Last weekend was sensational! Granted I didn’t cover as much as I initially intended due to knee pains. Sometimes, quality over quantity is best. There was so much to do, with Heritage Open Days and Open House London. The weather was perfect for an expedition. In London, there is always something going on that is likely to be FREE. However, it requires scouting them on via newspapers, magazines or the local library. Open House London is annual. We’ve been going for the past 7 years. Every year I choose a couple places that would interest the kids. Heritage Open Days was new to me. So, where did we go? What did we do? Well, let me tell you. Our weekend was a mix of outdoor fun and exploring local architecture.
On the Friday by chance I spotted an ad in the Families London Surrey Borders magazine for Heritage Open Days. This year Heritage Open Days celebrated 25 years of being ‘England’s largest grass roots heritage festival’. It allows visitors free entry to heritage attractions that are normally costed. Quickly I went to their website and searched for events near me. I settled on Claremont Landscape Gardens. After having such an awesome day at Painshill Park earlier this year, I knew the kids would be thrilled to visit Claremont.
Claremont dates back 300 years, then known as the Chargate Farm and Wood. It was owned by, the renowned architect, playwright, courtier and spy Sir John Vanbrugh, who then sold it in 1714 to Thomas Pelham-Holles, the Duke of Newcastle. In the ‘1720s, designer Charles Bridgeman crafted a formal garden for the Duke. His most notable addition was the three-acre turf amphitheatre, painstakingly carved into ‘Bridgeman’s Hill’.’
Over the years the garden was developed. It has been home to royals including Princess Charlotte and Prince Leopold. In 1922 it was broken up and eventually became a part of the National trust in 1949.
Activities at Claremont
Claremont makes the perfect day out whatever the weather. Fortunately for us it was a sunny 21 degrees on Saturday. The kids played dress up at the Thatched Cottage. We picnicked on the Bowling Green. After lunch we climbed up the steep hill from the Green to Belvedere Tower to look out over Surrey, binoculars were provided. From the tower we made down the hill pass the Camellia Terrace towards the Island Pavilion and Grotto.
We stopped at intervals for the kids to play in the woods and build a den. They even went ‘fishing’ (well pretend anyways) in the lake and that gave us the opportunity to spot birds and dragon files. The day came to a close at The Badger’s Basecamp which is an adventure playground for older kids, on The Mound. It ‘features tunnels and hidey holes, taking its inspiration from a badger’s home.’ I was impressed with the number of places to sit and rest/reflect. It’s a fun day out for everyone.
If you missed out, don’t despair, during October half-term there will be events such as potion making trail. For entry cost and further details visit the website.
Some years ago a massive building was being constructed near to Sutton Train station. I was very curious about that it would be. Eventually, it took shape and once the building was completed I found up it was called Subsea 7. As part of Open House London, Subsea 7 opened their doors to the public for a tour. Apparently this year was their third time doing so. Ang joined me on the tour. This term his class topic is The Abyss. I thought it would be useful for him to see what else happens under the sea.
About Subsea 7
Subsea 7 is a subsea engineering ‘construction and services company serving the offshore energy industry.’ They operate machines 3000m under the sea where humans. Based on the welcome presentation during their work Subsea 7 considers sea life, tides and underwater the terrain when laying the pipes. Their divers maintain of the pipes and go to depths of 300m.
At their Sutton HQ we had the chance to view parts of the building. It provides contemporary and flexible office space, extensive breakout areas, presentation suites, training rooms, café, restaurant and gym facility for over 700 staff on-site, with designated office space for key collaborative partners and clients. The amazing design was developed by ESA Architectures so it could contribute to ongoing town centre regeneration. We saw the ground floor including atrium area and 4th floor. The view up from the atrium to the ceiling looks like layers of the ocean. We start with the dark deep sea and make our way to the lighter surface water.
The building has a BREEAM rating of ‘Excellent’ and has been targeted with environmental measures including PV cells, green and living roofs (plants, herbs and bees), positive tree landscaping, rain water harvesting, extensive lighting, energy reduction measures and full waste re-cycling.
I’m so glad we took the time to visit Claremont Landscape Gardens and Subsea 7. We enjoy the outdoors. It’s a joy to see the kids imaginations come alive. If you missed the events and activities, look out for it next year. In the mean times some the site are open to visitors at a cost, visit the website of the attractions you want to see.
What fascinating places have you been with your family recently? Comment below, I’d love to hear from you.