Sweeping lawns, secret doorways and beds filled with colour and fragrance. The gardens at Preston Manor are full of unexpected pleasures.
When Charles and Ellen Thomas-Stanford moved to Preston Manor in 1905, the gardens were in need of care and attention. Instead of changing the layout, they replanted the garden with shrubs and flowers, preserving its old-fashioned character. Today, a group of volunteers cares for the charming walled garden, with its laburnum arch, carefully trained fruit trees and flowers that change with the seasons.
The gardens also feature a lily pond and a croquet lawn, which is occasionally transformed in summer into an outdoor cinema. Visitors of all ages will find flagstone and gravel paths to follow, and plenty of places to play, to pause and to sit.
An unusual graveyard
The garden is full of surprises. In one corner, against flint walls dating back to the 18th century, you’ll find an unusual pet cemetery. Sixteen dogs and four cats are buried here, including George the Pavilion Cat and two other cats employed by Brighton Council as ‘mousers’.
Most of the dogs belonged to Ellen’s mother Eleanor MacDonald, who lived at Preston Manor until her death in 1903.