Painshill open air events

Painshill brings welcome laughter to Cobham

Guest Blog written by Grosvenor Billinghurst

What an evening! We packed our picnic blankets and cool boxes of goodies and headed off to the Walled Garden in Painshill for an evening of live comedy. The first occasion of this kind that we’d been to for a long time (thank you Covid) there was a definite air of excitement for the evening ahead. And we were NOT disappointed!

Even as we first entered the grounds we were surrounded by friendly volunteers with big smiles, welcoming us to the event.  There was a buzz around the other comedy enthusiasts (a very diverse bunch), whether sitting in their dusted off camping chairs or lounging on their picnic rugs – everyone enjoying being “out out” for the evening, whilst still feeling very safe at the social distancing in place.  The sun was shining on the grass as it started dropping behind the walls of the garden and it felt for a moment like life was back to “normal” and there was a respite from the worries of the pandemic. For those wanting lubrication of an alcoholic sort the Corks bar had an array of drinks to suit any taste, which of course we made full use of!

The MC and the comedians were very funny – dealing with their change in performance scene brilliantly…from darkened comedy club or large theatre setting, to streaming comedy from their “home office” and now to an outdoor stage in front of the picnicking residents of Cobham (a village which many of them had never heard of – how could they not?!?). Each one brought their own style of comedy, which gave us all a lot of laughs – something that we all relished after the events of the last year. Two hours of comedy (with breaks for a couple of trips to the bar) flew by and we headed home with a spring in our step, reciting our favourite jokes from the show.

As sponsors of the events in the Walled Garden this summer we are not only very proud to be involved with Painshill and these fantastic events, but we’re very grateful for their presence – to lift our spirits, to bring us together with our local community – and we can’t wait to go to more of the events in the future.  See you there?  You know you want to!

Painshill summer events are sponsored by

Find out more about Painshill events

Volunteers interview blog

Volunteer Interview Blog 2021

1- 6 Jun 2021 marks National Volunteers Week! Now that COVID-19 restrictions allow it is a brilliant time to re-start our Volunteer Interview Blog.

Painshill couldn’t run without volunteers. We have over 200 and they keep the landscape looking lovely, greet people on the ticket desk and work in the gift shop. They run guided tours, make repairs to the landscape features, host talks, take photographs and much more. Many have been with us for years and the staff are always hugely inspired by their dedication and passion. Thank you to them all for everything they do.

Would you like to get involved at Painshill? We welcome all ages and interests. Whether you want to stay active, improve your mental health, gain work experience or meet new people – we can find a role that works for you.

David Willcocks

What is your role at Painshill? 

I do a multitude of roles! I regularly do Landscaping on Monday’s with Andy and his team, but I also do buggy tours, walking tours, volunteer coordinating, what else…! Oh, Grotto stewarding. That’s it.

Just a small list then! How long have you been a volunteer?

Since 6th December 2017 – so 3 and ½ years now!

What role do you enjoy most?

Well I come from a farming background and when I was a student I used to work on a Forest Commission and on the farm, driving tractors and combines and those sort of things, so I was naturally attracted to Landscaping.

You get to work with a great bunch of people. A really nice team.

I am also interested in Wildlife generally so it gets me out to enjoy it. I also enjoy the Grotto Stewarding as people generally appreciate some information they wouldn’t normally get. Some people want to wiz through and get a selfie and others are really interested in the history. You get to speak with a variety of people – I‘m not exactly backward in coming forward to chat so the interaction with visitors is what I like.

What makes you come back to volunteer in the Landscape every week?

My wife would say it’s to get out of the house! I like being outside, I’m a very active person, I still play squash, so doing something physical is very important to me. I come back because A) I do get on really well with the team and the landscape guys and girls and we have a lunchtime all together outside – fresh air, the birds, all that good stuff! B) Its different from my previous working life – after 40 years working in London it’s a total contrast. It’s nice to be my own boss and have volunteer hours!

Do you have a favourite or most memorable task during your time at Painshill?

I did a buggy tour for an American gentleman who had been stationed here prior to D-Day during the war. He was on a big trip around Europe to revisit all the sites and he chose to come down to Painshill. He was quite elderly so I took him up to the Gothic Tower on the buggy and when we got back he gave me a $20 tip!

Wow what a result!

Yes that buggy tour stood out. Definitely memorable.

