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Whether you live in Surrey or just fancy getting out of London for a breath of fresh air, this leafy county in the South East of England is the perfect spot for an unforgettable family day out.
Known for its beautiful scenery – from historic parks to picturesque gardens and woodlands including Box Hill – Surrey is also quick and easy to get to from the capital. National Trust properties are the ideal destination for a family day out in Surrey. From historic buildings to breathtaking woodlands to explore, most National Trust properties have excellent family-friendly facilities and something to please kids of all ages.
Read on to discover the best National Trust properties in Surrey for your family adventure, and get ready to start planning the perfect post-lockdown visit later this spring, just as soon as National Trust properties open their doors to visitors again.
Once home to a famous hostess who entertained royalty and celebrities, this imposing Edwardian country house offers beautiful views across the Surrey Hills and surrounding countryside. The gardens are at their best in June but there’s plenty to see indoors from the ceramics and art collections to the Gold Saloon, where kings and queens were once wined and dined. Outside, there are four waymarked trails to explore.
Where is it? Great Bookham, Dorking, RH5 6BB (The postcode confuses satnavs so use KT23 4PZ instead.)
How long does it take to get there from London? An hour’s drive.
Is it buggy friendly? There are lots of flat paths outside but buggies aren't allowed in the house.
Is it dog friendly? Dogs on leads are welcome in the grounds of Polesden Lacey. On the wider estate and farmland, be aware of livestock grazing.
Is it bike-friendly? Yes. Children’s bicycles and scooters can be used in the grounds.
What toilet facilities are there? You'll find accessible toilets and baby changing facilities opposite the coffee shop. There are additional toilets close to the café, and temporary toilets in the grounds during spring and summer.
What’s parking like? It's pay and display for non-members but free for National Trust members.
Are there outdoor amenities? Yes – there's a natural play area in the grounds with beams to practice your balancing skills and space for building a den. If you fancy a spot of wildlife spotting, check out the bird hide.
Why visit? Suitable for all ages, Polesden Lacey has plenty to keep the family occupied both indoors and out.
Kidadler Vicki says: “Visited Polesden Lacey over the weekend... wanting to take full advantage of the NT membership and the beautiful weather. It's lovely – our new favourite after Cliveden! We arrived early, around 10 am, but the car park was already quite full. The property is huge and spread out. We saw horses, sheep, a hen-house, lots of apple trees with apples, sweetcorn fields and roses – my two-year-old was thrilled!”
Claremont Landscape Garden
Created by the great landscape designers of the 18th century, Claremont Landscape Garden is a lovely outdoor place to visit for a family day out in Surrey. As well as the grade 1 listed landscape garden, the beautiful Belvedere Tower – normally open between April and October – is well worth visiting. On a clear day, you can see for miles in all directions across Box Hill and the Surrey Hills.
Where is it? Portsmouth Road, Esher, Surrey, KT10 9JG
How long does it take to get there from London? Around 45 minutes’ drive.
Is it buggy friendly? Yes.
Is it dog friendly? Well-behaved dogs are welcome between October and April. Dogs are always welcome in the cafe.
Is it bike-friendly? No, due to steep slopes and open water.
What toilet facilities are there? The toilet block outside the pay barrier has baby-changing facilities.
What’s parking like? Parking is free for 120 cars, with further free parking at two council car parks nearby. Entry to the cafe is free for everyone. Entry to the gardens is free for National Trust members.
Are there outdoor amenities? Yes, there’s a large outdoor children’s play area. There’s also a nine-pin bowling alley behind the amphitheatre – head to the kiosk to pay a deposit and pick up a ball. Older children should head to The Mound to check out Badger's Basecamp, a den building area. Toys and games are also available at the Thatched Cottage.
Why visit? The gardens and play area at this National Trust property are the perfect places to blow off some steam after lockdown, and the view from the tower is well worth the climb. Bring a picnic!
Kidadler Bridget says: “Claremont Gardens is a nice one with lots of open space along with a playground and cafe.”
Built in the 1750s for naval hero Admiral Edward Boscawen and his wife, this classic country house is now a family home. You can usually tour the inside of the house between April and October, or visit the beautiful parkland all year round. There are waymarked walks to enjoy and a natural adventure area for children.
Where is it? East Clandon, Guildford, Surrey, GU4 7RT
How long does it take to get there from London? Just over an hour's drive.
Is it buggy friendly? Yes – ask about buggy-friendly routes through the grounds.
Is it dog friendly? Dogs are welcome if kept under close control.
Is it bike-friendly? Children's bikes measuring less than 75cm are welcome.
What toilet facilities are there? There are baby-changing facilities in the female and disabled toilets.
What’s parking like? Parking is free.
Are there outdoor amenities? There's a natural adventure area for children and a seasonal parkland trail to explore.
Why visit? There are two trails around the house for children to explore on a rainy day, and 400 acres of parkland to enjoy. It's close to Box Hill and surrounded by quaint villages.
The award-winning visitor centre at Dapdune Wharf tells the story of the River Wey, which opened to barge traffic in 1653 and was one of the first British rivers to be made navigable. You can see where the barges were built and climb aboard one of three surviving barges. When this unusual property is open, you can take a boat trip along the River Wey from Dapdune Wharf.
Where is it? Navigations Office and Dapdune Wharf, Wharf Road, Guildford, Surrey, GU1 4RR
How long does it take to get there from London? Just under an hour's drive.
Is it buggy friendly? Yes, buggies are permitted and there are 20 miles of partly-accessible towpath to walk.
Is it dog friendly? Dogs must be kept on a lead.
Is it bike-friendly? Bikes are allowed but caution is needed near the water.
What toilet facilities are there? Baby-changing facilities are available.
What’s parking like? Free.
Are there outdoor amenities? It's mostly outdoor – you can walk the 15 miles to Weybridge along the towpath, and there's a children's trail to explore.
Why visit? Bring history alive as you explore the visitor centre to find out about this historical waterway, then enjoy a boat trip or build a den on the island.
A freelance journalist, Heidi writes about everything from parenting to travel. She loves staying awake long enough to read a chapter of a good book, nights out with mum friends, and occasional spa days. Originally from London, she now lives near the Giant's Causeway in Northern Ireland with her husband and their three children. They love family bike rides, rock-pooling at the beach, and cosying up to watch a film together.