The best National Trust locations to visit this spring
25th April 2021
As spring is upon us and restrictions are beginning to ease across the UK, it is finally time for people to start enjoying the wonders that it has to offer, including some of the UK’s favourite National Trust properties, gardens and landscapes.
National Trust locations are a great place for families of up to six to meet, enjoy some well-needed time together whilst also enjoying the wonderful landscapes that these properties have to offer. Although a lot of the houses and indoor spaces aren’t open for a few more months yet, the locations are perfect for everyone, including those who may rely on straight and curved stairlifts. Read on to find out a little more about some of the locations to visit over the next couple of months, including recommendations from bloggers too.
Polesden Lacey, Surrey
This stunning Edwardian estate once played host to The Queen Mother on her honeymoon and boasts a huge and vast estate. Polesden Lacey sits nestled in the Surrey countryside, just 9 miles from Dorking and is a great day out for the whole family.
Hannah and The Twiglets is run by Hannah and she explained a little more about why she loves this location in particular: “There are lots of fabulous National Trust properties to visit in Surrey – we are spoilt for choice! Hatchlands is perfect to visit in the Spring, with its beautiful bluebell-covered woodland. Polesden Lacey is also a really popular location for families. It has beautiful flower borders and gardens, various cafes, including an outdoor kiosk, and plenty of lush green space to explore.”
Explore the manicured lawns, climbing roses, herbaceous borders, and a winter garden to name just a few. A day out here really will offer peace and tranquillity in a slice of Surrey heaven.
Stourhead is home to a stunning Palladian house but its crowning glory is its world-famous gardens that are a treat for all the senses. The green areas are divided by the still and tranquil water, stunning bridges and glorious architecture. Justine from Wanderers of The World loves Stourhead and explains a little more about her experiences:
"One of my most favourite things about the National Trust is that they look after so many beautiful natural spaces and gardens to help you enjoy the great outdoors. I'd certainly recommend visiting Stourhead in Wiltshire at least once in your lifetime. The estate has a large lake you can wander around, as well as temples and grottoes to discover. So incredible is Stourhead that even part of the 2005 Pride & Prejudice movie was filmed there.”
The 2,650-acre estate is perfect for walkers and ramblers and is home to chalk down, dense woodlands and wildlife-filled farmland.
Woodchester Park, Gloucestershire
A secluded wooded valley in Gloucestershire, Woodchester Park is the perfect playground for nature lovers and keen walkers. Here you will find the remains of an 18th and 19th-century landscape park, a chain of tranquil lakes, stunning woodland and even a 19th-century boathouse that has recently been restored.
“Woodchester Park in Gloucestershire holds a very special place in my heart as it was where my husband and I first met.” Justine comments. She continues, “Here, you'll find a large lake, woodland trails for children to play on and a sweet little boathouse, which served as a filming location in the second series of The Crown."
The estate is the perfect place to enjoy a walk and picnic with family or friends and the picturesque views are great for avid photographers.
An arts and crafts garden in the north Cotswolds, Hidcote is just a few miles away from Stratford-upon-Avon. The gardens were tastefully created by American horticulturist, Major Lawrence Johnston and are a must-visit for anyone in the area.
The garden features narrow pathways, secret gardens, colourful flower beds and an abundance of wildlife, like Julie, blogger at A Lady in London explains:
"If you're looking to enjoy the outdoors, there are a couple of National Trust locations I would recommend. The first one is Hidcote, a property in the Cotswolds that features a manor house with an arts and crafts garden with outdoor ‘rooms’. The grounds are perfect for exploring if you love ornamental flower beds.”
Hidcote is the perfect location to meet up with a friend or to wander around on your own, there is so much to see and do, you really won’t get bored.
Ham House, Richmond
Sat on the bank of the River Thames in London is Ham House. Built in 1610, the house and gardens were designed by the Duchess of Lauderdale and her husband, the Duke, making it one of the richest and most opulent houses in Stuart England.
Julie also loves the Ham House gardens and recommends it to all that are in the area: “The second place I recommend is Ham House in Richmond. This 17th-century property has extensive grounds with everything from manicured gardens to a kitchen garden to enjoy. There are also tucked-away summer houses to discover in the Wilderness garden, and perfectly sculpted hedges in the Cherry Garden."
The gardens are some of the richest in London and have been fully restored to their 17th-century glory with a productive kitchen garden, summerhouse and perfect seating areas that are perfect for a picnic.
Scotney Castle, Kent
Scotney Castle is one of the most picturesque buildings and gardens in Kent. The gardens are accompanied by 770 acres of wild parkland, woodland and crops that are open for keen walkers. Claire from My Tunbridge Wells loves the castle and the grounds and couldn’t recommend it enough:
“We have been using our National Trust membership a huge amount over the last few months, as we are lucky to have quite a few properties close to us. Scotney Castle in Kent is an absolute favourite. Not only is it picturesque, but it also has fascinating castle ruins for my kids to enjoy and lots of open space. The Easter trail was lots of fun too. There is a playground there which is set to re-open soon and my kids love the giant marble run.”
Emmetts Garden, Kent
Owned by Frederic Lubbock Emmetts Garden is a much-loved family home and wonderful National Trust estate. The garden was landscaped in the 19th century and contains a huge array of exotic plants, rare trees and plants from across the globe, making it a one of a kind. The location isn’t just home to some stunning plants and shrubs as the panoramic views over the unspoilt Weald are not to be missed.
Clare adds: “Emmetts Garden, also in Kent, is a fantastic place to visit too. As well as the lovely lawns to play or picnic on, the gardens are gorgeous to look at. There's also a natural playground which is currently open, with musical instruments, a teepee and more. Emmetts Garden is beautiful all-year-round but it is about to get even more attractive as the bluebells are set to bloom soon.”
If you’re planning a day out with family or friends and are unsure what to do, why not visit some of these stunning locations and find out a little more about their long and varied industry. If you are planning to visit, make sure you book your visit beforehand as people turning up on the day will be turned away.
National Trust locations to visit this spring:
- Polesden Lacey, Surrey
- Stourhead, Wiltshire
- Woodchester Park, Gloucestershire
- Hidcote, Gloucestershire
- Ham House, Richmond
- Scotney Castle, Kent
- Emmetts Garden, Kent
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