Living in Haywards Heath
What is life like in Haywards Heath
Haywards Heath is one of the most popular commuter towns in West Sussex, lying around 35 miles south of London and approximately 15 miles north of Brighton.
It is situated in the heart of mid-Sussex, with beautiful countryside and picturesque villages on every side. The town's train station offers a direct link to London in around 45 minutes, making it immensely popular with those who work in the capital.
There is a good range of housing available in Haywards Heath, from charming Victorian and Edwardian houses in the town centre to three and four-bedroom terraces. On the outskirts, there are more modern developments with relatively new homes on large and smart estates.
As well as the magnificent South Downs countryside, Haywards Heath is also close to several points of historic interest. For instance, Wakehurst is just a few miles down the road and is the impressive country estate of the Royal Botanic Gardens.
One of Haywards Heath's claims to fame is the mention it receives in the English Civil War records. However, the town today is all relatively modern, largely built in response to the arrival of the London to Brighton railway in the 1840s. Since then, it has grown at a rapid rate to become one of the major commuter towns on this route.
Many of its residents work in London, Brighton or the area around Gatwick Airport. Other significant historic events in Haywards Heath's past include the opening of Bannister's Cattle Market in the 19th century, as it became one of the largest in the UK, as well as the creation of the Eliot Cottage Hospital in 1906.
A number of famous people from various fields have been born in or lived in Haywards Heath. They include singer Natasha Bedingfield, actress Leslie Ash and former EastEnders star Robert Kazinsky.
Entertainment, sport and days out
Many National Trust gardens are located in the area around Haywards Heath and provide the ideal place for a pleasant walk in beautiful surroundings. The most popular gardens in mid-Sussex include Nymans, Ardingly Reservoir and Borde Hill.
The Bluebell Railway is a favourite with people of all ages, while Beach Hurst Gardens has a miniature railway. Once a year, Ardingly shoots to prominence when it hosts the South of England Show, for which smallholders and visitors travel from miles around.
Haywards Heath is not renowned for its sport, although it does have a local football team. Those who wish to catch a game at professional level should head to Brighton and Hove Albion, who play at the impressive Amex Stadium on the south coast.
People who enjoy keeping fit can take advantage of the facilities on offer at the Dolphin Leisure Centre in Pasture Hill Road, which contains a swimming pool and gym.
Eating, drinking & shopping
The main street in the town for eating and drinking is Broadway, where residents will find many of the UK's major chain establishments. The likes of Pizza Express, Zizzi, Café Rouge and Prezzo are all based in Broadway.
There are also plenty of independent cafes and bars, where many people gather to enjoy a drink or two.
For shopping, the main centre is Orchards, which contains a branch of Marks & Spencer as well as smaller Next, New Look and Dorothy Perkins outlets. The village of Lindfield, which is just a couple of miles outside the town centre, offers a selection of boutiques and unique stores.
In Cuckfield, people are advised to visit the award-winning women's boutique The Neilson, while Nicky C in Godstone is the perfect place to pick up a bargain in homeware and fashion.
Schools & healthcare
The vast majority of schools in Haywards Heath are deemed to be hitting their targets, according to Ofsted. It is home to two state secondary schools – Oathall Community College and Warden Park Academy – and both achieve higher than average results in GCSEs.
When it comes to sixth form level, many young people in Haywards Heath choose to enrol at Central Sussex College, which has a campus in the town, as well as others in Crawley, Burgess Hill, East Grinstead and Horsham.
Anyone who requires a private school will find themselves in a good place in this region, with Ardingly College and Hurstpierpoint College among the most prestigious options.
The Princess Royal Hospital is the largest medical facility in mid-Sussex and offers a high standard of care to all patients. It is located on the outskirts of Haywards Heath and is easy to reach by road.
Haywards Heath is an incredibly well connected town, with its main train station offering regular services to both London and Brighton. It takes around 45 minutes to reach the capital and approximately 15 minutes to arrive in Brighton. The rail network is extensive in this area and any destination in the south-east is only a short ride away.
By road, Haywards Heath residents can use the A23, which is just a few miles west of the town. This connects Sussex with the M23 and M25, while the A272 is the main route running from east to west through the county.