We woke to another rainy day in Kent. What better way to spend a wet, grey morning in England than to tour a house and garden. There are so many really monumental estates in this area to choose from. We picked one that appealed to both My Beloved Brit and myself…Chartwell, Sir Winston Churchill’s estate that he purchased in 1922.
It was an interesting drive to get to the estate…under an hour through winding, narrow lanes with barely enough room for two cars to pass let alone a lorrie. Good thing MBB offered to drive.
Churchill spent as much time as he could at Chartwell, except during the Second World War, until his death in 1965. And why not? It is a spectacular setting.
The house reflects the family’s life at Chartwell in the 1920s and 30s. I loved that The National Trust chose this particular period, and made it seem like we had just dropped by the home for a friendly visit. I am sorry no photos were allowed of the interior, because it was warm and friendly and inviting. I was ready to move in tomorrow.
There was even a pool on the back lawn which rolls down to a lake and cow pasture.
Touring the house, you had the feeling that the Churchills had just stepped out for a newspaper, or perhaps Winston was down in his art studio putting the finishing touches on a landscape from the magnificent views over The Weald of Kent.
The gardens have a natural quality and are quintessentially English, rolling hills with casual looking gardens that you know must have been perfectly planned to take full advantage of the English weather.
The rain came and went throughout the morning, but no one seemed to mind. You just opened your brollie and carried on, and when you went in to the house they had little plastic sheaths ready for wet umbrellas and rugs to wipe the rain off wellies. These Brits are used to rain. As MBB said, if you waited for the sun to come out, you’d never do anything in this country, so you just carry on.
We both were mesmerized by the gardens and the views, as well as the sense of history that filled the house. Many of Sir Winston’s uniforms and medals were displayed in one room, giving a hint of the true greatness of his career. There were photos with recognizable faces everywhere, but the house still had an informal charm.
It was a truly lovely day, rain and all. We shook off our umbrellas, got in to the car and drove down the country lane looking for more gardens.