I like stately homes and their gardens. I can never help but try and imagine the type of people who lived in these places over the decades- I enjoy a little bit of history.
I decided to visit Groombridge Place, which is around a 40 minute drive for me. I’d never been there before and I was intrigued by it’s enchanted garden. I checked the Groombridge Place website, which stated that it was opening on the 23rd March. On 23rd March, off I drove to Groombridge Place.
When I arrived, one of the two, cast-iron entrance gates was shut. Not very welcoming, but I drove into the long driveway. The car park and it’s lack of any car at all indicated one of two things:
- Groombridge Place wasn’t very popular at all or no one had decided to visit on it’s opening day, or;
- Groombridge Place was closed.
I checked the website again, just in case I had made a booboo (which I do do on occasion). Nope- the website definitely said it was open on 23rd March. I rang the telephone number on their website and got through to voicemail. I was not impressed.
I had a look around but everything was locked up. I saw two peacocks wandering around and a Maserati in a barn, but Groombridge Place definitely was not open. It was very closed.
Back home I went.
Once home, I decided to send Groombridge Place and email, explaining how their website was wrong and that I’d wasted my time and money by trying to visit. After sending the email, I looked at some reviews for Groombridge Place, which were mostly negative. The general consensus seemed to be that Groombridge Place was run down, in great disrepair and that the staff were disinterested or unhelpful. It seemed as though I’d had a lucky escape.
A few days later, after not receiving a reply to my email, I visited the Groombridge Place website again. This time, the website was different and it said it opened on 28th March. They’d updated the website and hadn’t even replied to my email- there was no way I was going to let this lay!
I sent yet another email to Groombridge Place, pointing out that I had noted the website had been updated, but that this didn’t change the fact that their error had caused me inconvenience. Again, I received no reply.
I resorted to contacting Groombridge Place on Twitter and was rather surprised when I received an almost-immediate reply. Groombridge Place apologised as it was now under new management. They couldn’t go into detail, but the new management didn’t have access to emails or the website, which is why a new, updated website was built from scratch. To apologise for the inconvenience, Groombridge Place offered me free entry tickets. I gave them my address (via Direct Message, of course) and two days later, I had my free tickets.
It was a nuisance that I wasted a Saturday morning, but Groombridge Place had a very reasonable explanation, were apologetic and offered me free entry tickets. I’m looking forward to my visit.