Tuesday 5 June 2007

Polesden Lacey, near Bookham, Surrey

A refined Regency mansion, painted yellow, overlooking an unusually serene and beautiful valley, Polesden Lacey has one of the best settings of any National Trust property in south east England. Adult visitors tend to sit on the great, sweeping lawn on the south side of the house, admiring the view, while their children hurtle down the slope and struggle back up again. But make time to wander through the fine walled gardens, past the herbaceous border, across the thatched footbridge and through the old kitchen garden. On the other side of the south lawn, stroll between the stone pillars topped with diminutive lions, and along the Terrace Walk, a wide grassy avenue, punctuated with stone edifices, which runs for hundreds of yards along the north side of the valley. Access to Polesden Lacey's gardens and grounds is £6.50 for an adult, but worth every penny, particularly if you linger on a summer's evening until most of the visitors have gone and you can enjoy this tranquil countryside at its best. 9/10