Spectacular woodland gardens and lakes set in 240 acres of West Sussex.
Explore the glorious scenery at any time of year but especially in the spring when the rhododendrons, camellias and azaleas are in flower and again in the autumn when the trees are turning their vibrant colours.
Keeping below the house, take either the Lower Walk, the Middle Walk or the Top Walk to the Dell.
Take any of the numerous paths down to the lakes and cross over the Clapper Bridge with the stepping stones to your right.
On the far side of the lakes, discover the maples and the newly created New Pond Walk which twists its way through the Old Park with its herd of deer.
Don’t miss the Rock Garden. James Pulham & Sons designed the area for Sir Edmund’s collection of ferns, azaleas, rhododendrons and alpine plants.
Look out for the wallabys in their enclosure and the newly planted vineyard.
You can stay in the house and/or eat in the Michelin Star restaurant.
Charles II gave St Leonards Forest to his physician Sir Edward Greaves.
The land then passed to the Aldridge family who in 1801 sold part of the estate to Charles George Beauclerk who built a lodge and began the layout of the garden.
The estate was bought by William Egerton Hubbard c1852 who commissioned T L Donaldson to design the current house. Hubbard continued to develop the garden before selling it to his future son-in-law Sir Edmund Loder.
Sir Edmund started experimenting with rhododenrons. He crossed R Fortunei with R Griffithiannum and in 1907, the first seedlings flowered. It was a massive success. As well as introducing wild animals to Leonardslee, Sir Edmund also built a Museum to house his large collection of skeletons.
After Sir Edmund’s death in 1920, the gardens were neglected until his grandson, Sir Giles Loder, revived them. But with rising costs and fewer visitors, the Loders decided to sell the estate.
In 2010, the gardens were closed to the public.
But in July 2017, good fortune returned to Leonardslee. The South African-based entrepreneur Penny Streeter OBE was driving past the entrance with her son. On learning the estate was for sale, she decided to buy it. With her team, Streeter began an extensive restoration programme and the gardens were reopened to the public in April, 2019.