Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Hatchlands Park

We wanted to make the most of our quick trip to Sussex, so we decided to visit Hatchlands Park in Surrey on the way past. Situated in East Clandon, near Guildford it was always on our wish list of places to visit. Mark and I never got around to visiting it when we lived in Guildford. Now that we live 180 miles away, we somehow managed to prioritise a visit!

The red brick, Georgian house is owned by the National Trust and is set in beautiful grounds. The house is now a family home, but is open to the public four afternoons a week. The house contains the beautiful collection of paintings and fine furniture belonging to the tenant Alec Cobbe. It also contains the Cobbe Collection, Europe's largest collection  of historic keyboard instruments, which was the main reason I wanted to visit. It was such an incredible thrill to see the piano played on by Chopin (my favourite composer) whenever he played in England and many of the instruments were owned by famous composers like J.C. Bach, Mahler or Liszt. All the instruments are tuned regularly and are in playable condition, though some of them are rather fragile due to their age. The eighteenth century harpsichord was a thing of beauty. Apparently, there are regular concerts held at the house and the instrument used is chosen to fit the period of the music being played. I would love to be able to attend a concert here one day. It really was a privilege to be able to see this wonderful collection.

Because it is a family home (and what a home!), no photography is allowed inside the house, but I did take some pictures outside. The grounds are extensive and we barely scratched the surface of them in the short space of time we had available to us. We all enjoyed our visit to Hatchlands and would love to come back and spend more time in the beautiful parkland. A second look at the wonderful Cobbe Collection would also be a delight!

There were lots of space hoppers on the grass in front of the house for visiting children to play on. Lily and Emma had great fun on them.

Emma in the ice house

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