About East Grinstead
Welcome to the beautiful medieval market town of East Grinstead. Situated 20 minutes from Gatwick Airport and an hour from both London and the South Coast, it is an ideal base from which to explore the counties of Kent, Surrey and Sussex. With Ashdown Forest, home to Winnie-the-Pooh and a wealth of famous houses, gardens, sporting activities, vineyards, fine dining and country hotels nearby, there is truly something for everyone.
Our magnificent Historic High Street, a conservation area, is full of timber framed Tudor and Medieval buildings with an interesting mix of independent shops, bars and cafes. The golden sandstone building of Sackville College, founded as alms-houses in 1609, is open to the public through the summer. Lyrics to the carol ‘Good King Wenceslas’ were written here by John Mason Neale. His tomb can be seen within the grounds of St Swithun’s Church along with memorial stones to three Protestant Martyrs, burnt at the stake in 1556.
A memorial plaque to Pte Sidney Godley the first non-commissioned recipient of the Victoria Cross 1914 lies at the base of the War Memorial; Flower beds here are re planted annually to commemorate important anniversaries and events of local or national importance and these have become an anticipated attraction. There are fabulous, sometimes highly scented, floral displays all year with themed planting from mid- summer.
East Grinstead Museum houses important collections from the Queen Victoria Hospital museum including work by plastic surgeon Sir Archibald McIndoe. His pioneering procedures at the QVH during WW2, treating badly burned airman, who called themselves the Guinea Pigs, afforded him world renown. Memorial Statue to Sir Archibald, by Martin Jennings, can be seen in the High Street.
Just a short walk away is Chequer Mead Theatre and Arts Centre with a dynamic program of performances and the parkland grounds of East Court Mansion where the Greenwich Meridian passes through and is celebrated. You can even receive a certificate to prove your visit to both the Eastern and Western Hemispheres from the Town Council.
The Bluebell Railway runs preserved steam trains from East Grinstead to Sheffield Park Station, a return journey covering 20 miles through the beautiful Sussex countryside. It takes about 15 minutes to walk into the town centre from the Bluebell and mainline stations.
On the outskirts of the town within the Kingscote Valley is the National Trust property of Standen; an outstanding example of an Arts and Crafts house retaining William Morris wallpapers and textiles. This area is rich in history and offers the visitor a wealth of activities with leisure and cultural appeal.
East Grinstead has so much to offer with a host of annual events; a Vintage Bus day, a May Fair, a Donkey Derby, a series of one day music, picnic concerts: East Court Live and our Christmas weeks are amazing. You don’t want to miss ‘The Big Reveal’, our festive window display and lights switch on in November. Visit East Grinstead; we’re hoping to share all this and more with you.