Polesden Lacey, a very English day trip only a few miles away from London
Polesden Lacey is an Edwardian country house whose first incarnation was in 1336. Following on from that over the centuries and several owners later, the current house in Regency style was established by the final owners Margaret Greville and her husband Robert. This final design of the house was created by Thomas Cubitt in 1824 and bought in 1906 by William McEwan for his daughter Margaret and her husband.
The country escape under Margaret’s ownership became the place for the society of the day, the height of its fame was when it hosted Quest Elizabeth and George VI for part of their honeymoon in 1923.
The beauty of the countryside, the comforts offered by the house and the charm and charisma of Margaret Greville ensured that it was a focus of many famous peoples weekend destination. The North Downs location in the undulating hills created the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of the London life.
So for us, the modern day tripper, it also offers the same joys, with a short drive out of London, it’s a place where kids and grownups can both enjoy a day where both history and nature vie for your attention.
The North Downs location mean that you can walk out of any one of the garden gates and be right in the downs. There are fields, hills and woods to explore with changing colour and smells which ensures that every visit is a different experience.
The house has formal gardens, with perfectly manicured hedges that frame a walk between the garden and the downs, it has a rose garden as well as a walled garden, and all of these have their own cycle of beauty depending on the season when you visit.
Once your have explored the outside until your hearts content, stepping into the house is the beginning of another journey. The house was completely remodeled by Margaret Greville and her husband with the help of the famous society architects Charles Mewès & Arthur Davis who’s other famed project was non other than the Ritz Hotel in London. The fabulous wealth of the Greville meant that the house was filled with fine collections of porcelain, silver, art and furniture that survives to this day, strewed across room after room. There is also an entire room that was shipped to rural England from Italy and recreated. This gold ornately decorated salon was the center of the entrainments for the hosts.
The couple was also very forward thinking and so the house was fully heated and the baths had running hot water, a luxury that did not go unnoticed by its famous city guests.
For us Londoners’ having this on our doorstep is a real treat, one that can be enjoyed at any time of the year and by any age group. The irresistible North Downs location is complimented by the interior and the history that Polesden Lacey itself has to offer.
Fore more information about the house, visit the National Trust website : https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/polesden-lacey