A long weekend in The Surrey Hills

The best thing about memories is making them…

“An area of outstanding natural beauty” – That is what the sign said as we drove into the Surrey Hills on a recent long weekend break. There was never a more apt description of a place – everywhere you turned was picture perfect. Gorgeous green landscapes, rolling hills, dreamy villages and best of all… no WiFi.

We had been looking forward to this weekend for a long time. Life has been hectic lately and the idea of some quality time with family in a beautiful 19th century home with no TV, phones, iPad or any other digital distractions was just what we all needed.

This was our second time staying in a Landmark Trust property and as with our first experience in Scotland when we stayed in Gargunnock House, it didn’t disappoint. The name of the property we stayed in this time was Goddards and it was nothing short of stunning. It was built by architect Edwin Lutyens from 1898–1900 and is considered one of his most important early houses, designed in the traditional Surrey style and with a garden laid out in collaboration with the celebrated garden designer, Gertrude Jekyll. The house sleeps 12 people comfortably and like all Landmark trust properties it has been restored to the very highest standard.

The Landmark Trust are a charity that take on historic places  in danger and restore them beautifully making them available to rent to the general public for holidays. They are all well-equipped self-catering buildings and the idea is to encourage and foster quality time with friends and family away from everyday busy modern lives.  The Landmark Trust properties are quite different from the mainstream rentals – none of the properties have a television, radio or telephone and given their mainly remote locations, they rarely provide WiFi.

For someone who loves being online, this is actually a great thing in my eyes as it brings you back to having real connections with the people you are away with and forces you to open your eyes  and soak up all the lovely moments together. Instead of staring into a phone when you have some time to yourself, you are more inclined to run a bath or actually read the book you’ve been trying to finish for the last few months.

The list of types of properties you can rent on the Landmark Trust site include picturesque pavilions, medieval long-houses, artillery forts, Gothic follies, clan chiefs’ castles, cotton weavers’ cottages, the homes of great writers and the creations of great architects – seriously how cool to hide away in some remote location in one of these amazing proprieties full of history and character!? Goddards has a 1920’s style skittle alley!


It helped immensely that when we stepped off the plane from Ireland a blast of Mediterranean-esque heat hit us. London was experiencing a mini heat wave and that was OK by us.

Our kids and their cousins played until past 10pm every night in the most beautiful gardens I have ever seen and the adults sat around the table catching up and drinking tea and wine. It was all kinds of perfect. Something happens when you and your siblings have kids – you just want them to spend as much time as possible together creating memories and developing those special cousin bonds.

You want them to look back and have the kind of carefree memories you had yourself growing up surrounded by cousins… it is very special weekends like these that create those beautiful, lasting memories.

L x

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