Reviewed by Kirstie Fruen
Hatchlands Park is for 2016 at least, the home of the Sylvanian Families and their little trail is fabulous!
We used a Satnav to find our way here, good job as there are no sign posts to tell you where to go like most attractions. But, the postcode takes you all the way to the car park which is always good! Although there are no signs, there is, at the start of the drive a massive sign telling you that you have arrived. The drive leads directly to the car park where you will find that parking is free and there is ample available. There is also an overflow carpark which is a little walk from the main car park and the entrance.
The property itself is National Trust so membership is probably the best way to explore this property (mostly because I think you will want to return) or tickets are available on arrival. Tickets vary in price depending on which parts of the property you wish to explore.
Once we arrived at the entrance with our tickets in hand, we were asked what we would like to do. There are a range of trails available for kids to take part in, we chose the Sylvanian Families Nature Trail. We were also handed a map as we had not been here before.
We followed the map to the start of the nature trail which is very close to the entrance meaning my 4 small people (2 girls aged 14 and 6, 2 boys aged 4 and 3) didn’t have to walk far. To be fair, we didn’t need the map as there were plenty of Sylvanian’s pointing the way on many signposts.
Once we arrived at the start of the nature trail, we opened out our nature trail leaflet. This was double sided, concertinaed and well designed. On the one side was the 8 trail stations to find (2 questions to each station) and also facts on all the animals you are asked about at the stations. These facts include the answers to all the questions, you just have to read them all to find the answer.
On the other side was some colouring in and a maze to complete.
At the beginning of the trail, the end and somewhere roughly in the middle (maybe closer to the end) are carvings of three characters from the Sylvanian Families, which I understand have been carved with a chainsaw by a local chainsaw artist. They are really delightful little sculptures but I wouldn’t climb on them as they fall over!!!
The stations for the trail are well positioned a few meters from each other, but so that the view of the next one is obscured by a tree or corner. It’s quite a quick trail and easy to complete which I found a little disappointing, but the kids didn’t and they were happy which is always the main thing when you go out somewhere. Plus we all learnt something, hedgehogs have around 500 fleas – yuk, and foxes eat frogs!!
If you are feeling disappointed after the nature trail has taken all of 20 minutes to complete, don’t be, Hatchlands has so much more to offer and we spent 3 hours in the woods playing in the play area (I can’t call it a park as it has no swings or slides – my children will tell me off), den building clearing and the new tree house which has been built for 2016.
There is also the house to explore if that appeals to you, but with 3 very small ones who like to touch and aren’t allowed, we didn’t go in!
I am looking forward to my return to this property and looking forward to showing some friends the Sylvanian Families trail and the rest of what this wonderful property has to offer.
My rating for the Sylvanian Families nature trail would be 4/5. For what I saw of the rest of the property and my whole day out would be 5/5.
Tickets cost(with Gift Aid) £5 (child), £10 (Adult) and £25 (Family).
For more information visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/hatchlands-park.
Hatchlands Park, East Clandon, Guildford, Surrey, GU4 7RT