We’re just getting to the end of our second year of National Trust membership, and it’s something I’m so glad we did. It’s not great this time of year, however, as Shaun has a lot of study so we don’t get out as often as we should. Living where we do, we have a lot of places within 30-40 minutes drive – the closest being Morden Hall Park (which you seem to be able to use for free anyway), and slightly further out, places like Polesden Lacey and Claremont Park.
This weekend just gone we made it to Claremont Park – on an overcast Easter Sunday. I thought it’d be packed, but actually it was fairly quiet – quite a lot of families doing the Cadbury’s Easter Egg hunt (we did too), wandering around the grounds.
I really like Claremont Park, as it’s similar to Painshill Park, but on National Trust terms – in other words we’ve paid to get in with our membership, whereas Painshill is quite expensive, so a treat. They’re both landscape gardens, and involve hills and good views, and enough to keep you occupied for a couple of hours (at least!) – and a big first for us – our first trip out without the buggy, all of us going on foot.
H coped fine, although sat on Shaun’s shoulders a few times when she got tired, Claremont has lots of random white benches around it which are good for the occasional rest (and as it wasn’t busy this wasn’t a problem) and the hills aren’t too tiring (I do find that with Painshill) – plus the thatched cottage had some clothes to dress up in a large chest which kept H amused for a while.
Hatchlands Park near Guildford will have bluebells springing up in their woods around now, so I suspect we’ll be heading there this coming weekend, before they’re gone for another year. We’re so lucky having so many excellent places so close.