Hatchlands Park, National Trust
Dear mummy, last week we visited Just for Tiny People’s Open Day near Dorking and Guildford and decided to pop into Hatchlands Park, one of two National Trust properties on the A246.
Hatchlands is on the edge of the Surrey hills and a lot of families have been raving about the seasonal children’s activities they host. It’s only 45 mins away from London. We’ve already visited Clandon Park, down the road, on Mothers Day.
Hatchlands Park is a red-brick country house with surrounding gardens in East Clandon, Surrey, England, covering 430 acres and has been a Grade I listed property since 1967.
The Georgian Mansion was built in the 1750’s for naval hero Admiral Edward Boscawen. It is a family home and today its residents are in (we don’t know who they are), so the house is closed for visitors.
I’m sure the family don’t want people popping in to look at the great collection of musical instruments and paintings while they are watching telly. The property is famous for housing Europe’s largest collection of keyboard instruments associated with famous composers such as JC Bach, Chopin and Elgar. I’m like a magpie when it comes to musical instruments and gravitate toward anything they makes a big noise, so it is actually for the best I’m not in the house today.
We enjoy some fine fare and warm up with hot jacket potatoes, fresh out of the oven…yummy.
A lovely man called Ray from the National Trust pops in to tell everyone that the cellar tours of the house are happening today free of charge, as visitors can’t gain entry to the house and the weather is so bad, it seems everyone is hiding out from the rain in the tearoom.
While we wait for the tour we venture outside and the rain is a light drizzle. I have fun jumping around in the puddles in the cobbled courtyard. Some of them are really deep and mummy tests them out to make sure I don’t get swallowed up by them!
Before long we hear the tinkering of ivories coming from one of the outhouses surrounding the courtyard. I run over making sure I stomp in every puddle on the way and find a piano, children’s books and activities in this stable barn.
Other children are playing on the piano and I wait my turn.
Finally I get to play on the keys, my small fingers gently prodding the cold keys, my mummy leans over and strikes some chords which I try to mimic. It’s great fun and the sound echoes around the empty courtyard and sounds eerie, the clouds have darkened again and everyone has gone inside for the cellar tour which is about to commence.
We queue up with the rest for the families on the tour and get a safety brief from the National Trust man Ray, he issues out safety helmets as it can get a bit dark down in the cellar and he doesn’t want us banging our heads on the low ceilings and old pipe work. I’m not allowed to be picked up or carried for that reason too, incase my mummy bangs my head, so I hold her hand and head into the darkness.
I love hearing my voice ‘echo echo echo’ and babble all the way down the stairs holding onto mummy and the side of the wall. It’s cold and damp down here and the National Trust have set up war-time scenes of when people used to live down here in war-time Britain when the bombings were happening. Cot beds and desks are set up so people could sleep and work here when’s the air strikes were happening. I couldn’t image it mummy, it seems so dismal and scary down here. The cellars have an eerie feeling…it was a humbling experience and we were glad we visited the cellars. Ray and Jenny, the tour host were very informative and friendly.
By the time we reach the top of the stairs into the daylight the rain has cleared up and the sun is shining. We head towards the Wizard Wix’s Willow Warren in the woods….wow! that’s a bit of a mouthful!!
It’s a adventure area made using tree stumps and wood crafted into dens and an assault course for small people.
It’s great fun and we spend a whole hour playing.
My mummy sings to me in the den and holds my hand as we walk the wooden beams. Other children are running around in a fantasy land of dragons and wizards and we can hear them talking about motes and dungeons. The sun is shining and I go to take a break in one of the wooden huts, I feel so lucky to be out in the fresh air exploring and getting muddy.
By the end of the day I’m pooped and feel my eyes getting heavy, my mummy is a bit tired too having had to navigate the buggy over the hills. I must fall asleep in the car, as when I wake up I’m home. A really nice day. Thanks National Trust.
Love Bella x