Explore the stunning Walled Garden with beds growing vegetables as well as flowers.
Discover the water garden with pools and rills.
The lake has a Doric Temple and in the Spring is surrounded by snakeshead fritillaries, daffodils and bluebells.
In the summer, West Green House Opera holds productions in the Theatre on the Lake.
Please don’t expect fairies and giant water lilies on your visit! I photographed West Green in early December when the Christmas Illuminations were on display in the garden.
Car parking must be booked in advance.
National Trust members visit for free – but check the website before visiting.
The house was built c1720 by Lieutenant General Henry Hawley. Aka Hangman Hawley, Hawley led the cavalry at the Battle of Culloden in 1746. It is said that Hawley gave the order that any wounded Jacobites found on the battlefield were to be killed. Hawley is buried at St Mary’s Church in Hartley Wintney.
On Hangman Hawley’s death in 1759, the house was inherited by William Toovery Hawley, allegedly Hawley’s illegitimate son. West Green remained in the Hawley family until 1898 when the property was sold to the Playfairs. They commissioned the Scottish Arts and Crafts landscape designer, Robert Weir Schulz to layout the gardens.
West Green later became the property of Sir Victor Sassoon who gave it to the National Trust in 1957. Evelyn, Duchess of Wellington and her cousin, Yvonne Fitzroy were allowed to stay at West Green until their respective deaths.
The first tenant at West Green was Alistair McAlpine. McAlpine updated the garden and added several follies and ornaments designed by the classical architect Quinlan Terry. A philanthropist, McAlpine was also the Treasurer of the Tory Pary and in 1990, an IRA bomb exploded at West Green, causing much damage to the house. The NT considered demolishing what was left but eventually decided to rebuild it.
In 1993, a new tenant arrived at West Green, Marylyn Abbott. Previously marketing and tourism manager at Sydney Opera House, Marylyn has restored the gardens as well as ‘introducing contemporary design ideas, cascades and features’. Marylyn’s interest in gardening started in her childhood – her garden at Kennerton Green in Mittagong, New South Wales, was one of the most visited gardens in Australia.