I am not the bravest of people when it comes to ghost stories and yet I enjoy a good ghost story. I have written previously about my maternal grandmother who was the teller of a good story despite outwardly declaring she had no belief in them which made her stories a) more believable and b) more scary. I also like a good tv programme about ghosts, especially if they are a comedy and the BBC series 'Ghosts' is a firm favourite.West Horsley Place and yes, you can visit for all sorts of exciting events.
It is a bit of a schlep from where I live: around two and a half hours drive (M25 dependent) but I was determined to go. I enlisted my fellow ghost loving brother to join me and the day was planned. We would find somewhere good to have lunch and then have an afternoon of Ghosts-geeky fun. (Lunch was at the Duke of Wellington in East Horsley - I highly recommend it.).
The house itself has a fascinating history. Start with that how Bamber Gascoigne inherited the house is very similar to how Alison in Ghosts inherits the house. He did not know he was going to inherit this wonderful place though he did know it was in the family and had visited.
Go back further. West Horsley Place was owned by Carew Raleigh, son of Sir Walter Raleigh and the last known place of Sir Walter's head. They are not sure where it is now: is it in a cupboard, is it in the local graveyard?
The house is much older than you might think, with a pre-this building history going back to 1066 and the house itself in its oldest parts dating back to the 15th century.
But I was there for the garden (well and to be a Ghost nerd obvs.) As said the house was in disrepair when inherited so it is no surprise that the gardens had become unloved too. Priority has to be to get the house restored and I have seen that they are working on the gardens too. They are currently looking to create a sensory garden - oh if only I lived closer....
The day was totally stolen by the appearance of one of the stars.
We had the best of days, the sun shone, the tour was wonderfully led by our guides. We learned alot about Ghosts but also about this incredible house. We are definitely booking next year to join one of the history tours.
If you don't watch Ghosts then do. If you are really old like I am and remember the ITV children's series The Ghosts of Motley Hall, then watch Ghosts. It is not the same and yet for me it has the same joy. Oh and now I have to mention Rentaghost, because it is rude not to.