I’m still amazed at how many amazing parks there are in London and the surrounding areas. So much to see and not enough time! This weekend, my friends and I decided to go to Painshill Park, an 18th century landscape garden based in Surrey. It’s perfect for a summer weekend – we saw lots of people fishing by the lakes as well.
We took the train from Waterloo to Surbiton station and then took the 515 bus to the park. The journey isn’t particularly thrilling and takes quite some time but I personally thought it was worth it once you get to the park. If you can drive, even better (and probably a lot more convenient and quicker too!).
The park is inspired by Renaissance and contemporary art as well as visits to Italy on the Grand Tour, by Charles Hamilton (the creator of the park). He wanted a tranquil landscape that was full of ‘follies’ i.e. structures mainly for decorative purposes, water, trees, shrubberies and a vineyard. The park is sign-posted and the ‘historic walk’ that goes to all main sites is, all in all, about 2.5 miles.
The main reason I have wanted to visit Painshill Park is because of the Crystal Grotto. I came across some pictures a while ago and it looked like nothing i’d ever seen before. The grotto is on an island that is accessible via the ‘chinese bridge’. On approach, you can see beautifully crafted structures, recently fully restored, that are all man-made though give the appearance of volcanic rock. Once you step inside, it’s as though you’re in a fairy tale – it is truly breathtaking and my photographs really don’t do it justice! It is definitely the best feature of the park. Just remember that it’s only open on the weekends from 12-4!
Overall, a great day and a place that I would highly recommend visiting, even if it’s just for the crystal grotto! You can easily spend the whole day here but, if you’re in a rush, I’d say 4 hours are more than enough to see everything.
Have you been anywhere new and exciting recently? Would love to hear about it!