I visited Chartwell in Kent, the home of Winston Churchill for 40 years.
Churchill had been so captivated by Chartwell since the moment he set eyes on the valley, protected by beech woods and by the house set on the hillside, with the most glorious views across the green fields of Kent.
Churchill saw so much potential at Chartwell to make his own mark. He saw the possibilities for another lake, swimming pools and water gardens, and he himself would play the role of designer and creator.
He chiefly built the walls of the vegetable garden (pics of that below!) as well as a little cottage for his daughter.
During the first year of the war, Churchill and his wife Clementine spent a few weekends at Chartwell, however, it was deemed unsafe as it was too conspicuous from the air and the house was dustsheeted and closed up for the duration of the war.
After the war, Clementine reorganised the way in which the family inhabited Chartwell so that only a few servants were required.
In 1946 a group of Winston’s friends and admirers bought Chartwell and presented it to the National Trust with the understanding that Churchill and Clementine should live there for their lifetimes.
They lived happily and took to creating a beautiful garden. After Winston’s death in 1965, Clementine did not wish to continue living at Chartwell and so relinquished it to the National Trust.
I explored the house (although no photography was allowed) but I made up for it in the gardens.
Churchill used to watch and admire the butterflies that were attracted to the buddleias.
As soon as Churchill took over Chartwell, he began ordering new stock of apple and pear trees to plant. Some were sadly destroyed in the Great Storm of 1987, but replacements of the same old varieties have been planted by the National Trust, together with ‘Winston Apples’.
The Kitchen Garden was very fruitful in Churchill’s time. It is still so successful that the garden has produced almost 200 heads of lettuce this year alone!
Bees and butterflies were busy hot-desking the beds to ensure a thoroughly nourished garden.
I loved the view from the house: green fields rolling into more greenery beyond!
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the death of Winston Churchill, so a visit to Chartwell is a must!
Information on visiting times can be found on the National Trust website.