Painshill Park, Cobham, Surrey
If it’s peace and tranquillity you’re looking for in a delightful setting, take a picnic to Painshill Park and lose yourself in a magical mystery walk around this beautiful landscaped garden.
Designed in the 18th Century in the naturalistic style by the Honourable Charles Hamilton, a talented painter and plantsman, the garden is easily accessible from London and a mere 5 minutes from the M25. With its own bijou vineyard and an historic walking trail, this is an ideal place to escape from the hustle and bustle of the Big Smoke. If you’re feeling energetic, combine it with a visit to RHS Wisley for Afternoon Tea and a shop.The Foodie Travel Guide
- Walk the historic trail
- Have a picnic in the grounds
- Volunteer for the grape harvest
- Come for the Food Festival
Admire the View from Painshill Park Vineyard
The park has its own small vineyard, surely one of the prettiest in the country with its steep slopes leading down to the lake offering stunning views of the Surrey Hills in the distance. Sit on one of the thoughtfully placed benches and admire it at your leisure. The vineyard produces over 2,000 bottles a year of both a sparkling rosé and a white so bring an icebox with you and buy a bottle from the shop to pop open and enjoy with your picnic.
Volunteer For The Grape Harvest
Come in the early autumn to see grapes ripening on the vine or get rustic and hands-on by volunteering for the grape harvest. They’re an enthusiastic friendly bunch at Painshill so you’re sure to have a fun time.
Taste Painshill Honey
Winnie-the-Pooh lovers in your party might like to pick up a jar of Painshill honey to spread on baguettes (maybe with some goat’s cheese and sprinkled with thyme?). Follow lunch with a game of Pooh sticks at one of the three enchanting bridges along the trail.
Walk the Historic Trail
The historic walking trail is 2½ miles long and takes you through beautiful landscapes to discover follies, a crystal grotto (featured in George Clarke’s Amazing Spaces), and a series of views that will both enchant and surprise you. You’ll be spoilt for choice when its come to choosing the perfect picnic spot. Take a look at the Ice House to see how food was kept cool in the 18th Century. It will make you look extra lovingly at your fridge in the morning.
Visit the Food Festival
Visit in late September for the Elmbridge Food Festival, a small local affair with activities for ‘Little Foodies’ such as face-painting and a treasure hunt; a selection of artisan stalls selling mouth-watering delights; talks and demonstrations from local food suppliers such as the Surrey Hills Butcher; and live music.
Listen to Specialist Talks
Participate in one of the many organised tours or talks held throughout the year. Recent ones have included bee-keeping, mushroom foraging and a talk from the Bluebell Vineyard in Kent which presses the grapes and makes the wine for Painshill.
- Don’t forget to bring your camera, picnic rug and wine glasses
- On Festival Days entrance is free
- There’s a utilitarian café on site but we think Painshill is the place to enjoy a great picnic
Where to Stay
Denbies Farmhouse Bed and Breakfast – stay on the vineyard in this 7-bedroomed homely B&B and enjoy views of the surrounding vines.
The Guildford Harbour Hotel – stay in the centre of Guildford at this new contemporary hotel with spa facilities. It’s the latest hotel from the Harbour Hotel Group
Wootton House Hotel in Dorking – history buffs and sporty types will enjoy the architecture and spa facilities at this grand house set in 13 acres of parkland (also a popular conference venue).