Friday, 22 January 2016

ms-havachat discovering Surrey, UK: Savill Garden

Stock photo thanks to Google Images

We live across the road from The Savill Garden and a short drive from Windsor Great Park, Ascot and Windsor (as in Castle).

Lucky! Right? RIGHT.

Savill Garden is part of The Royal Landscape, which also includes Virginia Water, The Valley Gardens and Windsor Great Park. It's a huge expanse of Crown Land open to the public all year round. Mind you, there's Crown Land everywhere in this area, and lots and LOTS of natural forest areas. It's a very pretty part of the country.

Savill Gardens was created by Sir Eric Savill in 1930's. It's known as being a garden for all seasons (we've only seen it in fall (autumn) and winter so far), covering 35 acres of interconnecting gardens and woodlands.

There's something about spending time under trees. Centennial Park (Sydney) holds a very special place in our hearts, as does Sankien Gardens (Yokohama), Glendalough (Co. Wicklow, Ireland) and the New Forest (Hampshire). We're not really outdoor people. We don't hike or  walk for miles, we don't cycle either but we do enjoy the odd leisurely walk, enjoying the trees and moss, looking for fairy haunts and picnics. We love picnics. We also really enjoy sharing these unique places with our visitors.

We (finally) have the right clothing for this time of year - and on dry weekends, we've ventured out for a family stroll to discover a whole world of people walking in the park, with or without dogs on/off leads, pushing babies in strollers, or swishing past us with professional walking gear.

I walk MrsC sometimes as she has to walk her dog every day. I don't walk when it's wet or too windy which is another reason we will never own a dog.

Today I ventured out for a walk on my own. I WAS going to the gym to do an hour or so on the treadmill but it was a crips, DRY morning and I thought the park would be much nicer atmosphere.

It started really well. I followed the track MrsC and I have walked but clearly I did not pay anywhere near the attention I should have and very quickly found myself lost.

Considering the park has fencing all around it, and the main road we live off forms a very long perimeter side of the park I wasn't lost-lost, just didn't know how to get out of the park.

Getting lost in a park, or in a city has a huge advantage if you can keep calm - you discover things you wouldn't normally do if you stayed on the path you knew. Remembering we are not big walkers this kind of thing is very new to me/us.

Consequently I didn't panic and used it as an opportunity to (a) kick arse on my daily steps, and (b) discover bits of the park I wouldn't normally see as I do a set hour circuit with MrsB and the dog, and G and MissM are still needing a lot of coaxing to get dressed, put on boots, done scarves/gloves/hats and walk for an hour or so on the weekend.

Look what I found!

Fascinated by the duck ice skating while it's friends
were swimming a few metres away from him. 

A little kids playground; a curious looking coffee shop and the
Cumberland Obelisk, erected by King George II in honour of his son,
the Duke of Cumberland.

It's Winter. What more can I say?

I am so looking forward to getting to know my way around the Gardens, and recognising where I am in terms of the various areas: The Hidden Gardens, The Summer Gardens, The New Zealand Garden, The Spring Wood, The Summer Wood, The Glades, The Autumn Wood and Azalea Walks. At the moment, it all looks the same to me.

I'm looking forward to warmer weather when we can take a picnic lunch across the road, or afternoon tea. The long summer evenings, when G's home from work, we could do a quick walk before or after dinner (watch this space), and I'm not needing to invest in a gym membership.

My in-laws are visiting over summer and they are big walkers. Living so close to Savill Gardens is a huge bonus.

I have to admit, after getting lost for quite a while, I did start to think how on earth do I get out of here. I had no cash on me, so even if I could find my way out and ended up on the other side of the park I couldn't grab a taxi home. I needed to find 'our gate'.

And then soon enough there it was. The path looked the same as all the others but I could see the road sign to Virgina Water and the digging equipment on the new housing estate and knew THE gate was right there.

I picked up speed, cos by now I was cold. My phone batter was on 14%. I need the loo and a coffee.

THE gate to lead me home. 

If you're in the area, please make time to visit this very special place.

There are several car parks around the permitter of the park (there's a parking fee) or you can take the train to Egham, or Ascot, or Virginia Water and take a taxi, call Uber, or walk (it's a long walk!)

You can take the Long Walk into Windsor, have some lunch, walk around the town and if you've time, tour Windsor Castle. We've not done the walk yet but we have been into Windsor and toured the Castle.

The Long Walk runs south from Windsor Castle to the statue of King George 111
 on top of Snow Hill where you will have magnificent views of the Castle

There's so much to do in this part of Surrey, why not make it a weekend visit?

There's more information on their website, so check it out at

If you've time, pop across to the stunning Royal Holloway College just to see this magnificent building.

Stunning building!

Just remember the path you took so you can get home.

With friendship

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