Osterley Park is a beautiful Georgian country estate on the outskirts of London, not far from Heathrow airport. It’s one of those places where one minute you’re driving down a busy main road and then you pass through the gates and the hustle and bustle is suddenly left behind and you’re surrounded by green space and tranquility.
You need to buy a pre-booked timed ticket for entry to the car park and gardens. The parkland is free to visit with pedestrian access though. The time on the ticket is the time you need to arrive at Osterley Park itself rather than a specific time slot for visiting the gardens. We left the gardens until quite late in our visit and just had to give our surname and time-slot at the entrance to the gardens so we could be checked off the list. It didn’t seem to be a problem that we were a couple of hours past our arrival time slot at this point.
I’ve only been to Osterley Park once before. It’s one of the days out with my girls that I remember very clearly though. One of those places where memories of Jessica jump out at me at various points along the way.
The walk up to the house along the edge of the garden lake is beautiful. The children were very excited to spot a mummy duck with her six ducklings. We had quite a few renditions of “six little ducks went swimming one day” as a result!
We enjoyed a ‘nic-nic’ (as Thomas calls it) near the house before setting out on a walk around the parkland.
I do love watching Thomas and Sophie walking along together. It is lovely to see the way she waits patiently each time he stops to take a closer look at something, before gently encouraging him along again. She’s also very good at making sure he keeps going in the right direction and doesn’t wander off the path when he wants to walk on his own.
I thought Thomas would get tired of walking after a while. It was Sophie who got tired first and wanted to sit in the buggy though. She’s a bit big for it!
Thomas enjoyed a ride on Daddy’s shoulders when he started to get tired too.
The Osterley Trail goes along the edge of the M4 motorway. We could hear the muffled sounds of the traffic but in spite of how close we were, it still felt quite peaceful along the path. We continued on past the Middle Lake before turning down the Nine Acre Trail to head back towards the car park and house. Sophie was tired of walking and would have been quite happy to go back to the car at this point. A second picnic stop for hot chocolate and marshmallows helped make the prospect of a walk around the gardens a little more appealing though!
I realised though at this point that we’d dropped Thomas’s hat en route. While everyone else enjoyed a break and some hot chocolate, I retraced our steps back to the Nine Acre Trail where I managed to retrieve it. Fortunately the others did save some hot chocolate for me!
Inside the gardens, we headed for the Temple of Pan. The temple is closed at the moment so we couldn’t go inside. Last time we visited was during bluebell season. I remember taking photos of the girls amongst the bluebells near the temple. I could picture Jessica sitting on the bench in front of the Temple of Pan so clearly. How I wished I could have taken photos of the three of them together there.
We’d had good weather for most of our day but it did start to rain while we were in the walled garden. Sophie was quite happy about it though as it meant she could get the umbrella out which she loves. Sadly for her it was only a brief shower!
It was a lovely day out, if bittersweet in places, and we enjoyed our walk. It’s always good to get out for some family time together and make the most of our National Trust membership.
Visiting Osterley Park – what you need to know:
Osterley Park is open from 10am-5pm each day. The parkland is free to access on foot, but you need to book a timed ticket for entry to the car park and gardens.
Opening times are correct at the time of posting. For more information, latest opening times and to book tickets, visit the Osterley Park website.