Why did you choose Painshill? 

Well I used to come here with the kids when they were little, and when I started working part time I started bringing them back and got to know the park. I wanted to drift into retirement slowly and wanted the chance to be unstructured. What appealed about Painshill is the flexibility. You don’t have to do the same shift on the same day each week.

I have also got to know a lot of people here and it becomes a big family in a funny sort of way. I hope I can keep going for many more years!

What would you say to anyone interested in becoming a volunteer?

Do it! Like many people I have other commitments and grandchildren etc. and you can’t always predict what you can do. This gives me the opportunity to come as much as I can, and at the same time not miss out on other parts of my life. That’s why I chose Painshill.

You come to know the park, get to know the people, you even get to know the swans and ducks like ‘Doris’!

What is your favourite spot at Painshill? 

Oooh gosh that’s difficult. The view from the Amphitheatre over the lake and the downs – absolutely gorgeous. My favourite tree is the Cork Tree. Not many people see it. It’s in the Amphitheatre near the statue.

Painshill 40th anniversary

A portrait of Painshill over the last 40 years

For the last 40 years, Painshill Park Trust has worked tirelessly to bring the lost gardens of Painshill back to their former 18th century glory – and we want to celebrate by using our Ruby Anniversary year to create a giant collage of visitor’s photographs.

Today, our spectacular 158-acre site is once again one of the most important and significant landscape gardens in the country.

With a history nearly as fascinating as the wonderful follies dotted through the landscape, our visionary park was designed in the 1700s by The Hon Charles Hamilton, who used a mix of architecture and horticulture to recreate the sights he saw on his two Grand Tours of Europe.

In the decades that followed, Painshill passed from owner to owner until it fell into ruin after World War Two.

Formed in 1981, Painshill Park Trust has spent the last 40 years tirelessly fundraising, painstakingly restoring each of the follies and recreating the breath-taking views for our 130,000 visitors a year.

There is still work to do and in our 40th year we will be planning and fundraising for important landscape projects.

As well as honour the anniversary we would like to celebrate all that Painshill means to the community. We will be creating a giant collage of pictures and we’re asking for you to send us your photographs of Painshill – whether they’re of the spectacular scenery, the fantastic follies, or you and your family enjoying the grounds.

We know how much you love Painshill, and collecting your memories to create a giant collage will not only celebrate the restoration but also all the good times people have enjoyed here over the last four decades.

Please get involved today and share your pictures on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram #PainshillRuby or by emailing them to us at

Painshill on screen

Painshill on screen

Netflix’s Bridgerton aired in the UK on Christmas Day 2020 and the Duke and Duchess of Hastings have certainly caused quite a stir! Netflix have announced today that it has become their biggest ever drama series.

A romantic, scandalous and quick-witted series, Bridgerton follows Daphne Bridgerton, the eldest daughter of the powerful Bridgerton family as she makes her debut onto Regency London’s competitive marriage market.

With spectacular scenery and decadent costumes, costumes Bridgerton is a feast for the eyes and is winning rave reviews from audiences all around the world.

We hope you spotted Painshill? It was used as a location for filming some of the scenes where the characters promenade and picnic.


We thought this would provide a lovely opportunity to tell you more about some of the programmes that have featured Painshill.

With its stunning 18th century follies and views free of modern buildings, Painshill has been chosen to represent gardens in various historical TV shows and feature films.

Notably among these are the 2009 Dorian Gray film, starring Ben Barnes and Colin Firth, and ITV’s Vanity Fair which aired in 2018.

Of all the filming in recent years, Painshill is featured most prominently in Netflix’s Black Mirror. The lake, the Five Arch Bridge, the Ruined Abbey and the Gothic Temple are all very recognisable.

What is also so interesting about Painshill is that it doesn’t need to be an 18th century landscape garden. There are many areas that film makers have used to create all sorts of locations. Painshill is often used to stand in for places such as Primrose Hill and Hyde Park, in London.

In the 2015 film Suffragette, Helena Bonham Carter, Carey Mulligan and Anne-Marie Duff are seen strolling along the banks of the Serpentine Lake.

Most recently, a distinctive crater in the Painshill woodland was used as Adam’s den for Amazon Prime’s Good Omens starring David Tennant and Michael Sheen.

