Wow - this is the 13th place I've reviewed for my Freelancer's Guide to Getting Out of the House already - just think of all those cups of coffee and yummy food that I've had to sample on behalf of everybody who works from home...!
The latest addition to the Guide is another Surrey National Trust property. Head out of Leatherhead on the A246, towards Guildford (going past Polesden Lacey on the way), and just past the turning to West Horsley you'll find the entrance to Hatchlands Park on the right-hand side.
National Trust places are always near the top of my list to visit as you can easily combine work and play in one trip.
There's very little better than a crisp autumn morning walk through stunning fields and woods to blow the cobwebs away and stir up the imagination, before setting up your laptop in a cosy corner of a National Trust café and warming back up with a hot drink. (From my last time here I can also thoroughly recommend their apple flapjack - soft, sweet and melt in the mouth...)
If it's warm enough you can sit outside in the courtyard (the WiFi stretches out to at least some of those tables) but otherwise there is plenty of seating inside. It gets busy at certain times, of course, but get there when it opens and you shouldn't have a problem bagging a table.
Work aside, Hatchlands Park is also a great one to go to with children. There's over 400 acres to explore and, during the holidays there's a variety of kids' trails (with sticker reward) and, if the weather is good enough, a battalion of Space Hoppers for them to bounce about the front lawn on.
Out the back is a track up to the woods, where Wizard Wix (below) has arranged a cute wooden play area, including a fab tree house to climb up to. There are also well-marked, differing length walks that give you the opportunity to explore the parkland in its entirety.
Quick history of Hatchlands:
Built as a family home in 1756 by Edward and Frances Boscawen, the interior was designed by architect Robert Adam. The Boscawens lived at Hatchlands until 1770, when it was bought by the Sumner family and, in 1800, the parkland was updated by noted landscape designer Humphrey Repton.
The estate was sold to Lord Rendel and his family in 1888. During the Second World War the house was home to a group of evacuated school girls and in 1945, Lord Rendel's grandson, Hal, the last private owner of Hatchland's park, passed it on to the National Trust, who have looked after it ever since.
You can read more about the history of Hatchlands here!
So, where to next then? I fancy venturing exploring further afield in Surrey on my next trip - so if you have any favourite coffee shops, let me know!
(And before I go I need to stick in a quick plug for my Writing Workshops (the next ones are 7th November at Learn, Grow, Create in Dorking and 8th November at All Things Nice, Ewell) - if you fancy taking two hours out of your hectic week to stop, relax and practise some cathartic writing skills, book up now!)