My parents in-law came this weekend and we headed over to Claremont which isn’t too far from us. We couldn’t walk around the house as it’s now been turned into a school but the gardens are owned by The National Trust.
The house and grounds were a wedding present to Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg and Princess Charlotte from her father George IV.
Sadly Princess Charlotte, who was second in line to the throne, died after giving birth to a stillborn son. Leopold left the house when he became King of the newly independent Belgium in 1831. He is the one who arranged the marriage between his nephew and niece, Prince Albert and Queen Victoria.
Victoria used to visit Claremont as a child and the freedom she enjoyed there was a far cry from her stifling existence at Kensington.
“…the happiest days of my otherwise dull childhood” Queen Victoria, 1843
We had a really nice woodland walk, took a turn around the lake and amphitheater and had a sandwich in the coffee shop. Every now and then tropical-looking parakeets flew overhead squawking loudly.
Huxley Birds of Prey Centre were visiting and did a display with the some Harris hawks and falcons. They also had some other birds including some owls which were quite impressive in the flesh… or should that be feather! 😉