Painshill locations have also looked fantastic in several music videos. The meadows and lake were used in Florence and the Machine’s Rabbit Heart and the Grotto features in Ellie Goulding’s Starry Eyed.

We look forward to sharing details of more recent filming with you once the footage has aired.

Head Gardener Andy Mills chooses his five favourite Painshill trees

Head Gardener Andy Mills chooses his five favourite Painshill trees

A landscape garden is not just for summer! A stunning display of colour makes Painshill a beautiful day out in autumn.

As the leaves turn, the acorns fall and the air becomes crisper Andy Mills, Painshill’s Head of Estates and Landscape, tells us about his five favourite Painshill trees

“Do I have to pick just 5? There are so many I love. Ok, here goes…

I could start with The Great Cedar but the problem is everybody starts with The Great Cedar. It’s the largest multi-stemmed cedar in Europe and so you can’t miss it and it gets a lot of attention. Instead, I am going to say the Cork Oak in the Amphitheatre. We know it was planted by Hamilton, the designer of Painshill, so is over 200 years old. Its bark is normally used for corks, hence the name, so it seems fitting that he planted close to the vineyard. It is evergreen however, so it will not give you autumn colour.

If it is colour you are seeking you must not miss the Red Oak very close to the Keyhole Plantation. It is my screensaver I love it so much. It stands out on the top of the slope and is the most stunning red at the end of the year. It’s also a Hamilton-era tree. Garden creators at that time would buy in plants from overseas. They would arrive in boxes after months on a ship and the designer wouldn’t know what plants were in the box or whether they had survived the journey. Hamilton would buy seeds and boxes from renowned collector John Bartram – this tree was probably one of them and came over from North America in the 18th century.

For my third I would like to mention the Hornbeam by the Mausoleum. It is surrounded by yew trees so stands out against their green when its foliage becomes bright yellow. If visitors look closely they will see it is pictured in the painting on the information board. The painting, from the 18th century, shows the tree as a sapling and I like the reminder of how long it has been there.

Another favourite are the trees very close to it – two extremely large Taxodiums by the water’s edge. They are stunning because of the reflections they cast into the water. Originally from The Everglades in Florida they thrive by the lake and these particular specimens are over 250 years old.

I have already mentioned two oaks however, there is another one I should add. The one near the Five Arch Bridge is a proper veteran and actually pre-dates Hamilton and the designing of Painshill. As do others like the London Planes along the river edge.

I also love the Cedar of Lebanon on Grotto Island. It might not be as big as The Great Cedar but I like where it is situated casting reflections onto the lake.

Oh, I have gone over five haven’t I…

I hope you can come and see them and many others for yourself this autumn!”

Plan a visit this autumn

spring flowers at Painshill

When and where to see spring flowers

Every spring Painshill is treated to wonderful displays of spring flowers. Follow our guide below for when and where to see them.

Please note: the timings can vary and exact dates cannot be predicted. Please keep an eye on our website homepage for the best information as to when they are blooming!


When – Starting now and into Feb

Snowdrops carpet the ground in white across the east side of Painshill in early spring. There are already a few early ones this January. Galanthus nivalis (single snowdrops) and Galanthus nivalis “Flore-Plena” (double snowdrops) are both found at Painshill.

The best snowdrop walk is to take a stroll around the Serpentine Lake and head for the Waterwheel finding snowdrops at the Mausoleum, Cascade and the Five Arch Bridge.

Where – the Cascade and the Mausoleum


When – March into the beginning of April

Signs of the daffodils are already out there! Green shoots are making their way up across the Painshill woodland. Every 2 years the landscape team plant 5000 new daffodil bulbs. They stick to Narcissus pseudonarcissus (wild daffodil), Narcissus obvallaris (Tenby daffodil) and Narcissus aestivalis (Pheasant eye daffodil) as the planting must be in keeping with the 18th century landscape and fit with Charles Hamilton’s vision, although we have inherited a large number of Victorian varieties of daffodil planted after Hamilton left.

For a daffodil walk head through the woodland towards the Gothic Temple. After taking in the view from the Temple, wind around the paths in the area of the Chinese plantings. Head back via the Ruined Abbey and vineyard to see the displays along the lake side.

Where – Woodland close to the Visitor Centre and the Ruined Abbey


Along with the 5000 daffodils the landscape team also plant 1,500 different bulbs. They include Fritillaria meleagris (snakes eye fritillary), Leucojum vernum (the spring snowflake),  Tulipa tarda (the late tulip) and Scilla italica (the Italian bluebell). All bulbs planted by the Trust would have been used in the 18th century.

