The Green Flag Award
For several years the Kipling Gardens have held the prestigious Green Flag awarded for the best parks and green spaces in England and Wales. The 2010 Report states that, “The standard of horticultural excellence within this garden provides a unique visitor experience.” It goes on to suggest that the Council should, “Consider applying for national, European and international awards for this unique garden.” The judges have particularly praised the immaculate state of Kipling Gardens, which are maintained by our very talented and dedicated gardener.
Opening Times: The Gardens are open to the public seven days a week and close at dusk. Entry is free and there is a ramped path for wheelchairs.
The Kipling Gardens were once part of the Elms which was from 1897 – 1902 the home of the celebrated writer Rudyard Kipling. Kipling rented the house for 3 guineas a week and it was here that he wrote Stalky & Co, Kim and some of his famous Just So Stories. After Kipling left the house it was rented out to various tenants until it was purchased in 1929 by Sir Roderick Jones, the head of Reuters.
Following Sir Roderick’s death, the house and walled garden became derelict and in 1980 Sir Roderick’s daughter, Laurian, sold the house and the gardens were offered for development. The following year plans were submitted for six new houses with double garages on the site. Incensed at the thought of a housing development on the historic village green, Rottingdean Preservation Society raised £51,000, largely from a bequest, to buy the derelict garden.
During the next three years the walls were renovated, the brick paths laid and the wilderness cleared and planted. In 1986 the Victorian-style series of walled grdens were formally handed over, in trust, to the then Brighton Borough Council to maintain in good order as an ornamental garden for the benefit of the villagers and other visitors. The Preservation Society continues to take a keen interest in the Gardens and contributes financially to special projects.
The Gardens are a haven of peace and tranquility where you can sit and enjoy the sun, read and chat, protected from the bustle and noise of the traffic by the old flint walls. Children can play safely on the clean lawns for this is the one part of the village where dogs, ball games and cycling are not permitted.
Highlights are the walled Rose Garden, recently replanted with David Austin’s beautifully scented shrubs, a Herb Garden and a Wild Garden. Roger’s Nook is now a special area for ornamental grasses and these have been underplanted with blue and white alliums creating a most dramatic picture in early summer.
There is a thriving croquet club in the Gardens, with a healthy waiting list. This is a very friendly club and newcomers are given lessons by a qualified coach. Play is from April to October, and beginners can try out the game on a Wednesday morning.
Events held in the Gardens are the Lions’ Fair on a Saturday in June and the Rottingdean Village Fair on the first Saturday in August.
Tours of the Gardens are held during the Brighton Festival and can also be organised by special arrangement.
For more information please call 01273 301004