Before exploring the 158 acre land, sandwiches and cold drinks were enjoyed - should I have opted for a hot drink? Probably. I have a terrible habit of overestimating the temperature and then spending hours upon hours morphing into an ice cube. Thankfully, the weather changed dramatically over the time it took me to wolf down a tuna sandwich and I was soon able to admire the sweeping vineyards in complete sunshine.
Moving on and deeper into the 18th century landscape garden, there seemed to be a never-ending supply of unusual architecture and unique features. The garden was created between 1738 and 1773 as the artistic vision of the Honourable Charles Hamilton (9th son and 14th child of the 6th Earl of Abercorn) and it's a vision of pure romance and tranquility - two of the greatest elements, in my opinion!
|Local wildlife with an excellent sense of pedestrian etiquette..|
Blouse - Karen Millen (as seen in profile photo!)
Watch - Daniel Wellington Classy Sheffield*
Shoes - Dune Finchy Sandals
Sunglasses - Bally
Sunglasses - Bally
With regard to 'follies and features', there's an abundance of unique designs and I really mean unique. The list of 18th century follies include The Ruined Abbey, Turkish Tent, Gothic Temple and Gothic Tower. The Turkish Tent is like nothing I've ever seen before and certainly seemed to attract a fair amount of attention from visitors. Having said that, the ultimate feature at Painshill Park is without a doubt the incredible Crystal Grotto. Recently restored, it consists of hundreds of thousands of crystals including calcite and quartz - it's enough to make you want to change into a floor length tulle-netted dress and set up camp there for life. If you think that sounds mad, you really need to visit the place!
By the time the exit was in sight, I entirely understood and appreciated Hamilton's vision - it's one of romance and idealism. Speaking of which, he had even put out an advert in the local paper to find a 'hermit' willing to live in his grounds as he felt it would add to this vision, although quite hilariously, his hired hermit was found just three weeks later in a local pub and subsequently dismissed!
Even now, back at home, I'm still amazed by how much there was to see at Painshill Park - the only place I can possibly liken it to is the incredible Stourhead (see my post on the National Trust destination here). If you're thinking of visiting Painshill Park, my suggestion would be to visit on a beautifully sunny day with good company and a pair of comfortable shoes on - there's a lot to explore!
ps. there are some events taking place this summer that are just as unique as the landscape garden itself - take a look at their What's On page.