   The spring snowflake

Wild Garlic

When – March

Wild garlic is found all along the river edge in March. Take a leaf in your hands and you can’t miss the smell!

Where – By the river edge and around the Waterwheel


When – April and May

In April, the daffodils will be joined and followed by the Hyacinthoides non-scripta (English bluebells) which carpet the woodlands and infuse the air with their fantastic perfume.

To spot the bluebells, wander through the woodland behind the Ruined Abbey and then head over the Five Arch Bridge and up to the Turkish Tent to catch the view.

Where – Woodland behind the Ruined Abbey or in front of the Turkish Tent

Why not visit Painshill multiple times and enjoy all the flowers this spring! Join up as a Painshill membership and get unlimited entry. Find out more.

volunteering at Painshill

Volunteer Interview Blog 2019

To celebrate Volunteer’s Week 2019, Painshill are delighted to launch our new Volunteer Interview Blog!

Each month we will be showcasing a volunteer from our team who gives their time to keep Painshill running and looking stunning.

Around 170 volunteers work for Painshill. They worked a total of 15,000 hours during 2018. This figure covers the Landscape, Visitor Centre, Crystal Grotto, Watermill and the Tower Café.

We are extremely grateful to all our volunteers for their dedication and effort. They are vital to Painshill and its success!

We are grateful to The Community Foundation for Surrey for part funding our volunteer programme.

CFS Full Colour logo

Volunteer Interview of the month – Nov 19

‘The Gentlemen Greasers’

Malcolm, Warwick, Mark, Ron (not pictured), Barry and David


What is the role of ‘the greasers’ at Painshill?

Warwick – We look after the Waterwheel. It is not a folly but a functional building that pumps water from the River Mole to create the Serpentine lake. That’s its sole purpose now. It was more involved before, we don’t know when exactly, but in former times there were many pipes. One went right up the slope to the top, close to the Temple of Bacchus, probably to a tank where the gardeners took water from.

Malcolm – There was also a pipe that went from there to Painshill House. A pressure pump took water up the slope and from there gravity would carry it to the house. It fed the house before they had mains water we think.

The original waterwheel was made of wood and leather and lasted 50 years. Around the 1830s another was put it but that fell to pieces when the park was derelict. The wheel was there but all the paddles broke off. In 1987 it was restored.

What was the lake like when the Waterwheel was derelict?

Malcolm – A jungle. Trees were growing in it.

Warwick – You couldn’t even see the lake. The man who restored the Gothic Temple was working for 2 weeks before he even realised there was a lake. It was more like a swamp.

Malcolm – For quite a long while they had a pump pulling out all the sludge and leaves to clear and restore the lake.

Warwick – Yes, the first restoration team must have had such an imagination to see the 18th century landscape within the “jungle”. They worked tirelessly to clear it.

Waterwheel - 1981

How long have you been volunteering?

Warwick – Well Ron has been here for many years.

Ron – Since 1987!

David – I was here about 2008 and I left in about 2013.

Warwick – Malcolm came in 2009. When I was on staff I was responsible for the Waterwheel but was a proper ‘greaser’ from about 2011.

Where did that term ‘the greasers’ come from?

Warwick – It came from the work in the wheel. A big part of the job is greasing all the parts. I think it was the first director that called us that. The wheel has 26 grease nipples and 6 oiling points where we drop oil in. We calculate how many times the wheel has turned in the past week and if it hasn’t turned much there is less maintenance but if it has been turning a lot we need to grease everything.

And is that dictated by water level?

Malcolm – Yes, the river level is changing all the time. We monitor it. We can’t control it though! People often ask questions when we are in there and we like to be a guide there as well.

Waterwheel repairs
Waterwheel repairs

What got you involved in volunteering?

Barry – I first came as a visitor and a notice was put up in the Waterwheel asking for help. I said to Lucy in the Visitor Centre, in a weak moment, that I was toying with the idea of becoming a volunteer. Lucy persuaded me to give it a whirl. I am the newbie!

Mark – I am newer I think. I started a year ago. Warwick asked me. I was just minding my own business and before I knew it I was here once a week!

