Painshill Park – We Returned and Found Our Happy Place Again

Painshill Park is somewhere we’ve visited since H was a baby. It’s in Cobham, up the road from Claremont Landscape Gardens. We haven’t been for a couple of years, so put this to rights recently.

Painshill Park view from Turkish Tent

Painshill Park and Claremont are both landscape gardens, and have similarities. Painshill Park has some unique features which make it a place we love going back to – though it has been some time.

Painshill Park looking towards the five arch bridge

Imagine some gardens which have random things built in them because that was the done thing when you’re a wealthy person. So you build a ruin because you can. Or you build a Turkish Tent because it looks great on top of a hill. Then there’s the Gothic Tower, which has fabulous views. Lest we forget the wonderful Crystal Grotto which is now restored and looks amazing.

Painshill Park Crystal Grotto

We used to go on Mother’s Day or Father’s Day as one parent would get in for free, which would keep costs down. We’re now Historic Houses Association members, so can now go whenever we want. It was a sunny day, the kind where you aren’t wrapped up which meant we had to get back to Painshill Park.

Painshill Park

It hasn’t changed, but there are changes. The Crystal Grotto is now restored and looks so much better for it.

The Temple of Bacchus is being recreated and will complete in July this year – that’s going to be one to go back for.

Painshill Park Gothic Tower

Over at the Gothic Tower there are big changes. I don’t remember there being toilets there before, but there are now. There’s a small pop-up cafe on the first floor which has a good selection of food which you can take out. That section of Painshill Park isn’t so isolated any more. I even made it to the top of the tower to check out the views for the first time.

Painshill Turkish Tent and Five Arch Bridge

My favourite view is from the Turkish Tent, looking across to the Gothic Temple. You can see the serpentine lake, and in the middle the island where the Crystal Grotto lives.

Painshill Park Woollett Bridge

What I’ve always liked about Painshill Park is how almost everything is accessible. There are areas which would be difficult for people with mobility issues or buggies, but Painshill have alternative routes. But bear in mind the Gothic Tower has a spiral staircase to the top. While it’s a lovely walk it might be worth having a baby carrier if you want to climb the tower.

It’s a lovely day out, a picturesque walk and even though you’re right by the A3 and the M25, there isn’t any noise from cars. I love Painshill Park.

For more information head here.

Painshill Park reflections

Country Kids

Painshill Park

Mothering Sunday at Painshill Park

I guess we have what is known as a tradition. Every year on Mothering Sunday we head to Painshill Park. My reasoning? It’s free for mums, I like it, and it’s MY day. We went five years ago when H was around seven months, and every year (apart from 2012) I’ve chosen to go back. In the past we’ve had sun, rain, snow, picnics and most importantly of all, fresh air.

Painshill Park

I love Painshill. I love you can do as little or as much as you want and still get a good walk with new things to spot. We decided on a picnic as the weather was good, so headed to the Amphitheatre area which is a large flat section of the grounds, near the Gothic Temple and not too far from the start.

We stopped by the Vineyards as H wanted to read the sign at the top of the hill. That’s a new one – with the new words she’s picking up daily she wants to read everything! So she did pretty well with the information provided, with of course plenty of questions asked about everything afterwards.

We had our picnic, courtesy of whatever I could pick up in our local M&S, and of course some Quorn Scotch Eggs. H had her Bundlebean to sit on – which is still getting so much use several years since we got it. Afterwards it was compulsory for H and Shaun to race around the amphitheatre, though I declined!

A wander to the Gothic Temple, one of the best areas of Painshill to see the whole park, and one of the worst for taking photos as it’s the same colour as the sky, even Mr Tumble has sat in there. H is now tall enough to slide off the edge and run around, so devised a new game to keep herself amused while I tried to straighten out my back!

Painshill Park

After that we headed towards The Grotto which unfortunately was closed. Instead the two bridges provided some lovely reflections in the water and photo opportunities. We had a quick play around the Mausoleum and a ‘spot the water wheel’ competition too.

After that H and I had our photo taken on ‘our’ bench. I found four other pictures from Mothering Sunday through the years when we’d gone which was nice to see… see, tradition!

Painshill Mothering Sunday

After that we wandered back towards the main buildings, via the Ice Store (which I’d never been into), and past fields of daffodils, and woody areas. It was lovely, peaceful and calm. Possibly lesser so when H and Shaun decided to play frisbee with her hat.

