PLENTY TO DO RAIN OR SHINE
WALKS AND PICNICS FOR SUNNY DAYS
Fancy going long-haul without the hassle? Head for a walk at Emmetts Garden in Kent to see rare plants from around the world and the stunning International Garden Photographer of the Year exhibition (free with admission).
Tackle the woodland trails of nearby Toys Hill and be rewarded with bluebells and spring colour. Pop back to Emmetts’ café after for a well-earned pit-stop.
For a more curated experience, a picnic in the royal pleasure grounds of Claremont Landscape Garden in Surrey offers picture perfect views of a serpentine lake, Camellia terrace and huge grassy amphitheatre. The rhododendrons and azaleas are stunning in May.
A Thames-side spot at the site of the sealing of the Magna Carta will give your picnic some gravitas. Runnymede in Berkshire is a fascinating place for contemplation or wandering, with artworks, memorials and wildflower meadows.
INDOOR TREASURES FOR RAINY DAYS
Instead of taking to the sofa with a book on a rainy day, Rudyard Kipling fans might want to visit Bateman’s, the writer’s 17th century home and sanctuary. The rooms remain much as he left them, with oriental rugs and artefacts reflecting his strong association with the East. New for this year, is a special display and film celebrating Kipling’s poem ‘The Glory of the Garden’.
Inspired by the baroque palaces of Europe and nestled in the South Downs, Petworth House displays some of the finest art and sculpture collections in the National Trust. The grand state rooms were designed to display the family’s wealth, taste and royal collections. Prepare to be awed.
Described as ‘the palace of palaces’, Osterley in west London is another impressive mansion worth a visit. The Robert Adam interior is one of the finest and most complete, with delicate decorations, friezes and furniture designed specifically for each setting.