Ron – I came with my wife and she did the same.  They read out a list of jobs they needed and when they said ‘waterwheel greaser’ she signed me up.

What makes you come back to join ‘the greasers’ every week?

Ron – I am retired so it is good to have something to get me out of the house!

David – I used to work in the city on building sites where everything was often grey and always man-made. When I retired I decided to do a 180 degree turn and work outdoors where the grass is green, the sun shines and the sky is blue. Painshill was local, I hadn’t been before, but I lived close. I first started working with the gardeners three days a week. I just loved the surroundings. It is a lovely place to be. I miss it. I come back annually to see these old friends.

Warwick – Half the morning is actually spent in the Tea Room. It is a social thing of course. We meet once a week for a coffee and good chat. And the more the merrier!

What your favourite spot at Painshill?

David – I don’t think I could single one out! It is a lovely place to be. There are views from the Temple and from the Turkish Tent. And nature pays its part, I like different views as the seasons change.

Malcolm – I can’t pick one. I have such a list. There is the hermitage where you can look out, the vineyard, the top of the Tower.

Mark – I like sitting at the Amphitheatre looking over the vineyard and the lake. You can see to the Surrey Hills.

Warwick– I like the west side of the landscape, the heath land. But there are so many places. I can’t choose one.

David – I was always promised a kingfisher and I never saw them.

Warwick – Yes, on Grotto Island! They fly through the bridge.

David – Oh, I missed them!

Warwick – You will have to come back.

David – If that’s an invitation, I would love to come back!

Volunteer Interview of the month – Oct 19

Carolyn Ezekiel

Carolyn Ezekiel

How long have you been volunteering?

Oh, I am trying to work it out. Maybe almost 30 years I should think.

Really wow, that’s amazing

It must have been 1991, so yes 28 years now!

What keeps you coming back?

Just habit. No no, obviously I love it! I will keep coming because I can choose what I do, when I come and tailor it to other volunteering I am doing. I used to do the walking tour.

Is that the thing you enjoyed most? Giving guided tours?

Yes. The one thing I didn’t want to do is be inside the shop or office. I wanted to be out there in the garden. I also like being a steward in the Grotto. Everyone goes in the Grotto and so you have got a captive audience. They enjoy it and take note of it all. If you are just walking around visitors don’t know they can talk to you. If you are standing on duty they ask you questions.

The Grotto is extremely fragile and the Painshill Park Trust spent an awful lot of money restoring it. I feel it makes a difference having a steward in there. I work in there at the weekends. The Grotto is the thing that makes Painshill different from other gardens.

It must be incredible to be in there at weekends and see children’s reactions.

Oh yes, yes they do just love it.

When did you first visit Painshill?

Well, I live in Cobham, so came in the early days. People used to come in what is now the trade entrance and it was only open at weekends. It was all staffed by volunteers. There was a little hut selling tea and a few souvenirs.  The Grotto wasn’t there, it was completely open to the sky. So I have seen it be completely re-built.

Crystal Grotto
Crystal Grotto at Painshill - credit Graham Dash

What was the landscape like?

Well the Gothic Temple was there but the Five Arch Bridge wasn’t. It was a lovely garden but it wasn’t that interesting because there wasn’t enough information about it. What the Trust did is change the entrance and build a Visitor Centre and the bridge. It was that bridge that won me over! I just love that bridge over the river. We had a talk from the architect about the Visitor Centre and how it would be built end on so that you aren’t confronted by the size of it at any stage. You only see the narrow edge and therefore through to the garden. I think the design is very good.

So you have watched it change massively.

Oh massively. What I love is the vision of Charles Hamilton. I think he was just an amazing person. To spend a life creating a garden is almost a concept we don’t understand these days. People ask me; did he make it to sell tickets? But really he just did it because he loved it. He saw this land, didn’t have any money, but could imagine what to do with it. It was a swamp and he made this. A fantastic thing.

Was there a particular thing or person who inspired you to volunteer?

Well, I’ll tell you who was inspiring, a man called Teige O’Brien, who was there at the forming of the Painshill Park Trust. He was so enthusiastic about Painshill. There is a bench dedicated to him in the Turkish Tent.

I already volunteered at Claremont. There was a group of us at that time, probably forty years ago, that started doing tours there. One of them said, why don’t you also come to Painshill!

Do you have a particular spot in the landscape you love?

