Painshill Park Gardens Review (2024), Top Tips And More!

Review by Supriya Khandekar.

I am a mother of two and I can guarantee how “boring” a visit to the neighbourhood park can get sometimes. However, if you really want your kids to enjoy in nature and some place that isn’t far off that you will have to packs extra underpants and three meals, then keep reading.

Just about an hour drive towards Kent will take you to the Painshill Park, in Cobham Surrey, which makes a wonderful family day out. With 158 acres to explore and enjoy there is space to run around, climb trees and really get back to nature.

We particularly enjoyed the entire walking trail as there were surprises at literally every turn through the trail. The kids were super excited for something new to look around. 

Painshill is an award-winning 18th century landscape garden where you are invited to walk around a work of art. Stroll around the Serpentine Lake, wander through woodland and promenade past follies, including the Ruined Abbey, Gothic Temple and Turkish Tent.

A Grade I listed landscape garden, Painshill was created between 1738 and 1773 by the Honourable Charles Hamilton after he was inspired by landscape painting. You can even download the audio tour to know more about the landscape. 

For families there is a natural play area and wildlife spotting trails as well as wildflower meadows in which to run around in and get back to nature. Dogs are very welcome too!

The Entrance To Painshill Park

Arriving And Parking At Painshill Park

Painshill Park has ample parking space so you can drive without a worry. As you enter, you are greeted with very friendly staff and one needs to buy a ticket to visit this park. You can even book your tickets online on their website or just walk-in and get one, like we did.

This was an unplanned trip and we did not know what to expect. We had only imagined that it would be a small picnic in a park like we usually had. But all of us and not just the kids were pleasantly surprised by how beautiful Painshill Park turned out to be. 

After getting the tickets we were shown the way to the park with brochures that had maps and other information about Painshill Park. As we entered the park we saw two walking trails- Blue and Red. One of them was a shorter route but our kids wanted to be adventurous and we took the longer trial and followed the brochure map to find all the things mentioned on it. 

Shape Location Get directions

Portsmouth Rd,
KT11 1BE

Opening Times

2nd - 4th February 2024


Total price: £259 including breakfast

Find out more
The Crystal Grotto At Painshill Park

The Crystal Grotto At Painshill Park

The trail takes you through beautiful trees, to picturesque Vineyard, a Gothic temple, the ruined Abbey,  a sparkling Crystal Grotto, a quaint Hermitage, a working Waterwheel, an enchanting Gothic Tower, an expansive lake with numerous ducks and swans to welcome you. And not to mention the Five Arch bridge, where hit Netflix series Bridgerton was filmed. Also, if you are lucky enough, you might be able to spot the ancient ice keeping place. 

However, the highlight of our day at Painshill was the Crystal Grotto. That is one place where you will not want to put your camera down. Children were captivated and we, adults stood in awe of the incredible man-made feature.

The spectacular Grotto is a magical, naturalistic cave with shimmering, bubbling water, rough rock and stalactites covered in sparkling crystals. On a sunny day, shafts of light pierce the interior through carefully placed openings in the ceiling. The light makes the crystals sparkle as it bounces off the coral pools and lake water.

The Crystal Grotto is included in entry to the landscape but is closed for maintenance on Monday. Please check the Grotto opening times before planning your visit.

Working Windmill At Painshill Park

The Working Waterwheel At Painshill Park

The other most intriguing place was the working Waterwheel. The kids felt nothing less than a museum visit when they saw the waterwheel. It was no less that astonishing to know how an enire 14 acre lake was created by simply watching the waterwheel turn. At 10.6 metres in diameter, it is one of the largest working wheels in the UK and was built in the 1830s.

Boy And Dad Walking Down Pavement Towards The Beach

After we left the beach that long hill back up felt a bit daunting but the kids revelled in pulling Mum and Dad by the hand, dragging us to the top. If you want to slowly make your way back up to the top there are lovely little shops and cafes all the way up. Robin Hoods Bay is very small but there are still lots of choices with cafes, pubs and fish and chip shops. We particularly love a tiny free museum on the walk up which has fossils and dinosaur skeletons on show and sells a few gems and shells too. The boys always want to stop off and look. 

If you are struggling to get the kids to walk back up the hill, there is a great incentive of the playground at the top. As well as the usual swings and slide, the park has a huge wooden ship to play on. My eldest at almost 11 often scoffs at the suggestion of playing at a park now but even he can’t resist a game of hide and seek or tag around the pirate ship. There are plenty of benches too for the adults to rest or to eat at. 

Back at the car we tucked into our well deserved picnic before heading home. Our clothes were muddy and sandy, our faces were flushed pink from the cold and we were all smiling. So to me that means the day was a success. We set off and had a very quiet, peaceful drive. Two kids (and two parents!) worn out ready for a Sunday afternoon family film time. 

How Long Is Painshill Park’s Walk?

You can enjoy a walk for 2 – 3 hours at Painshill or there are shorter accessible routes. Make it a full day out by bringing a picnic or you can even visit their café- Mr Hamilton’s Tea Room for some refreshments. We did carry some snack and fruits with us but who doesn’t get tempted. 

We missed their lunch by just 5 minutes. However, they had some other refreshments available. We highly recommend their ice cream shop- Joe Delluci’s Gellato, as it has some outstanding flavours to try!

They also have a Painshill Garden Shop that has gifts, souvenirs, decorations and even Painshill’s very own Sparkling Wine. We did not get anything from their though.

The entire walk can actually leave you quite tired ensuring there is no trouble for an early bedtime for the little ones. My kids truly enjoyed their day out at Painshill Park and we enjoyed it equally.

Highlights Of Our Day Out At Painshill Park!

The highlights were the Crystal Grotto, Waterwheel, Gothic Tower and mostly it was how interestingly and intriguingly the walking trail was designed. It keeps you looking out for something new and doesn’t disappoint at any point. Even the landscape is so pleasing to the eye that it does not feel like your regular walk in the park. The park also has some events and activities planned all year round for families. Do check their website and book accordingly if you are looking for something extra. We would still say, it doesn’t really require an event or an activity because you will be overwhelmed for sure with what it has to offer even without that.

View Of The Beach

So, now you know everything amazing about Painshill Park!

Looking for more things to do? Head to our recommendations page for all reviews on fab family attractions! From Fonmon Castle, Hobbledown and Stockeld Park to the National Space Centre in Leicester and the Knights Village at Warwick Castle!

VIP Pass - Go Henry Offer