Monday, 12 August 2013

Chartwell Country House

Chartwell Country House. Home of Sir Winston Churchill. A beautiful and peaceful place, slightly more humble than the magnificent Leeds Castle. 

After finding the location in a book borrowed off a friend of ours we set off on a Thursday morning headed towards Sevenoaks, Kent. After turning off the highway we were greeted by a sleepy little town nestled in the deep forest. It's understandable why Churchill picked such a place to raise his family. Secluded and breathtaking, Chartwell seemed so alike the setting of Burnett's The Secret Garden. The kitchen garden was huge and thick with ripen vegetables and fruit trees. The air smelled of the lavender that grew alongside most footpaths leading to the house. The view from the house was so grand, the kent countryside at its finest. 

We learned so much on out little history outing. We explored the dining room that Churchill so often used to entertain President Roosevelt and his wife as well as many other important figures during his time as Prime Minister. Letters to and from world leaders littered the walls, Churchill's magnificent coats were displayed behind class alongside historical photos of the man sporting the attire. Gilded gifts of princes and kings from all corners of the world decorated the halls, and the Baroness's green linens and fabrics lay across her bed like sheets of sparkling sea. All of the photographs and paintings were so interesting. I was surprised to have found out about Churchill's love of painting and was amazed at his talent upon entering his private garden studio. Apparently he'd painted a picture of every new place he visited - there were hundreds! I have trouble keeping up with this blog of all the places we've been - I can't imagine painting them all!

After a day of history, beauty and frog catching we started for the car park through yet another beautiful landscape garden. We passed the goldfish pond where Winston was reported to have spend much of his thinking and spent a minute watching the gigantic Koi playing tag in the water. We made quick trip to the gift shop where I secretly bought Andrew a collectable "Keep Calm" sign, he's been collecting the tin ones for his future work shop. Before getting into the car we had a picnic below a huge sweeping oak tree. I ate my French Fancies and he ate his Snickers. It was a eventful afternoon. 

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