I think so often we’re guilty of not fully exploring the amazing places that lie on our doorstep, and this was definitely the case with me and Painshill Park until recently. It’s probably our closest garden, and yet we’d never visited before, preferring to visit either RHS Wisley or Claremont Landscape Garden. Principally due to the cost, as I have both RHS and National Trust memberships, so both of those were ‘free’ visits, whereas Painshill requires an entry fee of £8 per adult (or the purchase of an annual membership).
I was finally persuaded to make a visit as I was craving somewhere new and wanted to see what Painshill Park had to offer. Max and I headed there early one spring morning and it was the perfect day for it – glorious sunshine and blue skies.
We headed on the accessible trail as we had the pushchair with us, and this lead us down to a lake with lots of ducks, which pleased Max! He loves nothing more than a conversation with a duck, although I suspect it may be less gripping for the duck – the main topic of conversation is just “hello duck”. The woods were filled with yellow daffodils – nothing encapsulates spring more than that sea of yellow stretching out in front of you!
Heading past the grapevines in the sunshine was a beautiful stroll, and we made our way towards the Gothic Ruin, and then up to the Gothic Temple, which has the most beautiful vista over the park. It was definitely the highlight of the visit for me, although Max was far less keen and refused to have his photo taken there!
We wandered further, past the grotto, and over the Chinese bridge, just taking in the peace and quiet and beautiful scenery. I was struck by just how quiet it was, how lacking in noise, and how it seemed like we were almost the only people there, aside from a few men fishing. The length of the circular trail around the lake was perfect to keep Max’s attention (although he did need to get back in the pushchair a number of times as he was tired!), and this is a place I know I’ll be returning to Painshill Park when I’m off on maternity leave in a few months time. In fact, I’ve already been back and bought an annual membership I loved it that much!
Painshill Park, Portsmouth Road, Cobham, Surrey, KT11 1JE
For prices and opening times, see the Painshill Park website www.painshill.co.uk