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Any National Trust members?


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#1 moc

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Posted 07 April 2009 - 08:32 AM

I joined the National Trust at the end of last summer, and have visited a variety of wonderful historic houses and gardens since. Last Saturday, I went to both Sissinghurst and Scotney Castle. The weather was gorgeous, and it was a lovely day out. Just wondered whether we have other National Trust members on VN, and if so, where are your favourite places to visit? The house I have enjoyed most so far is probably Polesden Lacey, simply beautiful.
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#2 Uncle Wilf

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Posted 07 April 2009 - 09:28 AM

Not a member currently as not really my thing.

But been to a few of their places in the South east.
Would really recommend Wakehurst Place in West Sussex as well as Emmets Gardens NR Ide Hill (45-60 min drive from SE19) and Chartwell.
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#3 NickJ

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Posted 07 April 2009 - 10:19 AM

We love all those places you mention, moc. Standen is also a good place - arts and crafts domestic architecture - and Ightham Mote is wonderful all year round (or, at least, as long as it is open). Our favourite, though, is Chartwell - partly because it is so convenient and easy to get to, partly because it has everything (historic house, great gardens, and walks all around - we even went for a walk around the perimeter on Boxing Day). Whether you love Winston Churchill or hate him, there's no argument that he was a towering figure of the 20th century, so the house is still a fascinating visit. Chartwell is our default day out for any visitors who come to stay!

#4 moc

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Posted 07 April 2009 - 10:48 AM

You've sold me on Chartwell, Nick - I think that will be my next port of call, probably over the Easter weekend. And Wakehurst Place looks very appealing too, thanks Uncle Wilf! I'm quite keen to go to Petworth too, down in West Sussex, at some point.

Is funny - I never thought it would be something like the national trust would appeal to me either, but I love it. One of the best things about being a member is never being stuck for something to do if you have a spare day and fancy getting out and about. Quite often, we stay in a guest house too and make a weekend of it :)
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#5 miss emma

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Posted 07 April 2009 - 11:30 AM

Chartwell and Ightham Mote were always my favourites when I was little. My parents are still members but I'm not covered on their membership since turning 18.
Many a happy childhood day was spent walking round walled gardens and browsing in gift shops, with the highlight always being getting a Trusty the Hedgehog stamp in my passport! :D
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#6 moc

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Posted 07 April 2009 - 01:08 PM

I've seen pictures of Ightham Mote and can't wait to go there. I didn't know about the Trusty the Hedgehog stamps tho... I feel like I have missed out! :D
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#7 James

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Posted 07 April 2009 - 02:22 PM

Would really recommend Wakehurst Place in West Sussex

If you are visiting Wakehurst Place there are several other attractions very close by...
- Borde Hill Gardens and next to the entrance is Jeremy's Restaurant (gourmet standard)
- Ardingly Reservoir (which is where my tap water comes from), home to a sailing school with windsurfing and canoeing
- Sheffield Park Garden (Capability Brown), and an adjacent gardening enthusiast's nursery with a fabulous wine cellar
- Bluebell Railway

A few miles further south and you'll reach the South Downs, which last week was designated as a new National Park.

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#8 Ziwa

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Posted 07 April 2009 - 02:42 PM

Its the big Darwin year, so make it out to Downe House!

We went to Sheffield Park last weekend and even though most things are not in leaf it looked like Eden. The whole landscape is a beautiful painting, constructed by using plants with different textures and colours as brush strokes and setting up vistas and surprises with 'grand rooms' formed by the trees. Our beloved Crystal Palace Park was designed with similar aesthetic (in the English Garden section) which is why I think we need to avoid 'opening it up' so much as to lose that sense.

We love walks in the area around Chartwell.

#9 gekko

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Posted 07 April 2009 - 03:14 PM

Another shout out for Down House, which is owned by English Heritage. Chartwell is also another favourite - great views from the garden and fascinating history of course.

One of the things that has always stopped us joining the National Trust is that it doesn't cover you for all properties as many are owned by English Heritage. It's usually sod's law that the next place you are planning to visit will be owned by the other organisation.

