Winchelsea’s secret gardens will open twice this year, firstly under the National Gardens Scheme (NGS) and then to raise money for Rye based charity Activities, Respite, Rehabilitation, Care Centres (ARRCC) . The first NGS opening will be on the Thursday after Easter – April 9 – from 1pm to 5.30pm involving Alards, King’s Leap, The Well House, Periteau House, Cleveland Place, Cleveland House and Rye View. Combined entry costs £6 and is free for children. Teas will be served at St Thomas’ Church in aid of church funds. Money raised for the NGS goes overwhelmingly to national cancer care and hospice charities. You can find out more here.
The main NGS summer opening will be on the afternoon of Saturday June 6 with an opening for ARRCC on Monday June 8. There will be cellar tours to coincide with all this year’s openings. Mid and East Sussex gardens raised over £152,000 for charity last year under the auspices of the NGS – £8,039 of which was collected in Winchelsea. Though the crowds sometimes threaten to be overwhelming, Winchelsea’s June opening collects more money in one day for the NGS than any other opening in the county. Nationally, nearly £23 million has been donated in the last ten years.
St Michael’s Hospice are also organising an open garden event in Winchelsea this spring on Tuesday May 5.