I didn’t know much about Chartwell before we went apart from it was the former home of Winston Churchill. Doesn’t really sound like it would be much fun for kids right? Couldn’t be more wrong. We took out 5 month old there, and had a fab day out. As there’s so much to explore it’s really geared up for older kids as well.
Big dude (aka Husband) recently got us National Trust membership after we’ve been chatting about it for the last 2 years. I thought it would make me feel mega old (because only the above retired likes above 60s get membership right?!) but I’m really excited about it. We get to go to all these cool new places with stunning views and enjoy nature and the countryside. Amazeballs. Anyways, back to Chartwell.
Big dude and I wanted family friendly day out since our last family day out to Whistable a month before was an absolute disaster (I’ll probably blog about that at some point!). We chose Chartwell because it’s aimed at families, there are places to rest, change a baby and lots to explore.
I was very excited as this was the first time I was a proper day out mum-type and I made a packed lunch for us all!
Chartwell is a country house surrounded by a rather large estate. To be honest, you could spend over half a day there and not get bored. The estate itself is massive (80 acres massive) and contains the main house, a studio, 2 gardens, 2 large ponds (well they’re too large to be ponds, maybe half way between a lake and a pond – londs, or pakes?!), and a cafe.
There’s a lovely cafe that does great food from locally sourced products and uses food from the Kitchen Garden. Both me and Big Dude are foodies. Whilst we didn’t have a bite to eat, we absolutely loved our walk around the Kitchen Garden. It’s where we spent most our time. What was great as well, was getting Little Dude involved in our foodie love and stimulating his senses by getting him to touch different vegetables and smell different herbs.
Entry to the house is timed to stop overcrowding. You can get a timed ticket on the day or book online prior. The house is steeped in history, and treasures. Cladded with 1930s decor, walking through the house you step back in time to look into the private life of the man who guided a country through war. A few of the upstairs bedrooms were converted to a museum displaying many things including gifts to Churchill and old uniforms.
The studio was a highlight. It’s full of painting done by Churchill and I was astounded at how good a painter he was, and also how prolific. The volunteers in the studio share stories of the paintings at talks throughout the day.
We had a short walk around the estate, but there is so much to do and to see especially for the older kids. There so many woodland walks with things to find and explore. They can run around and pick up conkers, build dens, escape from the bomb crater and generally explore nature. They’ve got black swans there as well! Apparently they’re meant to be quite vicious so make sure to be respectful of them.
We’re looking forward to going back. Especially, since I’ve recently read that they have a Christmas Market there over the last week of November. I’ll definitely be writing a blog post on that!
Chartwell was a place to keep us adults interested, and was a great play to excite and stimulate our little dude. He loved his sensory adventure through the garden especially.
If you have a baby
- Baby changing facilitates are on site next to the visitor entrance
- Pushchairs/backpack carriers aren’t allowed into the house – however they offer baby carriers for you to borrow during your time there
- Some of the walks around the estate aren’t buggy friendly so choose your route wisely
Things to note
- For opening times visit the website as they vary by time of year
- If you’re not a National Trust member entry is £13.40 (adults), and £6.70 (children)
- Parking is £3