New exhibition space launches at Highdown Gardens

Released: Monday, 29 April 2024

Local creatives can now exhibit their work amongst Worthing’s unique collection of picturesque plants thanks to the launch of a new exhibition space at Highdown Gardens.

The gardens, at the top of Highdown Rise, off Littlehampton Road, have long been an inspiration for artists and photographers, with their beautiful collection of rare flowers, trees and shrubs from all over the world.

Following the creation of a new space, named Highdown Gallery, creatives, as well as art and craft groups, can now present their work surrounded by the stunning display of Worthing’s much-loved and free-to-access chalk gardens.

PR24-046 - Highdown Gardens, Worthing

The gallery and event space has been made possible thanks to a donation of almost £1,500 from Worthing Community Chest, a local charity supporting projects and activities in Worthing that enrich its communities and citizens.

The donation will allow the visitor centre to be transformed into a temporary affordable exhibition venue.

Funding from the grant has been used to repaint the gardens’ visitor centre and purchase a professional and versatile wall-hanging system that will enable the space to be adapted to artists’ needs for many years to come.

Photo: The visitor centre at Highdown Gardens

PR24-046 - The visitor centre at Highdown Gardens

Highdown Gardens is home to a living library of rare and exotic plants thanks to the work of its creator, Sir Frederick Stern, who, along with his wife Lady Sybil, hired plant hunters to go on dangerous collecting expeditions around the world.

The pair purchased and swapped thousands of seeds and cuttings, all with the aim of creating an incredible collection of their own at their chalk gardens on Highdown Hill.

Following Sir Frederick’s death in 1967, the gardens were passed onto Worthing Borough Council, who has carefully managed the collection and grounds since.

The council also owns Colonnade House, a successful art gallery and creative studio space in Warwick Street, Worthing, which has been assisting with the creation of the new gallery space at Highdown Gardens.

Highdown Gallery will be a rural alternative to other exhibition spaces in the area, but will use a similar model to Colonnade House, which has hosted hundreds of artists since opening in 2016. The council’s team at Colonnade House will continue to support the gardens’ new gallery space as it develops.

Photo: The exhibition space in the visitor centre at Highdown Gardens

PR24-046 - The exhibition space in the visitor centre at Highdown Gardens

The gardens’ inaugural exhibition will feature the stunning floral portraits of local fine art photographer Steve Gallagher, who will be presenting at the space from 14th to 26th May.

Entry to the gardens and the Highdown Gallery is free and accessible thanks to a recent project, paid for by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, to improve accessibility, run engagement and heritage programmes and preserve the Sterns’ legacy.

The transformational project, completed in 2021, saw a new path and visitor centre built, which features a lift, as well as a new sensory garden. The gardens’ glasshouses were also restored - an essential part of the plant heritage programme to preserve and share Highdown’s rare plant collection.

Anyone interested in using the Highdown Gallery space can find out more by visiting:

Photo: Inside the visitor centre at Highdown Gardens

PR24-046 - Inside the visitor centre at Highdown Gardens


Back to top

Page last updated: 13 May 2024

Back to top