Attractions Courses With Grace

Great Dixter

Great Dixter was the family home of gardener and gardening writer Christopher Lloyd.

It was the focus of his energy and enthusiasm and fuelled over 40 years of books and articles. Now under the stewardship of Fergus Garrett and the Great Dixter Charitable Trust, Great Dixter is an historic house, a garden, a centre of education, and a place of pilgrimage for horticulturists from across the world.
Great Dixter

Christopher Lloyd was educated at Rugby and King’s College Cambridge, where he read modern languages from 1939. He was called up in 1941, ultimately into the Royal Artillery, and spent some time in East Africa before being demobbed in 1946. From earliest childhood, a love of gardening, nurtured by his mother, had been the keystone of his life so after the army he took a degree in decorative horticulture at Wye College in Kent and subsequently joined the staff as a lecturer for two years. From there he returned to Great Dixter to make his living from the garden and devote his life to it. Visitors were encouraged and a nursery was opened to sell them the plants they admired in the borders. A talent for writing, also evident from an early age, came to the fore with the publication of his first book in 1957. Thereafter the pattern was set for almost the next fifty years. A charismatic and sometimes controversial gardener, capable of inspiring a popular audience through both the written and the spoken word, and with a wonderfully atmospheric and picturesque garden at the heart of it all, Lloyd put Great Dixter on the international map. He was awarded the Royal Horticultural Society’s Medal of Honour in 1997 and an OBE in 2000.

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Great Dixter House Tour

As you face the entrance side of Great Dixter, the porch and everything to the right is 15th or early 16th-century, while the left hand side of the house, containing service quarters below and bedrooms above, is by Edwin Lutyens.

The extraordinary sweep of the tiled roof, particularly when seen from the upper garden, punctuated by tall chimneys and small dormer windows, is the most dramatic element of Lutyens’ otherwise self-effacing work at Great Dixter.

Following the path to the right, the huge chimney breast on the end wall of the house was a substitution by Lutyens for the miserable small flues then serving the Parlour and Solar.

The ground on the garden side of the house falls away quite steeply, so a terrace was built where additions to the south side of the Great Hall were destroyed, and the reconstructed house from Benenden was erected on a high brick base (containing the Billiard Room).

As you begin to walk along the Long Border, look back at the east side of the house. On the right on the first floor is a small window on a different level from all the others. This was a characteristic touch of Lutyens’ and is a floor level window in the Day Nursery. He called it the Crawling Window. Few great architects would have bothered to ensure that the smallest inhabitant, unable to reach a conventional window sill, could also see out.

Leaving Rye on the A259 Great Dixter is only a short drive toward

Great Dixter
East Sussex
TN31 6PH.

For local accommodation
Saltcote Place is a rather nice Country home ideal for the more mature guest who does not wish to heard excited children running around unless it’s their own. They offer secure parking in their grounds, late breakfasts and being just 700 yards from Rye the seagulls don’t even bother the guests. See 

For general enquiries, Study Days, and Symposia, please contact the office:

Tel: 01797 253107

To book a group visit, please contact Emily Heard:

Tel: 01797 254042


For school visits and adult education, please contact Catherine Haydock:

Tel: 01797 334042

For the Friends of Great Dixter or to offer your support, please contact Linda Jones:

Tel: 01797 254048

Great Dixter Nurseries:

Tel: 01797 254044

Great Dixter Shop:

Tel: 01797 337073

Key members of staff:

Fergus Garrett, Head Gardener and CEO
Contact Mary-Anne Brightwell
Tel: 01797 252878

Emma Davies, Operations and Marketing Manager
Tel: 01797 252878