Oh dear how can I choose? Autumn I love but also the spring snowdrops. I suppose the view from the Gothic Temple is the highlight.

I remember a friend of mine’s daughter got married there. They had a marquee on the Amphitheatre. At the end she and her husband walked through the Gothic Temple and down to the lake to a waiting boat. They were taken off over the lake completely out of sight. I think they had a car around the other side to take them away but we couldn’t see it. It was beautiful.

Volunteer Interview of the month – Aug 19

Graham Dash

What is your role at Painshill? 

I’ve been a volunteer since October 2012, starting as a Grotto Steward. After my retirement, the following May, I went on to become a Tour Guide, occasional speaker to outside groups, a member of the Grotto Service Team, and Landscape Team helper. My hobby of photography has also come in useful with many of my photos being used by Painshill.

Why did you choose to volunteer at Painshill? 

I have been a regular visitor at Painshill since the early 1990s and in 2012 picked up a leaflet on one of my visits asking for Grotto Stewards. I wanted to give something back to Painshill and felt that I could provide a few hours a month art weekends while still working. After I retired I had more time to do more.

What is the thing you love most about your work at Painshill? 

The privilege of being able to work in such a beautiful and idyllic place, the chance to learn more and be able to pass that information on to interested visitors.

What is your favourite spot at Painshill? 

In so many ways this is a difficult question to answer. However, if I have to choose just one spot it has to be the view from the Turkish Tent across the lake to the Gothic Pavilion (also said to be Charles Hamilton’s favourite view).

 A selection of Graham’s amazing photos. Take a look at some more on Graham’s Flickr 

Volunteer Interview of the month – July 19

Pauline Wood


What is your role at Painshill?

So I am currently doing flower arranging for the Tea Room.

They are beautiful. We love them and get loads of comments about them!

Ah thank you. It is nice to bring a bit of nature inside isn’t it.

And you find them from around the landscape?

Yes all the foliage is from the garden. I used to do flowers from the Kitchen Garden but sometimes they don’t last in the heat so occasionally I bring in other bought flowers.

Why did you choose Painshill to volunteer for?

Well I worked in an office, I worked for British Airways for about 40 years and got made redundant. Then I just liked the idea of being outside. I was stuck inside for so long I just wanted to be outdoors.

What is the thing you love most about your work at Painshill?

I think it’s very therapeutic and calming. And also it’s just a lovely opportunity to be out in the garden. I go and pick the foliage and just look at what’s happening in the garden, what’s coming into flower, because I am just interested in plants anyway as I did a design course.

Oh ok, so you have done lots of flower arranging?

Not really, only here. I did a very short course just for interest a couple of years ago and then this opportunity came up and I just thought it would be lovely to do just have a go. I have a thing about Tea Rooms as well. Something about them!

What’s your favourite spot at Painshill?

Oh difficult to say. I love the Temple of Bacchus. I did my last design at college on it so I spent a lot of time measuring things and looking at the views. So it is still quite special to me.

Volunteer Interview of the month – June 19

Sue Cockle

What is your role at Painshill?

Currently I am doing some administration work in the office, but in my 3 years of volunteering I’ve done lots of roles here at Painshill. I started out as a Ranger and continue to do this, it is great as you get to walk around the landscape and enjoy all it has to offer. I’ve worked in the pop-up café at the Gothic Tower, I have also filled in at the Visitor Centre, plus lots of other things when events take place, not to mention helping bringing in the grape harvest. It was while working in the Visitor Centre that a member of staff made me aware that they needed help in the office and so since Autumn last year I have been helping out there.

Why did you choose Painshill to volunteer at?

Having retired I was looking to find some voluntary work but did not want to work in the ubiquitous charity shop. I was looking to find something to do that involved being outdoors. While searching a website offering volunteer opportunities locally I saw something for Painshill. When checking their website, I saw they were having an open morning soon encouraging new volunteers, so I went along and the rest as they say is history. There were lots of different roles, everyone seemed really friendly and there was lots of flexibility about how much time volunteers could give. One of the volunteers took us through the landscape to the Crystal Grotto and I realised what a beautiful place it is, I had not visited in years and realised what a hidden gem it is.

What is the thing you love most about your work at Painshill?

I enjoy the camaraderie of all those who give their time to Painshill whether employees,  volunteers or the trustees, everyone is so enthusiastic about the place.  I also love  it when new visitors say what a wonderful place it is and that they must come back again.

