Terrace Lawn at Chartwell

The Terrace Lawn at Chartwell with the side of the house rising over the terrace under blue skies

With far-reaching views out over the Chartwell estate and Weald of Kent, come and discover why Churchill so loved Chartwell and relax out on our Terrace lawn.

Terrace lawn

The Churchills famously bought Chartwell for the views and from the terrace lawn in front of the house you can certainly see why. No matter the season, heading out onto the terrace is the perfect place to pull up a chair, either with the sunglasses and sun cream or woolly hats and scarves, ready to sit back and enjoy the view.

Why not see if you can find the name on your house ticket on the backs on one of our chairs?

Audio guides now in use at Chartwell with woman holding and listening with lakes and swimming pool in background

Audio guides at Chartwell

Discover the stories of Chartwell at your own pace with our audio guides. Choose between different topics to suit your own interests by picking up one of our lightweight devices, free with your booked entry, from our Visitor Centre.

Until around 1960, the Chartwell greenhouses could be found on the terrace lawn but Clementine always found them inappropriately placed. She had new ones built in a much better position in the orchard, although these were later moved again.

From the far end of the lawn, the south front of the house is visible with its trellis-work attached to the front. Clementine planted a Magnolia grandiflora which grew up the trellis to such a height that Churchill could enjoy the lemon scent of its white flowers from his bedroom window.

The Marlborough Pavilion

At the north end of the terrace lawn, leading to Lady Churchill’s Rose Garden sits the distinctive Marlborough Pavilion.

Built as a summer-house by Tilden in the 1920s and decorated in 1949 by Churchill’s nephew, John Spencer Churchill, it was named for the man who inspired the decoration and Churchill’s ancestor, John Churchill, the first Duke of Marlborough.

The four terracotta medallions at the corners represent the Duke, his wife Sarah, Queen Anne and Prince Eugene of Savoy – an essential ally in several battles. You can also find the Duke’s coat of arms and family motto, terracotta plaques of rivers significant to Marlborough’s campaigns in the War of the Spanish Succession, and a low-relief frieze around the ceiling evoking the Marlborough wars.

Iris border

In the spring, take a walk along the bottom of the terrace lawn wall to find our iris border in full bloom. Our gardening teams have been hard at work rejuvenating the border, carefully conserving our collection and working to expand it.

Some of the varieties you can find at Chartwell include Lord of June and Grace Sturtevant, which are the same that the Churchills would have known whilst they were living here, helping to bring the gardens back to how they used to look.

These lovely flowers are only out for a short while around April and May, so catch them whilst you can.

Lakes

Unmissable from the terrace lawns, and much of the estate, are the wide lakes at the base of the gardens.

Now home to the beloved black swans and visiting flocks of geese, there was originally only the one lake at Chartwell before dammed and split into two by Churchill. One of the reasons Churchill bought Chartwell was for the potential water feature he could create, so in 1924 a dam was built to create the upper lake.

The lakes were camouflaged by brush wood to reduce the risk of bombing raids during the wars but they now offer majestic views and provide a home for wildlife

Autumn trees in full orange display at Chartwell

The Chartwell estate 

Take a look at some of the behind-the-scenes work our outdoors team gets up to all across not just Chartwell but the surrounding West Kent countryside that we care for as well.