Woolbeding Garden is managed by the National Trust, though the house that sits within it is let by them to a private family (Lord Sainsbury and his partner who remains resident there following Lord Sainsbury’s death in 2006). To say the garden is a hidden gem would be an understatement. My parent live locally and even worship in Woolbeding Church yet they were unaware that such a spectacular garden lay just beyond the walls. We visited the church a few years ago and so you can read about it here: Window Wednesday — Woolbeding Church
Our reason for finally doing more than poking our noses over the wall was because I had been told about a stunning new glasshouse that had been installed in the garden, something that has been in the planning for nearly 12 years. It is a ten sided kinetic structure that opens in warmer weather and closes on cooler days. It sits in specifically landscaped garden zones filled with examples of plants found along the Silk Route. The glasshouse is designed like an Edwardian terrarium and are the perfect environment for the tropical plants inside it.
Hellebores, citrus and an ancient olive for Istanbul, giant fennel and tulips for the Anatolian Plateau; scented old roses in Persia and then its into the Himalaya. It really is beautifully thought out and even on the warmest of days it felt cool beneath the shade of the larger trees.
Elsewhere in the garden there are beautifully maintained beds with colour co-ordinated beds that leave you thinking “why dont mine look like that?” and whilst there is a formality to them it is refreshing to see in other areas the grassy areas are wilder, unmown and allowed to offer the perfect habitat to wildlife and insects.
If you are thinking of visiting, and I strongly suggest you do, please be aware there is NO parking at the property. The National Trust provide a free shuttle bus service from the Grange Car park in Midhurst, to and from the property several times an hour. You can book this via their website and must do so in advance in order to ensure a place on the minibus and to avoid overcrowding. It is a great system that works very well with cheerful volunteers easily visible as soon as you pull into the car park.
There is also a cafe selling cakes, ice creams and both hot and cold drinks with lots of tables outside under shady umbrellas.
Please also be aware that it is only open on Thursdays and Fridays, and until the end of September.