Friday, 6 July 2012

Chartwell, The home of Sir Winston Churchill

Churchill is quoted as once saying "A day away from Chartwell is a day wasted". I can see why he'd think that. Chartwell was, and to an extent still feels, like a family home. Sometimes you visit houses in the National Trust and they can feel a little stuffy and unwelcoming but Chartwell felt like having a nosey around the neighbours house! There are lots of family photo's of Churchill's children, wife and grandchildren, some lovely portrait's. I particularly like the one of his wife, Clementine which is in the family room. From what I read around the house about her, I really like the sound of her. In the museum at the end of the house there are snippets of letters she and Winston wrote to each other and I find it all very romantic! I'm glad my husband is at home most of the time and thanks to laptops and smart phones, even when he is away we are always in touch but I like to think if we didn't have all this modern technology I'd write to him lots!

 I didn't take any photo's of the inside of the house, I presumed you can't but I never asked. It was very busy and my four were the only children in there. As yet they don't know that much about Winston Churchill (except for his cameo in Doctor Who!) but I'm hoping this will ignite their curiosity! The booklets we were given to walk around with was really useful. It told us some really interesting facts including Helen Bonham-Carter's grandmother Violet was a good friend of Sir Winston's and there is a photo of her up on the stairs. The girls liked this fact as huge Harry Potter fans!
All the children liked the museum room with all the gifts Sir Winston were presented with, especially numerous amounts of cigar cases! We were all sad to hear about the Churchill's daughter 'Marigold' who died just before her third birthday. 
I think my favourite room was the dining room, overlooking the beautiful gardens that Churchill helped build and landscape. For their Golden Wedding Anniversary the Churchill children presented their parents with a book of paintings of gold roses by numerous artists-29 in all, its a really beautiful book and such a thoughtful gift. Seems like Winston and Clementine were much loved parents. I never realised what a talented artist Churchill was either! There are numerous paintings of his throughout the house and in his own studio, which is a building within the grounds of the house. 

At the back of the house we spotted two black swans swimming in the lake


Its such a big house but felt so cosy.
 I loved this little butterfly house in the garden. An information board told how Churchill loved to watch butterflies hatching and release them into his garden.
 Another giant plant!! They were the theme of our week, along with the rain.

A really lovely morning was had here and its really triggered Bailey's curiosity about Sir Winston Churchill, he's started reading a book that we have had in the house for a while about Churchill. The rest of the afternoon was spent in Reigate going around the charity shops whilst we waited for Hubby's meeting to finish. We picked up some good books and a lovely print for the girls bedroom. Then we set off back home, a drive that should have taken 3 hours actually took us 6. So we were all shattered when we got home. A lovely week yet again in Sussex though and some great, educational trips. The NT membership has paid for itself already, just this week!


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