Europe, London, Travel

Day trips from London: Box Hill and Polesden Lacey

I’m so happy that spring has finally arrived as it means I’m now able to start doing more weekend trips on my scooter. The first of the season was a ride to Dorking in Surrey to visit a couple of National Trust spots – Box Hill and Polesden Lacey.

Box Hill is a summit of the North Downs so its a fantastic spot for great scenic walks and stunning views. The Zig Zag road also makes it a popular destination for both cyclists and motorcyclists.

There is a wide range of walks you can do at Box Hill, ranging from a short stroll through to an 8 mile hike. You don’t need to walk far to admire the views though, as the viewpoint at Salomons Memorial is accessible from the road and there’s a National Trust car park nearby.

Polesden Lacey is only a 15 minute drive back down the road from Box Hill. This Edwardian house was the lavish country retreat of socialite Maggie Greville.

The house was designed for entertaining, with the help of the interior designers who styled the Ritz. King George VI and Queen Elizabeth (the Queen Mum) were frequent visitors to the house, and even had their honeymoon here.

Unfortunately on this visit the formal upstairs rooms were not open to the public, however they had opened up the servants areas which had recently been restored. After Easter they should open up the other rooms so you’d be able to see how the house would have looked when Maggie was in residence.

This was my second visit to Polesden Lacey and last time the house was not fully open either as restoration works were being done. I understand that the work needs to be done but they don’t seem to inform visitors of this on the website or even when collecting tickets at the visitor’s centre. As a National Trust member its less of an issue because I can come back at a later date but I think people might be disappointed if they paid the full admission price to only see a portion of the house.

Outside the house there are plenty of gardens and grounds to explore. This isn’t the best time of year to see the gardens as they’re not yet in full bloom but it was nice to see the daffodils flowering.

Visitor information

  • Box Hill is located about 20 miles south-west of London. Pay and display parking is available, National Trust members can park for free.
  • Polesden Lacey is open year round, except for 24th and 25th December. Most of the upstairs rooms in the house are closed during the winter months, though.
  • At popular times, admission to the house is by timed tickets.
  • Admission to the house is Β£13.60 for adults and parking is Β£5. National Trust members can visit and park for free.

What’s your favourite National Trust property?

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