Trug making

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Thomas Smith was the inventor of the world famous Sussex Trug gardening basket back in 1829. His Trugs became famous when Queen Victoria noticed them at the Great Exhibition in London in 1851 and bought some personally for members of the royal household. Thomas was subsequently awarded Her Majesty’s Royal Warrant.

Our “Royal Sussex Trugs” are still made mainly in the time honoured fashion – by hand and in our own workshops here in Magham Down, Herstmonceux. Whilst visiting, customers are welcome to walk through the workshops and chat to the Craftsmen and apprentices. This way you will know from personal experience that we do actually make everything almost entirely by hand.

We also make the equally famous South Down Contemporary Trug here and sold these to the Crown Estate at Windsor for nearly 20 years

Our retail shop displays shapes and sizes of our Trugs that will not be found elsewhere offering a wide choice for all tastes and there are other crafts and gifts on offer, some made by our skilled Craftsmen. Our own branded biscuits, confectionery and preserves are also on sale.

All visitors will receive a very warm welcome at Thomas smith’s Trug Shop!

List of planned shows we will be attending



  • Disabled access
  • Disabled toilets

Booking & Payment Details

  • Credit cards accepted (no fee)


  • Children welcome


  • Guided tours for groups

Meeting, Conference & Wedding Facilities

  • Mobile phone coverage


  • Free Parking

Property Facilities

  • Dogs not accepted (except guidedogs)
  • Gift shop
  • Guided tours for individuals
  • Public toilets
  • Smoking not allowed

Map & Directions

Road Directions

From the A22 Eastbourne/London road take the A271 bexhill/Herstmonceux road at the Boship roundabout. Continue down this read to Magham Down and we are about 100 yards/metres on the right of the road after the Olde Forge Hotel.

From Bexhill take the A269 road and from battle the A271 Road, both of which join west of Ninfield and come to Herstmonceux. Magham Down is about 2 miles west of Herstmonceux and we are on the main road. Long green tin building in the field is us.

The No.98 bus passes right by our workshop from Bexhill and Hailsham and the stops are adjacent to us. Ask for the Magham Down bus stop.

Accessible by Public Transport: Polegate station is 6 miles away.

Thomas Smith’s Trug Shop

Type:Craft Centre

Red Lion Hall, New Road, Magham Down, Herstmonceux, EAST SUSSEX, BN27 1PN

Tel: 01323 871640

Opening Times

* Closed Bank Holidays.

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