Just a short drive away from Hatchlands is Clandon Park – a Palladian mansion created to entertain and impress by the politically powerful Onslow family. It contains a superb collection of 18th-century furniture, porcelain and textiles, much of which was acquired by the connoisseur Mrs Gubbay. The Surrey Infantry Museum provides a rich account of the county’s military history.
Given it was a clear day and we had a tired toddler in tow, we opted to save surveying the inside the mansion for another day. Not to say we couldn’t enjoy a nice relaxing meal in the restaurant before setting off to exploring the wider parkland.
The seven acres of gardens are home to a small parterre, a walled Dutch Garden and Hinemihi, a Maori meeting house brought back from New Zealand in 1892.
Hinemihi is the only historic Maori meeting house in the UK and one of a handful outside New Zealand. It bears the name of a female tribal ancestor referred to as ‘she’. She was carved in the shadow of volcanic Mt Tarawera in North Island close to Rotorua.
An outdoor exhibition of giant photographs was on show in the gardens. It focused on the beautiful landscape and wildlife of New Zealand. POD was delighted to see a photograph of a goat – otherwise known as a moose. She learnt fir cones don’t taste very nice.
Huia’s Dell, the children’s area, was a great place for POD to play closely followed by the running away from her parents game. Clandon Park also offered a flint grotto and we walked through an avenue of trees to a beautiful church. The nearby meadow was just a sea of daffodils.
The fabulous Dutch Garden was originally modelled on the Sunken Garden at Hampton Court. It was overgrown, covered in thick undergrowth and had a yew hedge of over 30ft high. That was until a National Trust employee came across it in 1971. Today, the garden is centred around a small statue in a circular pool, with clipped hedges and topiary.
What an incredible find that must have been, discovering a secret garden hidden behind an enormous hedge.
We’re linking this post up with Country Kids at Coombe Mill. If you have an outdoor post to share, click on the badge below.