I recently signed up for National Trust membership after months of deliberation. I figured that the children are now old enough to start appreciating the places that are run by the NT. We are lucky enough to have many beautiful places to visit right on our doorstep, so it is worth giving it a go.
First stop for us was Chartwell, which is the former home of Winston Churchill. At first glance this isn’t the prettiest of houses, but once inside you get the impression that it was a lovely family home. Apart from the addition of a museum room, with displays of Winston Churchill’s achievements during the Second World War, plus other memorabilia from his life, much of the house remains as it was when the family lived there.
For me grounds are the most appealing thing about Chartwell. First of all it is stunning and a beautiful setting in which to enjoy a picnic and just take in the surroundings, wouldn’t you agree?
But particularly appealing for the children are the tree swings you find when you venture beyond the initial landscaped grounds.
This double swing is particularly cool and we couldn’t help but sing ‘when I grow up’ from the show Matilda, when we were swinging on the others!
Following the woodland trail leads you in to areas where you can build dens, climb the ropes in an old bomb ditch and make camp.
The bomb ditch is dated from 1940/41, so it obviously isn’t clear exactly when it fell. I’m guessing it must have been an extra one dropped as the pilot was heading home, which happened a lot over Kent. If it had been an attack on Chartwell, it was way off the mark and I think they would have known exactly when that attack occurred.
At the moment, the National Trust have a Beatrix Potter trail at Chartwell. If you follow it, you find various sights from the collection of stories, such as Mrs Doormouse’s Den. Look what we found:
No visit to Chartwell with the children would be complete without a visit to the Marycot in the walled garden. This play cottage was built for the Churchill’s daughter, Mary and comes complete with it’s own open fire place and chimney and toy Aga. It is the cutest play house you are ever likely to see.
We spent the whole afternoon exploring and the children loved it. They came home filthy, which is always a good sign in my view. I’m pleased I took the plunge and got my National Trust membership because it means we are more likely to go back time and again.
On another note, we picked up a booklet when we were there called ’50 things to do before you’re 11 and 3/4’s’. It is a challenge designed to get children outdoors. I’ve signed my seven year old up and she completed her first challenge of ‘going on a barefoot walk’ this weekend. I think it is a brilliant idea and my daughter is very inspired by it. There is an associated website where children can sign in with their own login and mark the tasks they complete. Here is the link if you are interested https://www.50things.org.uk
Linking up to #countrykids with Coombe Mill