At the risk of over-using the word ‘great’, this week’s recommended destination is one of Great Britain’s greatest country estates – a fact only made greater by its status as the former home of history’s greatest Briton*.
In case you haven’t guessed by now, we’re talking about Chartwell in Kent, the family home of Sir Winston Churchill.
Chartwell may feature an original architectural style that has been described as fairly unattractive by many – including its most famous resident – but the sweeping views of the Weald of Kent, not to mention its place at the forefront of British history, elevates it to ‘must-see’ status. One of Churchill’s first actions at Chartwell (after, we assume, unpacking the kettle) was to modernise the property and improve its surrounding gardens. Over the years these improvements to the house and gardens showcased Churchill’s interests, and what remains at Chartwell today is perhaps the most complete portrait of the man, showcasing his political life and personal passions.
We’re going to list a few of our favourite features below. If you’ve been to Chartwell, please share your experiences in the comments below.
• The Studio is where Churchill spent a large part of him time, working on hundreds of paintings. Today, it collates and displays over 130 of his pieces, exhibiting a rarely seen side to the man. In fact, the only blank spots in this room may be your lack of knowledge when it comes to this artistic string on Churchill’s bow. Thankfully, there are normally stewards on hand to fill in any gaps!
• The revamped for 2012 exhibition room offers a more conventional collection of Churchill’s memorabilia – including some items that have never been seen before. Detailed biographical information tells the story of his personal and professional life, so you should leave Chartwell with enough Churchill knowledge to astound your friends and dominate the ‘Lives of the greatest 20th century world leaders’ round on pub quizzes!
• The gardens at Chartwell are worth the price of admission alone. You can take a tour of the many unique features or wander off and discover them at your own pace. We don’t want to spoil what you may find but we will say that the views are lovely and there are a number of seasonal events to enhance your visit so make sure you check out the website for more info.
Take a look at our featured holiday cottages in Kent.
For additional British greatness please see our ‘Holidays at home are GREAT’ offer for savings on UK holiday cottages of up to 20.12%.
*According to the BBC’s 100 Greatest Britons programme from 2002.