Opening to the general public on 6th April following nearly two years’ extensive restoration work, and to Annual Members on 30th March, there’s no finer way to welcome the start of spring than with a trip to Leonardslee Lakes & Gardens and the venue’s exceptional onsite restaurant, Restaurant Interlude, housed within a 19th– century Italianate-style mansion in Lower Beeding, near Horsham in West Sussex.

Often described as the finest spring gardens in England, this stunning 240-acre estate is home to outstanding spring displays of rhododendrons, azaleas, camellias, magnolias, bluebells, and even free-roaming wallabies. First planted in 1801, these historic Grade 1 listed  gardens are now, more than ever after its extensive restoration, a sight to behold, exploding to life in the springtime with vibrant colours and majestic wildlife you won’t see anywhere else in the UK.

Brilliantly showcasing every colour of the spectrum, walk through a rainbow of flora as you marvel at the magnificent, carefully landscaped, and tranquil natural environment all around you. Britain in the springtime has never looked so breathtaking. Leisurely stroll past the lakes or explore the venue’s new Australian garden which features banksias, grevilleas, bottlebrushes, mint bushes, eucalyptus trees and spiky hakeas, and you might be lucky enough to spot one of the many species that calls Leonardslee Lakes and Gardens their home. From foxes, rabbits, weasels, and their famous wallabies to green woodpeckers, kingfishers and herons which are often spotted, you’ll feel like you’ve been pulled into Disney’s Bambi. And speaking of Bambi, Leonardslee also has an extensive deer park where over 100 deer freely roam.

One of the biggest and most impressive UK garden restoration projects for nearly 30 years, restoration began when present owner, Penny Streeter OBE, acquired the estate in 2017. Penny and her team quickly began their two year mission to restore, maintain, and improve upon the gardens and buildings, giving the British public a truly must-visit spot to really soak up the best of British seasons.

Closed to the public for nine years, the estate used to attract more than 50,000 visitors annually with its unique combination of lakes, woodlands, parkland, and flora and fauna to enjoy, and with this new restoration, the venue is sure to be more popular than ever.

Truly make the most of your day out to Leonardslee Lakes and Gardens and visit the renowned Rock Garden and Dolls House Museum, a miniature and magical world depicting the Edwardian estate and neighbouring villages in 1/12th scale, exquisitely detailed with landscapes and characters acting out day-to-day activities.

After exploring the truly gorgeous gardens and other attractions, dine in style within the Grade II listed mansion at Restaurant Interlude. Open for dinner from Wednesday to Saturday weekly, there are few dining experiences in the country that can match this. Showcasing fine dining and seasonal ingredients at their very best, enjoy either a 14-course or 19-course tasting menu inspired by the estate and created using foraged ingredients from the gardens along with the finest locally sourced produce.

Typical dishes that feature on these tasting menus include the likes of “Rabbit Eats Carrot”, featuring two confit rabbit doughnuts on a bed of moss, rolled in carrot dust and served with a beautifully balanced carrot dipping sauce, and “Pumpkin Pine”, consisting of pine emulsion, pine oil, and pine dust, served with a tangy, creamy goat’s curd, and crunchy pickled pumpkin and pumpkin seeds.

Read our review of the restaurant here: https://www.foodanddrinkguides.co.uk/england/south-east/horsham/lower-beeding/restaurant-interlude

For more information on Leonardslee Lakes and Gardens or to purchase an annual membership, visit their website. Also, be sure to look out for our review of Restaurant Interlude in our Sussex Food & Drink Guide (pick up a FREE copy of the guide here or read a digital version of the guide by clicking on the link).

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