A Family Day Out in Kent: Chartwell House and Gardens
Ah, England. Sweet, cold, wintry England with its slate grey-green countryside. How I underestimated you. I’m falling more in love with this little country all the time, as I’ve come to appreciate the special beauty of its heritage sites and unique landscape. That and the fact that it’s so small that nowhere is too far to get to, which means that we have myriad lovely places to explore as part of our home educating lifestyle. Today we visited Chartwell in Kent, former home to Winston Churchill. It was a gloriously moody day, the type where you can either curl up in cable-knit socks with cocoa, or risk frostbite and suffocation by mud. Of course we went out.
Around the gardens and lakes today was a Christmas themed trail for the kids to do. They picked up maps, trail sheets and pencils at the welcome cabin; I never cease to be 100% impressed at how the National Trust goes out of its way to accommodate children. From backpacks with magnifying glasses and bug-finders, to baby carriers, to treasure hunts, there is always a ton of stuff that makes children feel as welcome as the adults.
The house itself was closed today for sprucing up, but the girls had a great time in the lovely mini cottage that Churchill had built for his own children (complete with mini Aga of course).
After playing in the cottage the wildlings loved running up and down the hill by the lake, exploring the little bridge and statue of the original occupants.
I made the mistake of thinking that as it hadn’t rained I would be safe wearing my Burberry trainers. Not so, my friends. (NB: From my observations, standard National Trust Visitor Unofficial Uniform is two or more of the following items: Breton top, Barbour jacket, Ralph Lauren gilet, skinny jeans, Hunter wellies, National Trust print scarf. Pull out your standard Center Parcs threads and you’re basically there. Don trackies like myself at your own social peril).
We finished the afternoon with a hypertension-inducing visit to the shop. National Trust shops are almost exactly like softplay, but instead of foam blocks and ball pits, there’s a ton of glass jars of pickle and cushions that cost the same as a mortgage, and loads of parents hissing at their kids to not touch stuff. We touched lots and didn’t damage anything at all, so Trustful and Character-Building Parenting For The Win.
If you happen to ever visit Kent, Chartwell House and Gardens is well worth a visit. It has equal charm in the warm or cold seasons, and a cosy cafe if you can’t be assed to pack a picnic, or if you do pack one and leave it by the front door (show of hands, please?).
In summary: Chartwell. Get there. Do it. With kids.
Travel journalists, home educating our lovely brood of 3 girls. Planning a year-long RTW trip late Summer 2017.