Painshill Park, Cobham, Surrey.
Sunday, Mother’s Day, daughter had forgotten to send a card & son wondered if I wanted one on that day or when we go out for belated curry later in the week. Hopeless! But happily the sun was shining brightly & the temperature was a bit higher than in recent days so it was time to get out for a bit of fresh air.
If you drive to RHS Wisley from London on the A3, as I frequently do, you will pass a sign to Painshill Park & this is where we decided to go.
It is quite a few years since we last went, indeed said rubbish children were fairly small & whining at the time if I remember correctly, but in recent years we kept saying we must return, so return we did.
Unbeknownst to us it was a ‘Mums go free’ day at Painshill. OK, so we did not have to fork out as much cash as we thought (even though I did not have a whining child in tow), always nice but it did mean there were rather a lot of mums around along with myriad other family members. But no worries, it is a place where you can avoid lots of people quite easily.
Painshill Park, also referred to as "Pains Hill" back in the day, was developed between 1738 and 1773 by the Hon. Charles Hamilton, 9th son and 14th child of the 6th Earl of Abercorn. It is claimed to be one of the finest examples of an 18th Century English Landscape Park. It has a number of follies in various states of repair & views of the ‘living paintings’ that Hamilton was trying to create.
It has been restored/developed quite a bit since our last visit including the reception & there are now reasonable paths to every area. Despite this it still has a slightly abandoned feel to it which I like. Last year we visited Stowe Landscape Garden & whilst it is beautiful in its way I felt slightly annoyed & manipulated that everything was positioned just so in order to get the best view or vista with the buildings carefully placed within. Painshill is also nowhere as near as ‘grand’.
One of the most interesting areas of restoration is the Grotto which was closed when we last visited. It is now open & the crystal interior is being painstakingly restored, bit by bit. They reckon at least 5-10 man years before completion!
There were lots of snowdrops still out & daffodils just beginning to open up to the sun.
It is obviously a perfect place to see nature; lots of evidence of rabbits, badgers ripping up turf & more molehills than I have seen in ages (although I guess SW London is not conducive to mole tunnelling).
Was slightly taken aback part way round…….
It was a lovely walk on a glorious day to be rounded off with a cuppa & a little light lunch……………………….wrong, sadly I think the catering was slightly overwhelmed by the success of the ‘Mums go free day’.
We went home.