Since moving to China in 2008 I’ve usually only returned to the UK at Christmas but owing to my sister’s wedding last month I had the rare pleasure of visiting during summer. The wedding reception was held on the estate grounds of Firle Place, a beautiful 15th-century manor house in Firle, East Sussex which is just about as quintessentially British as it gets. Jane Austen eat your heart out!
A long winding drive leads down to the manor house which is undergoing restoration. The exterior design is Georgian while the interior is Tudor in style owing to changes made by the Gage family who continues to live there and manage the estate.
Sheep graze on the grass of the very well-manicured grounds.
The private gardens surrounding Firle Place cover nearly 300 acres and includes a sizeable pond/lake near the house.
Within the area reserved for weddings is a croquet lawn – a game whose rules frankly baffle all but those who went to a certain type of school.
The old riding school is a Grade 2 listed building and is where wedding receptions are held, as well as still being in active use as horse stables.
The exposed oak beams inside provide a prominent reminder of the building’s original use.
Nearby a small porters lodge sits inside one of the entrance gates adorned with beautiful red roses.
We stayed in a cottage nearby in the picturesque town of Lewes.
Growing up we always used to take family holidays in the countryside (usually Cornwall) and seeing the tractors in the fields mowing the hay brought back many fond memories.
Another picturesque scene of England’s green and pleasant land.
The day after the wedding I went for a walk alone in the woods nearby – I was getting reverse culture shock from the pervasive peace and quiet at this stage!
I came across some delicate purple and blue viper’s bugloss growing naturally by the side of the path.