Walking away from Hatchlands Park on Sunday afternoon I stopped a dad with his son and asked if I could photograph his little boy enjoying one of the many free Space Hoppers that littered the front lawn. It seemed to sum up perfectly why this National Trust property is the perfect place to go for an afternoon of family fun.
Even though the weather hadn’t been great and there were still clouds on the horizon it hadn’t stopped hoardes of families coming along for a walk. Some with buggies (the paths are all buggy friendly), some with dogs, even some hardy souls with picnics. The overflow car park was being put to good use by the time we arrived just before the house opened at 2pm.
The house is a family home and contains many personal items, including the Cobbe Collection of composer musical instruments. The current occupier is a tenant of the National Trust having taken up occupancy in 1987. Photography is banned as it is a private house, which is a shame. I would have loved to show you things that tickled me such as in the library where amongst all the beautiful exhibits there was a remote control for a TV. It looked so out of place yet really reinforced that the house really is a home.
Historically the house has been everything from a girl’s school, a hospital during the war and an emergency newsroom.
Investing £4.50 in the booklet really is a good move as it points out all the main features of the half dozen rooms that are open (there is also a recorded guided tour you can grab on the way in).
Once again though it was the “downstairs” areas that held my attention the most. Though due to the layout of this house, they aren’t actually downstairs. I so desperately wanted to explore and find an old kitchen and see where these bells all ring!
A stroll around the grounds before your trip inside is a must (and you are given little blue over shoes at the entrance to cover any really muddy soles) as there is so much to do if you have little ones, aside from the Space Hoppers. Saying hello to chaps like this for instance:
As you wander out towards the wood in the distance there is a fab little picnic barn that does what it says on the tin really, a great shelter should you need it, with tables outside and plenty of space to sit on a blanket too.
And then bluebells. Oh the promise of bluebells. They are about a fortnight away from perfection but are already showing promise. And were certainly popular last weekend. Roped off so nobody can trample them you can still get very close to photograph them if you want to.
I am definitely coming back in a week or two to see them in their full glory.
If you are near Guildford in the next few weeks then do go and see the bluebells.
And the cows
And the amazing cakes in the little shop that used to be the dairy
And the Space Hoppers!