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Woolbeding Gardens, West Sussex
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Garden Visit – English country gardens in West Sussex

Woolbeding Gardens and a substantial private garden

Our day will begin with a visit to the wonderful gardens of Woolbeding – an elegant country retreat, property of the National Trust, with views over the River Rother and the rural South Downs. We have been invited to enter the gardens one hour before other visitors arrive, so we will have the advantage of having them to ourselves for a while. Designer Lanning Roper laid out a series of gracious formal garden rooms here in the late 1970s and later, in the 1990s, Isabel and Julian Bannerman added to their considerable charms by creating a dramatic woodland water garden with a ruined abbey, hermit’s hut, Chinese bridge, grotto, waterfall, stumpery and more. The 17th century manor house (not open) was given to the National Trust in 1957 by the Lascelles family and, from 1972 to 2006, it was leased to businessman and art collector Simon Sainsbury, who oversaw many new developments with his partner Stewart Grimshaw, who still lives here today. A senior gardener will meet us to give an introduction to the garden and its ever evolving 21st century planting, before we explore at our own pace. Coffee will be served to our group mid-morning.

Next we will stop for a convivial lunch at a local coaching inn, before driving a short distance to a very private garden nearby, which we have been fortunate to visit once before in 2015. Originally designed with the assistance and input of Arne Maynard, it has been refined and altered by its knowledgeable owner and highly creative head gardener. The summer planting should be in full swing at this time with roses, peonies and many climbers. A glasshouse is used to propagate for the garden and also shelters a collection of more tender plants and succulents. Features of the garden include a beautiful moon gate, a reflective pool and woodland planting. Cloud-pruned box and trained fruit also feature. Whilst here, we will be shown around by the head gardener who will explain the background to the garden and tell us how it is cultivated and maintained. We will also enjoy a delicious afternoon tea with home-made cakes.

Tickets £135, Friends £120  

9.00am start. Finish time: 4.45pm*

*Finish times are approximate – please allow for flexibility at the end of the day. 

This event has been organised by the Garden Museum’s Garden Visits committee. We recommend you read our Garden Visits Attendee Charter and Refund/exchange policy before booking your place on any of our Garden Visits.

Image: Woolbeding © National Trust/Image James Dobson; Private garden © Benjamin Pope