As it was going to be a baking hot day, I set off early from Wiltshire so I would arrive just as the gardens opened.
Leave the M25 at J9 and follow the A243 and then the A24 towards Epsom, Dorking and Leatherhead. Turn on to the A246 and then follow the brown tourist signs – the turning to the house is on the left just as you enter the village of Great Bookham.
I love Polesden Lacey – the Edwardian house is warm and welcoming while the gardens surrounding the house are so varied and full of surprises. Start by walking away from the house along the grass terrace with beautiful views on your right, over the countryside.
At the end of the terrace is the ruins of a colonnade and walking through the woods, you come out on the other side to a meadow which on my visit was covered in butterflies.
Walk back past the house and enter the more formal part of the garden
The first house known to have been built at Polesden Lacey was in 1631 for the Rous family. The estate was bought by R B Sheridan in 1797 but by 1813 the house was in ruins. It was rebuilt as a Grecian villa in 1820s by Joseph Bonsor who also added the walled gardens. In 1853, the house was enlarged for Sir Walter Farquhar and rebuilt again in 1903 by Ambrose Poynter for Sir Clinton Dawkins. The Grevilles bought the estate at the beginning of the twentieth century, enlarged the house and laid out the walled gardens as a series of flower gardens: the Rose Garden, Iris Garden, Lavender Garden and Winter Garden. Mrs Greville left the house to the National Trust in 1942 in memory of her father, the brewer William McEwan.
As this is a National Trust property, there is a shop and cafe on site