Visiting Hatchlands Park and Polesden Lacey, Surrey

Woodland walkway with trees either side of a leaf-covered path
If you saw one of my previous posts, you’ll know that we had an overnight stay in Guildford, during the half term holidays (which seem an age ago now!) and before heading home, we decided to take advantage of being child-free by visiting two National Trust properties. There were in fact several lovely places within a reasonable distance of where we were staying, including Clandon Park, The Homewood and Claremont Gardens – but we had a quick wander around the grounds at Hatchlands Park, before a longer visit at Polesden Lacey.

Green field of rolling hills, with a few trees in the foreground

Hatchlands Park

With over 400 acres of parkland to explore, Hatchlands also has a stunning Georgian country house, manicured lawns, and a parterre garden. When we arrived, the house wasn’t open yet – but there were plenty of green spaces to walk around. We went to The Kitchen Café to buy a drink (I also bought a delicious cardamom and rose shortbread) and then sat in the lower courtyard where it was less busy (but the seating area was wet, as it had been raining).

I do love an autumnal walk, and this one was particularly beautiful – going through woodland, with all the red, orange and brown leaves on the ground. There are three different walks, varying in length – the longest being 4km and aptly named ‘the long walk’. I don’t think we really followed any of them and decided to walk back once we had got to centenary wood. I think had we not planned to go somewhere else, we would have stayed longer… we certainly didn’t see enough.

Hatchlands was built in the 1750s and I would definitely return to wander around the grounds further – and even visit the house, which houses a lovely collection of paintings and fine furniture, as well as the largest collection of keyboards in Europe – all of which have an association with famous composers from years gone by. I’m sure Alfie would love the natural adventure play area too – almost becoming synonymous with National Trust properties.

Exterior of Polesden Lacey with its yellow facade

Polesden Lacey

Polesden Lacey is an Edwardian house and 1,300-acre estate – formerly the weekend retreat of Margaret Greville, who was a socialite. I was particularly interested in going inside the property – as from the outside, it looked stunning with its bright yellow façade, but also because of the treasures within. There were some incredible paintings from the Dutch Masters, but what I loved seeing the most were the collections of Cartier and Fabergé ornaments and treasured possessions – including a Fabergé egg.

The gardens were also stunning – the rose garden was my favourite, with so many different varieties of garden and climbing rose. The latter covered a massive wooden pergola, which made a beautiful (and fragrant) walkway – I’m sure it’s much better when fully in bloom. We also saw the doggie graves, which might sound a bit morbid – but Margaret Greville didn’t have children, but plenty of four-legged friends, it seems. The graves are all named and dated, and we couldn’t help but laugh at some of the more ‘human’ names, like Ian.

Girl and dog holding hands, made out of willow

While we were visiting, the grounds were set up for Ignite – an autumnal after-dark experience. While it was a shame that we weren’t able to see the lights, fire and lanterns in all their glory, the willow woodland animals were very cute. It looked like a great family-friendly activity too – perfect for a pre-Christmas walk. I’m sure there’s another event running now too.

Hatchlands Park is currently only partially open for the winter, with tickets costing £11 for an adult and £5.50 for a child over the age of 5. Polesden Lacey is fully open (although times vary, so check online), with adult admission costing £14 and children over 5 costing £7. You no longer need to book in advance, and car park charges may also apply on top – as we are National Trust members, we had free entry and car parking.

Love, Lucy xx

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