The Evolution of Parks and Gardens Over Time

With such a wealth of influences the Surrey Regional Route focuses on “The Evolution of Parks and Gardens Over Time.”

This portrays the influences on the style and development of parks and gardens in Surrey. It is looking at where the inspiration for parks and gardens came from, how they developed, how they are connected with other places and people.

This has close links with the cultural, economic, historic and social development of Surrey. It also has links to art and architecture. The Regional Route was developed to show such links and it does include selected other sites and aspects.

The five gardens in Surrey’s Regional Route have been chosen to highlight the range of influences in park and garden development in Surrey.

Painshill Park is one of the 18th century’s great landscape parks. Here history, art, and landscape design come together spectacularly to offer visitors of all ages an enlightening, breath-taking and tranquil day out.

Located near Cobham, Surrey, Painshill Park was the vision of the Hon Charles Hamilton, a young nobleman who returned from his Grand Tours of Europe inspired by all the art and architecture he had seen. Between 1738 and 1773 he enthusiastically set about transforming a strip of land near the River Mole into a ‘pleasure garden’ around which visitors could walk and be presented with a series of living pictures.

Thomas Jefferson visited Painshill in 1786 and may have been inspired in his design for Monticello. Today, with its restoration nearly complete, Painshill Park is once again what Charles Hamilton wanted it to be: a series of landscapes that enrich and delight all who visit it.

Years of painstaking research into the original tree and shrub plantings and faithful reconstruction have brought back Hamilton’s “living pictures” and rescued one of Europe’s finest 18th century landscape Parks from years of obscurity and neglect.

Polesden Lacey, a 1400 acre estate, is situated on the North Downs and commands some of the finest views in Surrey. The Edwardian Garden extends to 30 acres with 10 acres of lawns and elegant grass terraces, including a walled rose garden, summer border and winter displays.

The present house, completed in 1824, was last owned by the society hostess Mrs Greville, who hosted dinner parties for the rich and famous, including royalty. There are currently nine show rooms open to the public which have been restored to how they would have looked in Edwardian times.

Hatchlands was built by Admiral Boscowan in the mid 18th century based on designs by the architect Stiff Leadbetter. At the end of the 18th century Humphrey Repton wrote a Red Book for the site, with proposals for improving the parkland.

An area adjacent to the house was designed by Gertrude Jekyll and has been re-planted using her plans of 1914. The site contains a good example of an ice house.

Gatton Park centred on the Royal Alexandra & Albert School is the core 250 acres of a manor and park whose history can be traced to the Domesday Survey. It was a deer park in the medieval period and the great landscaper Lancelot 'Capability' Brown replaced earlier formal gardens in the 1760's with a more natural landscape. Gatton Park was one of Brown's larger commissions and he enhanced the spectacular setting in the North Downs. His design incorporated views over parkland to a string of lakes and a serpentine, to a temple and the woodland beyond.

The gardens near the house were remodelled in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and the Japanese Garden and Rock Garden have recently been restored.

Whatever the season, RHS Garden Wisley demonstrates British gardening at its best with 97 hectares (240) acres) of glorious garden.

For 100 years the garden has been a centre of gardening excellence with visitors benefiting from the knowledge and experience of experts.

Today you will find that Wisley offers visitors countless opportunities to gather new ideas and inspiration.