Our first visit of the year took place on Wednesday the 25th April when we visited Painshill Park in Cobham. Despite a few heavy April showers, for which we were all prepared, the weather was kind to us and after a complimentary drink we were divided into three groups for a guided tour of the grounds.

This was not a garden in the usual sense but large parkland, beautifully landscaped and with many unusual follies which were the work of the Honourable Charles Hamilton who created the garden between 1738 and 1773. He was inspired by Renaissance Art and his grand tours across Europe and he wanted to create a garden that reflected the changing fashion in garden design. Many new trees and shrubs were sent from America and were carefully placed to enhance the vistas he was trying to create. He built many follies - temples and towers, a Turkish tent and a ruined abbey - and our guide took us to several including the famous Crystal Grotto. This was restored in 2013 and after walking down a dark narrow passage we emerged into a cave-like building sparkling with crystals over all of the walls. Afterwards, walking by the large serpentine lake, we made our way back to the restaurant for lunch.

Don't forget the Summer show on the 30th June, details of classes and how to enter are all in your Programme.

Updated 29 May, 2018