Thursday, 14 May 2015

Far from the Madding Crowd

Recently my husband and I spent a couple of nights in Kent.  We stayed in this gorgeous shepherd's hut,

 situated beside a beautiful bluebell wood.
These were our closest neighbours! :)
Both evenings we walked in the woodland as the sun set
 and then returned to the hut to light the BBQ.  Before our trip I had sent my husband to the shops for some marshmallows ... he came home with heart shaped ones. :)  We ate our meals under a sky full of stars.
 During the days we visited some properties looked after by The National Trust and English Heritage.
Standen dates from the Arts and Crafts era

and is full of beautiful objects and original wallpaper and fabrics by William Morris.

The lady of the house obviously enjoyed knitting.

The next day we headed towards Dover to see the castle.  En route we stopped at Capel-le-Ferne to look at The Battle of Britain Memorial.  First we had a picnic on the top of the cliff, overlooking Folkestone.

I think someone had his eye on our lunch! ;)
Then we walked around the memorial.
 On arrival at Dover Castle we headed to the wartime tunnels for a tour.  Unfortunately no photography was allowed.
 Next we headed to the inner bailey
where the keep built, circa 1181-88, by Henry II is situated surrounded by buildings from the 18th century.
 There is a small military museum in one of the barracks.
 Next we entered the keep, built as a palace by Henry II.
The 3 floors of the keep have been reconstructed to show how they would have looked during that period.
You got a real feel for how life would have been here when the keep was built.

 We climbed up onto the roof for some amazing views.

We then left the inner bailey and looked at the church of St Mary in Castro and the Roman Pharos.
 This is the oldest surviving lighthouse building in Britain, dating from 45-50AD.
 There has been a church on this site since Anglo-Saxon times and the current church was restored by the Victorians.
The final place of interest we visited within the castle were the medieval passages and the sally-ports.  The way down was very steep!

Dover Castle is a fascinating place to visit and I recommend it to anyone who has the chance to go there.
 The next day was our final day in Kent so it was time to leave our cosy shepherd's hut.
We planned to visit the homes of two great men.  First Chartwell, the home of Sir Winston Churchill.
Photography was not allowed in the house.

 Unfortunately we didn't see Jock VI, but we did see his friend Franklin.
 Next we stopped at Down House, the home of Charles Darwin.

 Upstairs is a museum containing artifacts from his voyages and among other things, two pages of his manuscript for On the Origin of Species.
 Downstairs the rooms are mostly furnished with original pieces belonging to the Darwin family.

 Possibly the most fascinating room downstairs is Charles Darwin's study.
I'm not particularly scientific, but I feel that it is such a privilege to be able to see the actual instruments that he used.
After looking at the house we walked around the garden.

Then it was time for a coffee at Westerham

before travelling home.


Vintage Jane said...

What a lovely break. I love the shepherds hut!

Mac n' Janet said...

All I can say is WOW! Kent is an area we've not spent a lot of time in. Would love to see Chartwell and Darwin's house, not to mention all the other places you went to.

thesnailgarden said...

Kent is so full of history Janet and it is known as The Garden of England. There are so many castles and stately homes and naval history. Well worth a visit. Px