The beauty of Painshill Park
02 November 2021
Pegasus Cobham Bowers draws inspiration from the nearby beautiful Painshill Park, from the design of the walled garden to the flint stone used in the Pavilion. We recently caught up with Chrissie Paver, Head of Marketing and Communications at Painshill Park Trust, to find out more about the Park and why it should be top of your day trip list this Autumn.
Hi Chrissie, can you tell us about Painshill Park?
Yes, I’d love to! Painshill is 158 acres of landscaped garden in Cobham, Surrey. It’s a man-made design that was created as a living painting. It takes the visitor on a walk around a work of art, with dramatically placed follies, a serpentine lane and stunning views. Today, the site is run by a small independent charity that is dedicated to preserving it and making it a wonderful day out for visitors both local and further afield. It offers history, beauty, tranquillity, romance, wildlife, outdoor fun for families and more – so there really is something for everyone!
Can you tell us about the history of Painshill Park?
Painshill is regarded as one of the foremost and finest examples of the English Landscape Movement. This movement took gardening away from clipped hedges and geometric flower beds (think Tudor styles like Hampton Court Palace for example) to a more romantic, wild, natural style.
Charles Hamilton created the garden in the 18th century after being inspired by new styles of landscape painting. He went on a grand tour of Europe and came back full of inspiration for different types of architecture and new plants but unfortunately he was forced to sell Painshill though as he ran out of money! The estate then went through various hands and was broken up after World War II. In the 1950s and 60s people came across abandoned and derelict follies and began to campaign to bring back the lost garden. In the 1970s Elmbridge Council brought back as much of the land as they could and the Painshill Park Trust was formed in 1981. This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Trust and in that time we have managed to restore much of Painshill, however there is still a lot of work to do! But Painshill is starting to look like its wonderful 18th century design once again.
There are so many things to see when taking a walk around the beautiful park, which would you recommend as the top three must see spots?
Oh there are so many and I love that I get to work here and go on lunchtime walks! Some favourite spots are the view from the Turkish Tent and the area around the Temple of Bacchus. A real highlight is also the view from the Gothic Temple. However, one of my favourite things is so sit by the lake around the ruined Abbey and watch the wildlife; there are lots of lake birds including swans and Egyptian geese.
Does Painshill Park have any claims to fame?
We have been used as a location for many TV dramas and feature films including Dorian Gray, ITVs Vanity Fair and Black Mirror. However the big one that has shot to fame in the last few months is the Netflix show, Bridgerton. People love the show and they love to come and take photos in the spots featured!
How are the beautiful spaces maintained?
We have a small team of paid staff. However, being a charity, we heavily rely on about 250 volunteers, 60 or 70 of which volunteer to maintain the landscape. They are the real magic behind Painshill because they are so dedicated; some of them have put in 30 years’ service and have watched the restoration from the beginning.
Can you tell us a little more about the wine produced?
Charles Hamilton had a vineyard in the 18th century however the Victorians pulled out the vines to create a large rockery. As part of the restoration it was replanted in the 1990s and produces an English Sparkling Rose by growing Chardonnay, Seyval Blanc and Pinot Grigio. It is only two acres so wine stocks are annoyingly very limited!
What’s the best season to visit and why?
Oh I can’t say! I think the best way to experience Painshill is by getting a membership and visiting at different times of year. I love the baby birds in spring and the daffodil and bluebell displays, then the summer is lovely and green. However my favourite is autumn because the colours are just amazing. Even winter, which you don’t think of as a time to visit a garden, is beautiful because the follies stand out against the bare trees and there is often atmospheric or misty mornings. Or you get to see a sunset because the light fades earlier and they are always stunning.
Do you have any other recommendations of places to visit in and around Cobham?
We’re big fans of some of the restaurants and bars Cobham has to offer. Coppa do great cocktails (one is currently made with our Painshill gin!) and we highly recommend The Bear pub too. There’s so much to see and do in the area, including Brooklands Museum where you can see a Concorde.
To find out more about Painshill Park, plan your visit and book a ticket visit: https://www.painshill.co.uk/visit-us/
If you’re looking for a stylish new home with beautiful gardens on your doorstep to enjoy all year round then get in touch with the team to find out more about the homes to rent or buy at Pegasus Cobham Bowers. Call 01932 321 027 or email [email protected]