On Sunday, as if by magic, I suddenly became mum to two teenagers. How did that happen? Unfortunately, we had no birthday present ideas so after a lot of brain-racking, decided on an experience. And, what better birthday experience for teenagers than a junior off-road driving experience at Loseley Park in Surrey?
Well anywhere really, but Loseley Park was the nearest venue for us and offers one of the best off-road driving experiences in Surrey. Loseley Park is an impressive, historic house on the outskirts of Guildford in Surrey and only 30 minutes from home.
Booking a junior off-road driving experience
After much research, we chose a company who are aptly called off road driver. They have no fixed abode, but regularly tour eight of England’s finest country estates.
By chance, they were going to be in residence at our nearest venue, Loseley Park on the actual day of the twins’ birthday. So, we wasted no time and booked it. The on-line booking system was extremely easy to navigate and provided a voucher for the recipients of the gift.
Prices for the driving experiences
There are several packages you can buy, but the main choice is:-
30 minutes – £59
60 minutes – £109
Check-in at Loseley Park
On arrival, we received a warm welcome from the off road driver team and completed a disclaimer form. The children each met their instructor and saw their allocated car. There was a mixture of Mercedes X Class, Mitsubishi L200’s and a classic Land Rover.
Normally, parents get an opportunity to ride in the back seat to share the experience for free. However, I was secretly very relieved to discover this was not currently possible because of covid restrictions.
The driving experience
Unsurprisingly, the twins have never been in the driving seat and behind the wheel of a car let alone a massive 4×4 so were initially a little apprehensive. However, the instructors were very reassuring and drove out of the car park to the starting point in an open field.
At this point, they swapped the boys into the driving seat, gave them a quick briefing of accelerator, brake, gearbox and they were off!
Albeit very slowly!
It was a gentle uphill to start and there was no chance of any speeding tickets. However, precision driving is a skill. Halfway up the field they had to navigate round a slalom course and then very quickly they were off down a muddy track, heading out into the woods and surrounding countryside.
We stayed behind to enjoy one of the most spectacular views – a field of golden rapeseed. It really was a treat for all the senses – it looked stunning and smelt good too.
Out of sight, the boys were having a fantastic time. They tried to put the 4×4’s through their paces, switching between automatic, 2 wheel and 4 wheel. Driving through woodlands and open parkland.
Later, we discovered they’d crossed muddy ditches, tackled side slopes, driven down steep hills and bounced in and out of elephant footprints.
The venue - Loseley Park
Loseley Park is an impressive stately home and estate, just 3 miles south of Guildford in Surrey. It stands in 1,400 acres of beautiful countryside in the Surrey Hills, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Built in the 1560s, Loseley House is the private ancestral home of the More-Molyneux family. It is a large, impressive house and has hosted many prominent guests, including Queen Elizabeth I and James I. The mansion has retained many of its historic features, including fine artwork and panelling from Henry VIII’s Nonsuch Palace.
The gardens at Loseley Park
Nowadays, Loseley Park is open to the public for functions. It makes a stylish wedding venue and I remember attending an evening reception in the 17th century Tithe Barn many moons ago.
At the side of the house is a walled garden with a series of themed gardens, such at the rose garden and organic vegetable garden.
The gardens at Loseley Park are open to the public and details of the admission prices can be found here.
The lake at Loseley Park
Loseley House is set in an enormous park with spectacular views over the landscape. In front of the house is a lake, with geese and ducks.
If you have time, go for a circular walk around the lake. You can stop for a picnic, but take a blanket, as there’s rather a lot of geese poo there!
Would I recommend a junior driving experience?
Definitely! We knew it was a success from the grins and smiles on their faces when they got out the cars. The twins drove confidently back into the car park and reverse parked.
The children really loved the driving experience at Loseley Park and couldn’t believe how quickly the time had flown. Of course, we couldn’t leave without some proud pictures in front of their cars.
Another advantage for me was that I got to see a local stately home and some pretty countryside. Plus, we had time for a cup of tea from the garden café, so everyone was happy.
Getting to Loseley Park in Surrey
Loseley Park is 3 miles south of Guildford in Surrey and 30 miles south west of London. The postcode for Loseley Park is GU3 1HS.
If you are using public transport, the nearest train station to Loseley Park is Guildford.
Have you tried an off-road driving experience at Loseley Park? We’d love to hear your comments below.
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