Last year we went on a mini-adventure, with our friends Jamie and Liana, to Chartwell. The house is based in Kent and is best known as the country house of Sir Winston and Lady Clementine Churchill. It opened as a National Trust property in 1966, one year after the death of Sir Winston.
On entering the Victorian red brick estate you start through the entrance lobby and follow your way through the house, almost as Churchill left it, to take in the living room, dining room, and the bedrooms, which have been turned into display rooms for the many honours and awards given to the Churchill’s. The stunning reveal at the end of the tour is Churchill’s study on the first floor. Despite the fact the house was rarely used during World War II due to its proximity to the coast facing Europe, it was an important room throughout Churchill’s political life.
Sir Winston loved the estate and he created many of the features in the estate including the lakes and the kitchen garden. A little-known fact about Churchill is that he was an amateur, but very competent, bricklayer and enjoyed building the Marycot, a playhouse, for his daughter. He was also a very accomplished painter and regularly painted across the estate, with some of his paintings hanging in Parliament. His workroom is full of some great works of art and the room is regularly used for demonstrations. The estate grounds stretch for some good walking routes through the woodlands and through the immediate grounds giving stunning views of the house. Just be mindful of the swimming pool!
Chartwell was bought by a consortium of businessmen in 1946, who bought the estate when the Churchill’s could not afford to run the property. The estate was to be given to the National Trust once both Churchill ‘s had died. They continued to live at the estate paying a nominal rent. The estate was given to the Trust shortly after Sir Winston had died by his wife Lady Clementine.
The estate is a great location to learn more about the private life of Churchill and a great house and gardens to explore. You can find out more about Chartwell here.