In Surrey we are spoilt with choice when it comes to the National Trust. Whether you are looking for a brisk walk on Box Hill or a step back in time at Polesdon Lacey’s Edwardian estate, the National Trust never fails to disappoint.
Claremont Landscape Garden may be 300 years old, but it retains a timeless energy that runs through it. It has a delightful combination of being both steeped in history yet simultaneously modern and refreshing.
I arrived early at Claremont Garden on a sunny autumnal morning. The leaves were turning to hues of orange and red and the sun was glistening off the surface of the serenely quiet lake. I took the opportunity to row out on the serpentine lake for just an additional cost of £5. Donning my orange life jacket and with brief warnings to avoid weeds by the island, I set off and paddled slowly around the lake. At 10am, I was amongst only a handful of visitors aside from the geese and ducks that passed by my hired boat.
As the morning moved on, the gardens became busier but in a unified and cohesive way. Alongside the joggers circling the lake there were older couples walking hand in hand, as well as young families with children laughing and running in and amongst the trees. This is a garden that attracts all ages and is shared by a mutual love of being outdoors.
National Trust play areas are always enchanting. They are all unique to one another yet share the same focus of uniting their play equipment with their surroundings, such as the wooden castle that stands alongside a mighty Horse Chestnut tree. Claremont’s enclosed playground invites children to explore and use their imaginations by moving away from the typical expectations of play areas. There are plenty of other open spaces for children to discover, from the steppingstones to the new Badger’s basecamp where children are encouraged to engage with the wooden equipment around them.
The symbiotic relationship of man-made buildings and nature is continued through the wooden structure of the café which slots in seamlessly with its surroundings. It is a space that is welcoming and cosy and provides a pleasant relief to visitors who may wish to warm up inside as the weather turns colder.
There are always plenty of events on offer at Claremont. This October half term is Halloween inspired, with activities such as pumpkin carving as well as spooky trails. For those families that are thinking even further ahead, booking for Father Christmas begins from 9th October. At Claremont, Father Christmas will be at the transformed Thatched cottage which becomes a delightful grotto complete with a glittering tree and decorations.
Claremont offers its visitors something to do all year round. From outdoor theatre events in the summer to a variety of cold weather activities, this is a place that changes perfectly with the seasons.