Situated around 5 miles north east of Haywards Heath, the rural parish of Horstead Keynes is particularly well known as the site of the famous Bluebell Railway.
Horstead Keynes station was built by the London Brighton and South Coast Railway in 1882 and has put this small, picturesque village on the map – and the tv screens – many times since. Film and television companies have used it to film scenes from Downton Abbey, The Woman in Black and Muppets Most Wanted. Visitors can visit the 1920s designed station to look around or join a dining event on board one of the vintage steam trains.
The village itself is centred around a green where you will find a post office, village stores and a village pub. There are also two principle churches – the Anglican Parish Church dedicated to St Giles and the Roman Catholic church of St Stephen.
Bluebell Railway isn’t all that Horstead Keynes is famous for. It’s also said to be the site of the earliest known organised cricket match in Sussex and was also visited by U.S. President John F. Kennedy two months prior to his assassination, where he stayed at Birch Grove, the former home of Prime Minister Harold Macmillian. No one else was getting into the village that evening, as the American Secret Service closed the entire village!