I can certainly think of worse things to do than while away a few hours in the beautiful setting of Chartwell. Winston Churchill once said, “a day away from Chartwell is a day wasted,” and I can absolutely understand why.
Have you ever been to Chartwell? We are fairly local so it is our ‘go to’ National Trust favourite. We almost always take the dogs with us and I’m pretty sure they love it too! Its one of those places where there is something for everyone so whether you are 9 or 90 there will be something to appreciate. Nestled within the Kent countryside and just over the border from Surrey, you could easily spend a whole day in this glorious location if you wished to. We hadn’t been since before lockdown so I was immensely happy to be able to secure a time slot on a rare mutual day off.
I almost forgot about the pandemic as we were wandering around because it just felt so lovely to be able to go out somewhere. I say almost because I was reminded immediately on the sight of an arrow pointing away from our usual route. It’s funny isn’t it, well I don’t know about you, but we generally tend to go the same way around the grounds, almost like it’s my walk to work or another familiar journey. Anyway it felt a little bit odd at first that everyone followed the same route because it made it feel a little busier than usual. Obviously it wasn’t really busy at all it’s just that I guess there were more visitors than usual in the same place rather than being more spread out. Once I got over that, however, I was quite thankful for the arrows as they led us through areas we had never even seen before! There were some beautiful blooms throughout the gardens which always gives me inspiration for my own garden.
Following our ‘guided but not really guided’ tour we took the dogs for a ramble through the woods where they were allowed to be off lead.
We popped to the cafe and sat outside for a quick lemonade, then a meander round the National Trust shop – where I bought a brilliant garden tool – before the short trip home. Oh I forgot to say, Chartwell is the former home of Winston Churchill, who was prime minister from 1941-1945 and from 1951-1955, on arrival you may be able to explore the house, which is full of some fantastic historical artefacts. If it is open try and get a chance to take a peek in the studio, which is adorned with paintings created by Churchill himself. The extensive gardens are beautiful and so well looked after, you will always see it from a different perspective dependent on the season.
I’m just so pleased that tourist attractions are allowed to be open again and I’m looking forward to another day out soon. Where would you recommend?
What you need to know:
- You can find out more about Chartwell on the National Trust website.
- At the time of writing you need to pre-book your tickets by 3pm the day before you intend to visit. This applies even if you are a National Trust member.
- Although the major part of the estate is hard surface, if you wish to walk around the lake there are grassy areas you will need to walk across so I would suggest appropriate footwear.
- Look out for Jock VII – a marmalade cat with a white bib and four white socks. On the request of Winston Churchill’s family there is always a marmalade cat in residence at Chartwell and has been since the house was opened to the public in 1966.
- The closest town to Chartwell is Westerham in Kent.
- There is a cafe serving a variety of food and refreshments.
- There is a lovely National Trust gift shop.
- If you take the kids there are some play areas and woodland areas to explore.
- Dogs have to be kept on a lead within the main gardens but are allowed off the lead when you are in the woodland.