East Grinstead is a historic market town in West Sussex, England, located 30 miles south of London and 30 miles from Brighton.
The town dates back to the 13th century, with many historic buildings and landmarks to explore.
East Grinstead and the surrounding area are easy to reach from London, making it perfect for a day trip.
Here are 13 great options if you’re looking for things to do in East Grinstead, Sussex.
Visit St. Swithun’s Church
St. Swithun’s church is an iconic landmark in East Grinstead. The large stone church is located just behind the timber-framed houses of East Grinstead’s old high street.
The site has had a church since the 11th century, but the current building is a Grade II listed building that was rebuilt by James Wyatt after it was struck by lightning in 1772. It was opened in 1789 and is still an active church today, known for its beautiful architecture and stained glass windows.
St. Swithun’s Church is a beautiful example of Gothic Revival architecture and an important part of East Grinstead’s history.
Explore East Court Mansion
Nestled in the stunning countryside of Sussex is the beautiful East Court Mansion. This historic estate is just minutes away from East Grinstead’s town centre and offers visitors stunning views of Ashdown Forest.
The Meridian Line, which marks the Prime Meridian of the world, passes through the award-winning formal gardens of the mansion house – making this an incredibly unique venue location where East meets West.
Visitors can explore the extensive grounds, have a picnic in the picturesque setting, and take in the incredible views.
Take a stroll through Standen House and Gardens
Situated in the heart of the Sussex countryside, Standen House and Gardens is a must-visit for any visitor to East Grinstead.
Standen House was built between 1891 and 1894 for James Beale, a successful solicitor from Birmingham. Beale commissioned Philip Webb to design the house, which was built using local materials in the Arts and Crafts style. The house was passed down through the Beal family until it was gifted to the National Trust in 1972.
The Grade I listed building is set in stunning grounds, including woodland trails, perfect for a family day out.
As well as the beautiful house itself, there are also several acres of gardens to explore at Standen. The gardens were originally designed by Webb and include a series of terraces, pools and ponds. There are also plenty of opportunities for walks in the surrounding countryside.
Standen House and Gardens are open to visitors all year round, with something to see no matter what time of year you visit. In the spring, the gardens come alive with blooming flowers, while in autumn, you can enjoy the stunning colours of the leaves on the trees.
Explore Ashdown Forest
If you’re looking for a breathtaking natural setting that’s close to East Grinstead, you can’t go wrong with Ashdown Forest.
This 10-square-mile oasis is one of the largest open access areas in Southeast England and is located within the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Here you’ll find a beautiful mix of heathland and deciduous woodland, as well as a variety of rare and threatened species.
And if you’re a fan of Winnie-the-Pooh, you’ll be happy to know that Ashdown Forest is also the setting of 100 acre wood from the popular stories.
With over 10 square miles of open space, Ashdown forest is the perfect place to stretch your legs and get some fresh air. There are a variety of walking trails to choose from, so you can pick one that suits your fitness level and interests.
Ashdown Forest is home to many beautiful picnic spots. So pack up your favourite food and drinks and enjoy a leisurely meal surrounded by nature.
The forest is home to many rare and threatened bird species, making it a haven for birdwatchers. Keep your eyes peeled and see how many different types of birds you can spot!
The Forest Way Country Path
Are you looking for a beautiful place to take a long walk, run, or ride? If so, the Forest Way country path is perfect.
This 10-mile path runs along an old railway line and is full of stunning scenery and wildlife.
The Forest Way begins on Herontye Drive in East Grinstead and goes on for 10 miles until you reach Groombridge in Kent.
If you don’t fancy such a long walk, you can always stop off at Forest Row, a delightful village that is 2.5 miles away. Enjoy an afternoon tea at a local cafe or a cool tipple at one of the local pubs.
This path is an important habitat for wildlife as a ‘green corridor’, and there are seats and picnic benches along the entire route so you can take a break and enjoy the view.
The Forest Way is home to many different types of wildlife. Keep your eyes peeled for birds, squirrels, rabbits, deer, and more.
The path is lined with trees that provide shade on hot days and make the walk more enjoyable. In springtime, the flowers that bloom are simply beautiful. You’ll also find plenty of bushes and shrubs along the way.
Relax At One Of East Grinstead’s Many Pubs
No visit to East Grinstead would be complete without stopping by one of its many traditional pubs for a pint (or two). Some of our favourites include The Dorset Arms, The Ship and The Old Dunnings Mill.
Kingscote Estate and Vineyard
Kingscote Estate and Vineyard is an award-winning English vineyard that is fast becoming a hidden gem for travellers.
The vineyard is set amidst picturesque countryside and offers a variety of wines that are sure to please even the most discerning palette.
Kingscote Estate and Vineyard also offers a variety of tours and tastings, making it the perfect place to spend an afternoon exploring all that English wine has to offer
Kingscote Estate and Vineyard is located 4 miles from East Grinstead and can be reached by car, bike or on foot.
Hammerwood Park is a historic estate located just 3.5 miles from East Grinstead. The estate was built in 1792 by Benjamin Henry Latrobe, the same architect who designed the White House and US Capitol Building.
In the 1960s, the house was converted into flats and purchased by Led Zeppelin. The estate was rescued from dereliction by the Pinnegar family in 1982 and today provides a venue for concerts and filming.
The house and gardens are open to the public in summer, from 1 June to the end of September, on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Bank Holiday Mondays, with a tour at 2:05 p.m.
Deers Leap Park
Just a stone’s throw from East Grinstead, Deers Leap Park is a 230+ acre oasis that was bought in the 1990s by the Hobbs family.
They transformed it into a location for recreation, which has since become a popular place for mountain biking.
Deers Leap is private land, so a small fee for bike riders is charged for trail maintenance. But trust us, it’s worth it!
The main trail at Deers Leap is just under 3 miles, with lots of other smaller trails going through the wooded areas. The main trails are suitable for children, as are some of the smaller ones. There is a great skills tracks area located in the first field where kids can ride and practise on purpose-built wooden tracks.
In addition to miles of scenic trails, there is an outdoor fitness area with frames, ropes, tyres and obstacles. You can even go pond dipping in the Duck Paddock.
Ride The Bluebell Railway
Starting in East Grinstead, this heritage railway line runs through the stunning Sussex countryside, making it the perfect way to spend a day out.
The Bluebell Railway runs for 11 miles through the picturesque Sussex countryside. The line starts in East Grinstead and runs through towns and villages such as Horsted Keynes, Kingscote, and Sheffield Park.
Passenger services run all year round, with extra services running during peak times such as Easter and Christmas.
Learn About Local History At The East Grinstead Museum
This museum tells the town’s story from its earliest days until now. This fascinating museum will teach you everything from the wool trade to World War II bomber planes.
Visit the Chequer Mead Community Arts Centre
This local arts centre hosts regular exhibitions, live music performances, and theatrical productions.
Explore The Old High Street
The Old High Street is one of two main shopping streets in East Grinstead, and it’s home to various shops selling everything from clothes to books to food. There’s also a weekly farmers’ market if you’re looking for fresh produce or artisanal goods.