Painshill Park

After that it was a walk back to the main entrance and a drive home – all of us tired. We’re a bit run down at the moment and I pulled something in my back – not ideal!

Painshill Park

I’m linking up to Country Kids!

Painshill Park is open every day. The Grotto is open at weekends from 1-3. Painshill costs £7.70 per adult, children under 5 go free. For more information head to their website. I’m now seriously considering having H’s 5th birthday party there as it’s somewhere I feel completely calm with the world. H does too. Perfect.

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Painshill Park Santa 2012

Painshill Park Santa 2012

Tickets went on sale in mid-October and sold out in a couple of days – Santa in The Grotto at Painshill Park is quite the hit – and there’s been a lot of parents who’ve been with their children and found it magical.

We had our turn yesterday; a drive to Cobham and some lunch at Strada and some heavy rain (so make sure to have wellies with you and take umbrellas and waterproofs), and we got to Painshill Park for just after 5pm. It takes twenty minutes to walk from the entrance to The Grotto where there’s a large white tent serving refreshments, where your number is called. We gave ourselves a lot of time, mainly to allow for H being a bit slower than us, but also as we wanted to look in the shop.

This year we went a bit later than before – and felt as if there were less lights – not that it spoilt anything – just remember to take a torch!

On arriving at the holding tent we got ourselves some Mulled wine (priced at around £2.80ish, it’s cash-only there too) and waited our turn – which came around quickly. We had an activity book, mulled wine, scarves, hats, gloves and cameras to try to pack up – as well as getting H to Santa. (so take a small backpack – something you can put everything in that’ll keep it dry!).

The Grotto at night at Painshill Park

You can’t beat the Painshill Santa – he looks like a proper one too, and H was at ease immediately, telling him what she’d like for Christmas and how she’d been mostly good. This year, despite H being 3 I went for the 4-6 age range for presents, as we felt last year’s was a bit too young for her – which was a smart move as she got a fabulous pair of fairy wings which she’s so pleased with.

It started to rain again, much lighter so we made our way back – be aware, there’s no shelter (apart from the tent) so you’re going to get wet if rain is due. Luckily it didn’t take too long and once back at the entrance we could wait for a very short while.

With all the rain the car park was really muddy – so another one to look out for – but otherwise this was an amazing Santa trip yet again, wonderfully done, and a really fun afternoon too!

Painshill Park is in Cobham, their website is here, and throughout January you can go there on a Wednesday for free.

View Larger Map

Santa at Painshill Park

We’re regular visitors to the wonderful Painshill Park in Cobham, and for the first time yesterday we visited to take H to see Father Christmas.

Santa at Painshill Park

We got tickets for 4pm (the earliest you can go on a weekday), just as the sun was setting and the fairy lights were coming on – the park looked beautiful, and it’s definitely something worth experiencing at that time of day if the weather is good.

You enter the park the usual way, and take the disabled/step free route towards The Grotto which is signposted with random Santas along the way. A 20 minute walk when your little one is in a buggy is probably more like a 25-30 one when your toddler wants to walk – so leave plenty of time!

You get to a large tent next to the big lake, and wait your turn – you’re checked in with a number and an age appropriate card for the present, and there’s refreshments available (mulled wine!) – though these are at an extra cost.

We waited for a very short time (we were number 6), and took a short walk from the tent into the grotto, where Santa was waiting on his sleigh, shook H’s hand and asked all the right questions. H told him she wanted “a baby octopus” and looked a bit disappointed when she realised her present wasn’t one..

Actually, the only criticism I’d say was the present H got was really young for her – but she was happy with it, and actually, the Santa was excellent, so that far outweighs anything else.

The setting of The Grotto for Santa was fabulous – it looks gorgeous inside and isn’t too cold (it was a chilly night), though worth bearing in mind you can’t take buggies in there, as there’s five or six steps as you leave the grotto to get back onto the island – there is buggy storage outside the main tent though.

It was a lovely smoothly run experience (thank you elves!), also helped by H being given a present which had an activity book in it which she sat and coloured in while we waited. I would defintely come back next year, plus heading back to the car park (now with toddler in buggy as she wanted to open her present) in the dark with all the lights was lovely.

Highly recommended!