Travelling with kids (and babies)
45 minutes drive from Kensington, National Trust Claremont Gardens felt worlds apart buzzy London. And as the Bank holiday week-end treated us with proper summer temperatures and blue skies, we picked a National Trust Esher stunning 18th century garden and one of the prettiest days out in Surrey with kids. And when I say we picked, it was on this occasion our friends call – after so many blog posts, pics and us raving about National Trust, they joined few months ago and we are now great partners in crime exploring.
I am so fond of English gardens that it’s difficult to stop raving about their therapeutical beauty and zen in pretty much every other post. Claremont is one of the finest examples of Capability Brown landscapes – a legendary figure that I got to know and love at Wimpole Estate, Wrest Park, Stowe, Bleinhem Palace, Hampton Court– to mention just a few of London nearby gems.
Once a Dukes and princesses playgrounds, National Trust Claremont Gardens delighted for the last 300 years and charmed us instantly on the Monday bank holiday. Trees and flowers blooming, serpentine lake with its water sparkling in the sun, grass outstandingly green and beautiful in the 3 acre turf scenic amphitheatre, the Grotto mysterious and intriguing.
We started with the playground – cute and by the NT cafe. Slides, wooden houses, play castles and bridges for kids; cappuccinos and brownies for adults.
Properly caffeinated and re-energised we headed for the pitoresque Bowling Valley and Belvedere Tour for a picnic – a delightful track through bluebells, past the majestic Amphitheatre and Camelia terrace.
The picnic went down wanders with all parties – beer to keep up with 26 degrees soaring temperatures and lots of goodies for the kids. Frisbee, hide and seek, racing and running around for a couple of hours – soaking in Belvedere views, the blooming nature and the sun.
Further exploring call for all the wanderers – we ventured to the Mausoleum – wow the views from up above! The amphitheatre used to be the centrepiece of Claremont Fete Champetre – 4 days of music and theatre – nowadays hosts plays and concerts.
Nine pin alley for skittles; the boar; the peacock and of course the Thatched Cottage were next. Our kids spent about another hour at the magic Thatched cottage with wooden swords and yo yos, domino and games, picnic rugs and period costumes.
More wanderings by the lake to get ice-cream, socialising with lots of friendly birds and ducklings, fish and wrapping up the day with the Grotto.
2018 summer at Claremont National Trust is filled with great events: Victoria’s birthday trail for May half term (May 26th – June 3rd); National garden scheme day – when the garden is open in support of the National Garden Scheme (June 3rd); Reddy bear picnics and storytelling on selected Wednesday at 1pm; Archery (June 9th); Father Day Surrey Classic Vintage Cars (June 17th – free admission for dads when accompanied by their children); Victorian picnic and Late night opening (June 23rd); Island open day (July 1st); open air theatre – The Reluctant Dragon and The Tempest; and lots of adventures on summer holidays with animals and their habitats: amphibians, mammals, creepy crawly fantastic beasts.
We struggled to leave 5pm – a full day out, so beautiful to quote our 4 years old. National Trust Claremont gardens we will be back, great to discover you and put you on our best day trips from London within an hour drive and brilliant days out in Surrey with kids .
Adventures or Zen, Londoners and Surrey people are fortunate to make National Trust Claremont Gardens a day retreat or sanctuary!
PS: National Trust kindly provided us with day passes – many thanks! As usual mischievous kids, pics and impressions, ours.