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Fantastic Father’s Days at the National Trust

PUBLISHED: 17:29 10 June 2013 | UPDATED: 17:29 10 June 2013

Carving under the eaves of the Maori Meeting House in Clandon Park.

Carving under the eaves of the Maori Meeting House in Clandon Park.

NTPL/Nick Meers

Families are looking set to be very busy this June, with half term falling at the start of the month and Father’s Day being celebrated on Sunday June 16. Emma Brien reports

So how better to spend time as a family, and to thank our dads for everything that they do for us, than with some great days out in beautiful Surrey locations?

This year, we can particularly recommend two impressive houses that are located very close to each other. Clandon Park and its neighbour Hatchlands Park - both offer beautiful houses set in expansive grounds that look stunning in the early summer months. Team that with a cup of tea and snack and you have the ideal combination for families looking for a great day out.

Clandon Park – from relaxing summer blooms to action packed events

Clandon Park, with its grand Palladian architecture is well worth a visit at any time of year. The West Clandon house contains several fascinating collections, including 18th-century furniture, porcelain and textiles, mostly acquired in the 1920s by connoisseur, Mrs Gubbay. Outside, the formal gardens are covered in early summer blooms, while the only Maori meeting house in the UK, Hinehmihi, transported from her original New Zealand setting in 1892, should definitely not be missed.

June is a great time to visit Clandon Park, not least due to the rich schedule of events taking place there:

• Green-fingered families might enjoy a garden themed talk at Clandon Park on Tuesday June 4;

• Discover hidden Clandon on an attic tour on Sunday June 9…

• …or join a stone carving workshop on Sunday June 2, 16 or 23;

Classic plays, archery and pony rides all on offer at Hatchlands Park

Down the road in East Clandon sits the equally impressive Hatchlands Park - another National Trust mansion full of fascinating furniture and fittings and surrounded by an intimate garden and tranquil parkland and woodlands.

This house was built in the 1750s for Admiral Boscawen: a hero of the Battle of Louisburg. Fathers with a love of history will enjoy exploring this fascinating place, which is also home to the Cobbe collection: Europe’s largest collection of keyboard instruments associated with famous composers, such as J.C. Bach, Chopin and Elgar.

The events team at Hatchlands Park have been busy, planning many different events to keep families amused there this month:

• A special ‘have-a-go’ archery day on Sunday June 30 will bring out competitive natures;

• while pony-mad youngsters are invited to enjoy pony rides on Sunday June 2 and 23;

• families can also bring their dogs to a ‘canine capers day’ of competitions, stalls and activities on Sunday June 16;

• visitors of a more arty persuasion might enjoy a series of scenes from classic plays being performed live around the house on the afternoon of Sunday June 2.

Floral delights to be found in the Rhododendron Wood at Leith Hill

Finally, June is the perfect month to enjoy the spectacular displays on Rhododendron Wood at Leith Hill. Planted by Caroline Wedgwood, Charles Darwin’s eldest sister, the woods form part of the larger Leith Hill estate near Coldharbour, which are looked after by a team of National Trust rangers and conservation volunteers. The striking colours and heady scents will delight the soul during a walk on the hill; perhaps followed by lunch in a nearby pub. Or, why not try the newly opened cafe at Box Hill? Spending an easy, enjoyable half term or Father’s Day with the National Trust really is as easy as it seems.

• Visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/southeast for more details.

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