by 1st CENTRAL for this summer event”, explained Karen Manton-Cook.
The ambition is to offer a dynamic event programme so there is always something to look out for at Borde Hill, which will drive an increase in visitor numbers, memberships and secondary spend to ensure a sustainable future for this wonderful hidden gem of a Garden.