A weekend away is an opportunity to both relax and explore the local environment at a leisurely pace. It’s fortunate, then, that Springwood is situated in an area which offers so much within a short driving distance and just one amazing day out is Polesdon Lacey.
Just a 30 minute drive from Springwood, is the National Trust’s administrative centre and is also one of its most visited properties. The Edwardian House and its 1400 acres estate has an impressive history – the name Polesden is thought to be Saxon and the first house known to have been built here is recorded as being by 1336. The current house expanded upon earlier buildings and is now a reflection of the ownership, from 1906, of Mrs Greville – a famous Edwardian hostess “who entertained royalty, politicians and the cream of society”.
Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, spent her honeymoon at Polsden Lacey in April 1923 and said it was “a delicious house”. It has opulent interiors and houses an extensive collection of art and ceramics – from Dutch Old Masters to Sèvres and Meissen porcelain to Fabergé animals with jewelled eyes. The ‘Gold Salon’ epitomises the extravagance of Mrs Greville who had instructed her architects to design a room “fit to entertain a Maharaja”. It is decorated with early 18th-century panelling from an Italian palace and, as the name suggests, is grandiose in extreme.
The gardens offer something for every season, including climbing roses, herbaceous borders and a winter garden bursting with yellow aconites. There are free garden tours every day at 11.30am, 12.45pm, 2pm and 3.15pm. The wider estate provides views over the rolling hills or walks through woodland – there are four marked trails available.
Polesden Lacey also has open-air performing facilities, which are used during the summer to host various musical and theatrical events. There are always a variety of different events taking place, here are a few eclectic suggestions:
Polesden Lacey Food Festival
A festival of handmade British food gifts, charcuterie, artisan cheesemakers, local eateries, bakers, wines and beers, wood oven pizzas, fruit and vegetables, chillies, sauces and pickles, sweets, juices as well as produce from around the world including Italy, Spain, Vietnam, India, Germany and the Mediterranean…. YUM!
Or what about something REALLY different? Climb A Big Tree!
Why not take part in the National Trust’s ’50 Things to do Before You’re 11¾’ –some activities are open to adults – and come and Climb A Big Tree!! Highly skilled instructors help all ages to, literally, reach new heights in a fantastic tree in the ground of Polesden Lacey. Using ropes, knots and karabiners climb into the tree’s canopy and complete a branch walk too. Minimum age is 6 years old – maximum age is not applicable! Go on, relive your youth!
Whatever your interests and whatever your “imaginary” age, Springwood is the perfect base for a weekend of doing something different!