InfoBritain - Travel Through History In The UK :
Chartwell, near Westerham in Kent, was Winston Churchill's home from 1922. He loved the view more than the Victorian house, which was extended and modernised between 1922 and 1924. Although Churchill had spent his childhood on the vast estate at Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire, Chartwell was an estate for the modern world. The country could no longer offer space to build deer parks. As with many twentieth century estates, the grounds at Chartwell were laid out in terraces and with garden "rooms" to give a sense of variety and space in an area of relatively modest size.
During the Second World War Chartwell was closed. It's position close to the south coast left it vulnerable to bombing. Churchill lived in London, or at Chequers in Buckinghamshire. It wasn't until after the war that he was able to move back. Inspite of his fame Winston found it difficult to afford the cost of running the house. Fortunately in 1947 a group of his friends bought the house, allowing him to continue living there, and ensuring its preservation after his death. Chartwell was opened to the public in 1966.
Visiting Chartwell gives a good sense of Churchill's personality. It is expansive, with wide open views. But there are also hidden corners. It was built to impress, and yet somehow lacks the grandeur of a stately home: it is nothing like Blenheim Palace. Winston Churchill was a prime minister, not a king. There is a rather touching feeling of trying to keep up appearances, of looking better than you can really afford to be. While Churchill came from an aristocratic background, his own manner was more neutral and difficult to classify socially. His house is overbearing and impressive, but there is also a wendy house for the children, and a garden wall Churchill built himself, and was clearly proud of, since he inscribed his name on it.
The house has been restored to look as it did when the Churchills lived there. His paintings hang on the walls, and his books are in the study.
Opening Times: Opening hours for National Trust properties can be complex. Please use contact details below.
Address: Chartwell, Mapleton Road, Westerham, Kent TN16 1PS
Directions: Leave the M25 at exit 5 or 6 and follow the A25 to the B2026. Fork left off the B2026 after about a mile and a half. Click here for an interactive road and satellite map centred on Chartwell. Note the large lake on the satellite image. This was a potential reference point for enemy bombers, and was one of the reasons Churchill had to abandon Chartwell during the war years.
Access: There is designated disabled parking in the car park, but the car park is on a slope and is not easy for people with mobility problems. Special arrangements can be made to park near the house. Contact Chartwell. There is a drop off point nearby. The house has steps and stairs, and only the ground floor is accessible via a ramp. A photograph album tour is available. There is an adapted toilet adjacent to the visitors centre, not in the main block. The gardens are partly accessible. There are slopes and grass paths in many areas. The shops and restaurant are accessible. In the restaurant there is a large print menu, accessible tables and a low level counter. For people with sight problems there is a large print guide and a Braille guide.
telephone: 01732 868381