Titsey Place dates to the 16th century when it was bought from the Crown by Sir John Gresham, a Lord Mayor of London and prominent merchant. Over time, the Gresham family married well, acquired great wealth and power and expanded the estate with the building of St James’s Church in Titsey and extension of the house and gardens. Inside the house, treasures include four paintings by Canaletto and portraits by Reynolds, Romney and Lely. The gardens are equally spectacular: the cascade, the fountain and the lakes bring a romantic atmosphere and support a wide variety of wildlife. The Kitchen Garden was restored to the style of a Victorian garden in 1996, with glasshouses, hedging and paths, and cultivated fruit of all kinds. The Rose Garden makes a beautifully fragrant place to relax, and the tea room is housed in the refurbished dairy buildings of Home Farm.
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About The area
Surrey may be better known for its suburbia than its scenery, but the image is unjust. Over a quarter of the county’s landscapes are official Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and along the downs and the greensand ridge you can gaze to distant horizons with hardly a building in sight. This is one of England’s most wooded counties, and has more village greens than any other shire. You’ll find sandy tracks and cottage gardens, folded hillsides and welcoming village inns. There’s variety, too, as the fields and meadows of the east give way to the wooded downs and valleys west of the River Mole.
Of course there are also large built-up areas, mainly within and around the M25; but even here you can still find appealing visits and days out. On the fringe of Greater London you can picnic in Chaldon’s hay meadows, explore the wide open downs at Epsom, or drift idly beside the broad reaches of the stately River Thames. Deep in the Surrey countryside you’ll discover the Romans at Farley Heath, and mingle with the monks at England’s first Cistercian monastery. You’ll see buildings by great architects like Edwin Lutyens and Sir George Gilbert Scott, and meet authors too, from John Donne to Agatha Christie.
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