The focal point of East Grinstead’s charm and old Market Town reputation is the conservation area in and around the historic High Street.
It’s not too hard to find as you just have to look on the sky line and spot the tallest building, which will be the tower of St Swithun’s Church. From wherever you are just head towards it and you are bound to end up in the High Street.
This is where the treat starts, as stretching from East to West are an incredible mixture of magnificent mediaeval buildings, small passageways and courtyards all waiting for you to explore them. Today many are commercial buildings with shops, cafes , restaurants and pubs mixed with other commercial uses on the upper floors. Many are still private homes and have remained almost unchanged since they were built. If you take a look at the rear of the houses on the South side of the Street you’ll notice the extraordinary length of their gardens. Known as Portlands they were intended to enable the households to be almost self-sufficient by keeping pigs and poultry as well space for vegetables and fruit, some extend as far as 630 feet and are all still preserved as they were, although not many boast pigs and chickens these days!