Our English Country Home Tour
We’re home! This “English vacation” was a birthday gift from my husband Chris two years ago, a little late but well worth the wait.
Chris and I are both history buffs and have read most books both fiction and faction on the subject of English history. We planned on traveling around the country viewing the homes and special places that are part of our favorite historical subject.
My favorites are stories of the people. Both Winston Churchill and The Mitford family has totally captured my attention. Their lives, and their glorious entanglements with politics and politicians read like a modern soap opera. In one family the siblings were writers, fascists, communists, Natzi’s, patriots, and a duchess. Amazingly they all got along despite their varying political views. Strangely enough they were also friends and relatives Winston Churchill from childhood and remained that way even during the war.
We wanted to get a feel for these homes from an era that is now gone. Yes, I wanted to look at architectural houses and plaster work but in fact my love for these embellishments is all combined in this bygone era.
So off we set for England, no advanced bookings, just a car rental, a national trust guidebook and an I phone… Here’s what we found.
Chartwell- The home of Winston Churchill
First Stop, Chartwell, the home of Winston Churchill. Not a super big home, Winston and Clementine used it as a place to relax and paint. A place to go when he was not in power and in London. Did you know he painted landscapes. The house is filled with memorabilia from his life but I especially love the desk and the dining room.
He was a keen gardener and the landscaping around the home shows off his skills. I fell in love with the rose beds and the outside loggia overlooking the pond. Inside are two great sitting rooms and a fabulous dining room that has seen more people who shaped our world than maybe any other.
Returning from Chartwell we found Polesden Lacey. It’s easy to find these homes when you are driving around on back roads. (For the record Chris was driving I did not get near the steering wheel.)
Polesden Lacey is a Regency house transformed into an Edwardian mansion by brewery heiress Mrs Ronald Greville.. A bastard child of a Scottish Lord, who finally married her mother, the maid, when she was 18. This allowed Lady Jeanine to come out in society and become bestie with King Edward.It’s a real life upstairs downstairs story you don’t always hear about.
The house was her country home for entertaining. The downstairs is a little dark, with corridors filled with massive Dutch masters. Not my taste but interesting… with several sitting rooms and a magnificent library. Funny enough I found the same Chippendale desk I have upstairs in one of our guest rooms in her library. I guess that ended any thought I might have had about painting it 🙂
The landscapes for this home were magnificent views of the Surry Hills with massive tree-lined paths. Interestingly she had very little in the way of ornamental decoration. Sigh… that was something I was looking for.
Then on to visit friends in Surry, It is a stunning home with equally wonderful views of the fields below. I love their small greenhouse and pool. Yup…. I can now dream about a pool and greenhouse in Maine. But… I think I’ll be told to put it on hold.
Enough for now my lovelies more of our travels later this week.