Claremont Landscape Garden, Surrey

Wasn't it the most glorious Spring day yesterday? We hotfooted it straight out of London to spend the day at the beautiful National Trust property Claremont Landscape Garden just outside of Esher. Less than 30 minutes away from home, it is like entering a past life. A vast lake presides over the garden with an Amphitheatre over looking it, yesterday it was packed with picnickers rather than theatre goers.

Claremont formed part of the Royal playgound, a retreat for a Duke where numerous landscape designers left their mark including Capability Brown and Sir John Vanbrugh. Today, ordinary children can enjoy all it has to offer, in particular the wooden play area and the Victorian thatched cottage filled with dressing up boxes, and old fashioned games that children are free to interact with. Matilda was so taken with this little cottage she took a lot of persuasion to leave, in fact she seemed pretty convinced it was 'her house' welcoming other children to it. Matilda has quite an extraordinary imagination, and her sense of drama was heightened yesterday as she took on the persona of the lady of the house. Not sure the elder kids knew what to make of her.

A word of warning do accept a map when offered at the ticket office, you will need it as there are no signposts! It is the perfect place to enjoy a picnic but if you'd rather not, there is a pleasant looking cafe with a great terrace that serves homemade cakes, drinks and light lunches. A wonderful day that we will be repeating for sure over the Summer.