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Clandon Park, near Guildford, is a grand Palladian mansion and Grade I listed building in the heart of the Surrey countryside. The National Trust has owned it since 1956 and many of its rooms have been restored since it was left a virtual shell by a devastating fire in 2015. Visitors can admire its stunning external features from afar, and it makes an interesting destination for the day if you're based in a local Surrey hotel in the Guildford area. Try The Drummond at Albury in Guildford or The Percy Arms for a warm welcome and some traditional Surrey hospitality.
Clandon Park was the creation of a celebrated Venetian architect, built in the early-18th Century for Lord Onslow. This part of Surrey is peppered with exuberant stately homes. These rambling country seats of the great and the good were built as refuges from nearby London. Aristocrats and successful merchants built them by the score and hung them with massive portraits of themselves and their families in oils. We should be grateful for their vanity, as stately piles such as Clandon Park make great destinations for lazy summer afternoons away from Surrey hotels nearby. The original internal decor was by all accounts quite stunning, with marble fireplaces and stucco ceilings setting off the priceless collections of fine porcelain and other displays, until fire laid waste to it on that fateful day in 2015.
Although work by the National Trust on the house itself is still ongoing and will remain so for some time, the beautiful surrounding parkland is fully open to the public. The Clandon Park Garden Centre is a pleasant place to come from your guesthouse or hotel in Surrey, and you can easily drive along here from Guildford in half an hour. The long term plan is to get Clandon Park back to the state it was in before the fire, but in the meantime there's plenty to admire about the estate. Any building in the style of Andrea Palladio is worth at least a detour, and there are picnic areas close by.