We have been eager to welcome you back to West Horsley Place – and over the past month, after what has seemed like an age, it has been great to slowly start opening the doors once again. Whilst our doors have remained locked we have at least been able to make a lot of behind-the-scenes progress and continue repairs across our listed buildings and the wider estate – and make subtle changes to both our visitor infrastructure and policies to help keep people safe and stop the spread of covid19. Alongside the relief and excitement we will remain cautious and will have safety provisions in place to ensure both our visitors and our team can experience West Horsley Place safely.

Grange Park Opera have just completed a successful season back here at the Theatre in the Woods, their final weekend concluding with an innovative new production: Litvinenko. Guests and other visitors have also enjoyed the gardens and grounds which have been in full bloom and teeming with wildflowers. Over the past month we have begun many of our heritage arts and learning projects, with support from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, and the impetus of our new Team Member Jo Ellison, joining us as Community Engagement Projects Coordinator, making a great start. We have begun meeting with other like-minded organisations, and got to know colleagues at neighbouring National Trust sites. Our Art Society book conservation volunteers are now on site; and we have begun co-creating nature activities with local young people, to take place on the edge of our woodlands near East Horsley.

Our Surrey History Centre colleagues have been coming in to start helping us assess our archive materials ahead of a volunteer-led archival project which will be in full flow by next year. We are also beginning our 'big sew' to create a large-scale GladRags patchwork artwork. We will use our new Place Farm Barn space to bring together so many of your fantastic lockdown creations, which we plan to then exhibit here this Autumn.

Summer holidays will be all about fun for families here at West Horsley Place so please check out our website events page, book on – and spread the word! Our major family events are The Secret Garden, a dance adaptation of the much-loved novel that will be performed on 21st August in our Crinkle Crankle Garden. The performance will feature a new score and original choreography. Following this, families and friends can join us for a big outdoor performance of Robin Hood on the 27th August. Performed by the renowned Three-Inch-Fools, this will be an inventive take on the folktale, featuring actors and all manner of music, taking place in Home Paddock, with the front elevation of our famous Manor house providing a unique backdrop! Ticket holders for both events are invited to bring their own picnics.

As well as our Nooks & Crannies House Tours and Open Days, we will have a children's summer art workshop running later in August, and regular drop-in colouring and sketching activities as well as self-guided nature walks departing from Place Farm Barn – where you will also find (from Friday to Monday each week) our new pop-up café for visitors. We are deeply committed to doing things to a high environmental standard and being sustainable in all that we do. The pop-up café is a reconditioned vintage milk-float, run by local company Tiger Lilly, a fellow member of Surrey Hills Enterprises. Being sustainable also means we help support small businesses in Surrey: the coffee being served has only travelled a few miles from being roasted in Ranmoor Common and tea is from Farnham. The cups we use are recyclable, compostable and biodegradable.

Please keep engaged with us on social media and on our website’s news and events page. Whether you are local – or you are coming from further afield – we look forward to seeing you at one of our events at West Horsley Place later this Summer!