We don't visit many stately homes to be honest as my other half isn't a huge fan. It has to be the house of someone of great historical importance like Churchill, Darwin or Freud. I couldn't get her further than the shop at Penshurst and she wasn't for going in the Bronte Parsonage at Haworth the other week either, which apparently is "just the home of some sisters who wrote some books" :D . Fortunately, I already did the Bronte house years ago.
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#10 moc

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Posted 07 April 2009 - 03:30 PM

Wow. Down House looks amazing. I saw a great documentary on Darwin a few weeks ago, and learnt a lot about him that I never knew - he was so far ahead of his time in so many ways. Now we're in the NT and have paid for membership, my other half won't be so keen on paying for any visits to English Heritage properties, but I will definitely try and use my powers of persuasion. Gekko, your other half sounds very funny! :D
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#11 NickJ

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Posted 08 April 2009 - 09:50 AM

One more little recommendation: if you got to Sheffield Park - or the Bluebell Railway, which is virtually opposite - just up the (main) road is a wonderful place called Trading Boundaries. It's an old coaching inn that has been turned into a rabbit warren of a furniture shop, with a great cafe. They source a lot of stuff from India and have all sorts of interesting things. They have also converted the outbuildings into little shops, including a plant shop/florist, a toy shop, a cosmetic/smells place, and a shop that sells lovely French things. Over holiday weekends, they organise bands and events, so look up their website (www.tradingboundaries.com). And while you're in the main house (once reputedly the most haunted pub in Sussex), look out for the ghost...
Another house in the region that is worth a visit but sadly neither National Trust nor English Heritage is Hever Castle - home of the young Ann Boleyn. Highly recommended.

#12 James

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Posted 08 April 2009 - 10:37 AM

One more little recommendation: if you got to Sheffield Park - or the Bluebell Railway, which is virtually opposite - just up the (main) road is a wonderful place called Trading Boundaries. It's an old coaching inn that has been turned into a rabbit warren of a furniture shop, with a great cafe. They source a lot of stuff from India and have all sorts of interesting things. They have also converted the outbuildings into little shops, including a plant shop/florist, a toy shop, a cosmetic/smells place, and a shop that sells lovely French things. Over holiday weekends, they organise bands and events, so look up their website (www.tradingboundaries.com). And while you're in the main house (once reputedly the most haunted pub in Sussex), look out for the ghost...

A couple of the little courtyard shops were closing down when I visited a couple of months ago. The cookshop has gone but I can't be sure whether the toy shop was staying open. There is a wide range of furniture on sale inside and I can vouch for their customer service - they really care about getting things right and have provided us with good after sales care. They even let me go into their warehouse (which is right next to the Bluebell Railway) to choose our bed from their latest container shipment. Just be careful if heavy rains are forecast because it tends to flood in that area.

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#13 NickJ

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Posted 09 April 2009 - 09:33 AM

That's a shame about those shops, James, but not entirely surprising! And yes, they are nice people (remind me to tell you my Trading Boundaries ghost story some time!).
Further to what I said above about Chartwell... we went there yesterday and left our car in the car park (don't forget your NT windscreen sticker for free parking!). Then, using our OS map, we went for a quite magical walk for a couple of hours in the early spring sunshine, taking in woods, meadows, a stream, a little hamlet of pretty houses and gardens - and no other people seen at any point except when we crossed a road. Bliss.

#14 moc

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Posted 09 April 2009 - 10:45 AM

Sounds heavenly. Well, we're off to Chartwell this weekend, so look forward to sharing my experience there. Not sure the weather will be as nice as it was for you, Nick :angry:
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#15 NickJ

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Posted 09 April 2009 - 02:16 PM

Sounds heavenly. Well, we're off to Chartwell this weekend, so look forward to sharing my experience there. Not sure the weather will be as nice as it was for you, Nick :angry:


As at most NT places, DO ask questions of the volunteers in the rooms as they usually have loads of information (official and unofficial) to share and no one to share it with, as most people just breeze through all the rooms without stopping.