West Dean House Garden
West Dean House Garden

West Green House Garden is a popular historic garden featuring a number of interesting follies and a series of small, walled gardens. In the largest of these 'garden rooms' is a patterned herbaceous border and clipped yew hedges.
There is a lovely kitchen garden and a restored Nymphaeum with Italian style garden planting and water steps. The lake field features numerous classical follies acting as focal points.

Clipped hedges in the Walled Garden
Clipped hedges in the Walled Garden

West Green House is an early 18th-century red-brick country house built to a square plan, with two storeys and an attic under a tiled roof. The house has been Grade II listed and is of outstanding architectural interest.

In 1993 Marylyn Abbott moved into historic West Green House on a 99-year lease from the National Trust. Since then Abbott turned her energies into creating a fabulous garden surrounding the medieval manor house. The result was voted one of the top 50 gardens in England by Good Garden Guide.

Garden Highlights

  • Orangery and Green Theatre Lawn - Three terraces set with high clipped hedges. This large area is the venue for annual opera performances, drawing performers from around the world.
  • Dragon Garden - Plants of Chinese origin surround a pair of pagodas
  • The Alice Garden - a chequerboard pattern of low, clipped hedges and potted plants
  • The Nymphaeum - a long Italian style garden area with Victorian moon gates at the entry, with rushing water flanking steps. A quiet space for reflection, between high box hedges.
  • Walled Garden - apple arches divide this space in half, with herbaceous plants on one side and fruit cages on the other
  • Paradise Garden - a tribute to traditional Moghul gardens, this space of waterways and fountains is framed by white birch trees
  • Temple Garden - one of the most recent garden areas, designed by Marylyn Abbott

The historic house is let by the National Trust to a tenant and is not open to the public. The garden, however, is open to visitors. There is no charge for National Trust members.


The gardens are very well signposted from surrounding roads. There is a large parking area, and access to most of the gardens is fairly level. We visited on a rainy day in June and had to dodge showers as we explored the gardens. Despite the wet weather, it was an absolute delight to explore the gardens. There always seemed to be something interesting around the next corner. Don't miss the restored Victorian glasshouses which stand outside the main visitor entrance.

When we visited one of the other visitors was taking great pains to photograph what seemed to be an ordinary mother swan with her cygnet near the large lake in the southern section of the garden. The photographer told me that the young bird had been fathered by a goose, and had been dubbed a 'spoose' (swan + goose). I've no idea if the story was true, but it did make me look closely at all the other swans I saw clustered around the lake.

Do not mistake West Green House, Hampshire, for West Dean Gardens in Sussex!