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Enjoying a slice of history at Chartwell

Written by Vanessa Moore on

We are so lucky to have so much history on our doorstep in Kent and I spent a lovely afternoon out with my mum this week when I took her to Chartwell, a country house near Westerham.  Chartwell was Winston Churchill’s home for over forty years and is set in a lovely spot with huge grounds and stunning views.    

We arrived, as we usually do, at lunchtime and promptly booked a time slot for an hour later for a self-guided tour of the house.  This meant we were then able to go to the café and enjoy a lovely lunch in the bright and welcoming café, where you can choose from a selection of sandwiches, salads, cream tea as well as cold drinks and tea and coffee.  Re-fuelled, a gentle, ten-minute walk took us down to the house, passing the swans and views down to the lake. 

The tour of the house is a great insight into the lives of the Churchills and the rooms are laid out just as they were when Churchill lived and worked there.  There are lots of personal mementos, photographs and artworks throughout the house.  Highlights included Lady Churchill’s dining room with its ‘pink terrace’ with wonderful views right across the Weald of Kent, Churchill’s study where he wrote so many speeches and the display of all his military dress, hats, medals, honours and gifts. 

Once we had completed the tour, which did take exactly an hour, we wandered down to The Studio where so many of Churchill’s paintings are stored.  He was a prolific painter and painted over 500 pictures in his ‘spare’ time. 

Although we did not want to do any more walking on this visit, we could have easily spent another hour or so wandering around the gardens.  The house’s hillside location means that the grounds are sloped in places with steps and terraces, but there is a suggested wheelchair and pushchair route, so the estate can be enjoyed by all.  There is also plenty to do for families.  Children can play in the Canadian camp or build a den in the woodland.  There are swings for the children too, a picnic spot and a five-mile circular walk for those who enjoy walking or for those people who would like to walk their dogs.    

Vanessa Moore

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