What is your favourite spot at Painshill?

The Temple of Bacchus is possibly my favourite. When I first started volunteering there was just an outline of where the building stood, and in my time here I have seen it restored. It is not just the building that I like but  the view out over the Surrey countryside from where it is situated within the landscape is stunning. Hamilton really had an eye for drawing you to a location with his follies only for it to reveal some other vista from it.

Wellbeing Week 2019 Blog


Thursday – Tai Chi

Painshill Director, Paul Griffiths continues his Painshill’s Wellbeing Week challenge with a Tai Chi class with Sue Woodd

What exactly is Tai Chi?

Tai Chi was described form of martial art where you ‘shadow box’ yourself allowing you to release negative energy,  stress and tension

What are the benefits of practicing Tai Chi?

Working all the body and allowing the stresses of everyday life to escape

Would you try Tai Chi again?

Definitely- it was an amazing session

What is it about the landscape that lends itself to promoting Wellbeing classes?

You get an amazing feeling of being at one with nature

Find out more about Sue at



Wednesday – Self-Care Yoga in the landscape

Painshill Director, Paul Griffiths joined a yoga session out in the Painshill landscape as part of Painshill’s Wellbeing Week.

Have you tried yoga before?

Never!  Always been very nervous I am not flexible enough for it

What did you think of the self-care session with Luma?

It was fabulous, Luma obviously runs sessions at Painshill every week and I have always be tempted to try it

What do you think yoga could help you with?

It was great to stretch out so many muscles and was very relaxing

How did the outside setting add to the experience?

It was a stunning setting, as Yoga is so much about feeling grounded with the earth being outside on the grass made it a memorable experience

Find out more about Luma Yoga on and look out for her regular classes at Painshill.




Tuesday – Mindfulness Taster Session

Painshill Director, Paul Griffiths joined Yvette Jane for a Mindfulness Taster Session as part of Painshill’s Wellbeing Week.

Have you had tried mindfulness before?

No, not at all.  I have heard a lot about it especially in the weekend newspapers!

What did you think of the taster session?

It was a super session, I really enjoyed it. Yvette has a very calming manner and took us through the exercises with great skill.

What do you feel mindfulness can help with?

Allowing you to take time out to focus on yourself, to make you aware of yourself. Simple things like breathing well can really reduce stress.

Are there any techniques that you will take forward into your daily life?

I hope so, I certainly started to relax during the sessions, so much so I was starting to drop into sleep!  Something Yvette assured me is perfectly normal!


Find out more about Mindfulness on Yvette’s website and look out for more classes at Painshill in the future!



Work continues on the Temple of Bacchus

Covering the interior of the Temple of Bacchus in a facade wrap

The Painshill team, along with Project Print Management, have been working hard in the last few weeks on the interior of the Temple of Bacchus!

Hamilton’s Temple of Bacchus was much acclaimed for its beauty and architectural merit. It was the only classical building in England praised by Thomas Jefferson during his visit to these shores in 1786.

The restoration of the exterior was started in the autumn of 2016 and was completed in March 2019.

Until we raise sufficient funds to restore the interior properly we have been installing a number of displays to show visitors how this amazing building would have appeared to Charles Hamilton and his invited guests during the 18th Century.

Firstly, we wrapped the interior in fabric, starting with the ceiling.


The original ceiling was of ornate plasterwork which we believe was designed by Robert Adam. It was described in 1795 by one visitor as “a simple neat design a wreath ornamented with four Eagles & grapes & vine leaves”.



Busts of Caesars and Statues

Secondly, we installed temporary representations of Hamilton artefacts.

Four statues of Mercury, Venus de Marina, Apollo of Belvedere and Venus de Medici stood in the four niches to the South.



The walls once again display Hamilton’s 12 busts of Roman emperors collected by him on one of his “Grand Tours”.


Finally, we will place panels over the floor to complete the room and ensure all guests can get a feel for how it would have looked.


When we restore the Temple fully we will be plastering the walls and the ornate ceiling. We will commission the recreation of the busts and the exterior statues and reinstate them. We will also return the statue of Bacchus to his Temple (he currently stands outside of the shop).

We are in the process of fundraising for the interior – please help if you can by donating online today.

We very much hope that you will come and see the Temple soon! Visit us this summer and see our progress for yourself.