Autumn in the garden at Chartwell

The gardens at Chartwell are full of history, from the wall Winston built in the Kitchen Garden to the rose garden planted for his wife, Clementine. Exploring the outdoors at this time of year is always a joy, with fantastic fiery colours taking over the autumn borders and woodland. Come along and find out for yourselves why Winston fell in love with this country home.

Autumn woodland at Chartwell, a National Trust property in Kent

Seasonal views

The terrace behind the house is the perfect spot to enjoy a view on a sunny day. From here you can pull up a chair and admire the scene as it slopes down towards the lakes and up again to the woodland, transforming into a rust-coloured landscape. From the right-hand side of the terrace you can even see for miles across the weald of Kent. This view is just one of the reasons Churchill was so eager to purchase Chartwell as his family home.

Pumpkins growing in the kitchen garden at Chartwell, a National Trust property in Kent

Autumn harvests in the kitchen garden

'Tis the season of the floating pumpkins (and squashes). Our gardeners grow a wide variety and hang them like this so they don't start to rot on the wet ground. Autumn is also a great time of year for other root vegetables such as parsnip and potatoes. Take a look at our donation stand and see what produce we have on sale today.

Churchill's swimming pool in autumn at Chartwell, a National Trust property in Kent

Churchill's swimming pool

One of the first things you'll see as you enter the garden is Churchill's very own swimming pool, built in the 1930s. In autumn the ground surrounding the pool is often host to the fly agaric fungus - look out for it's iconic red cap and white spots.

Churchill's chair by the golden orfe ponds at Chartwell, a National Trust property in Kent

Golden orfe ponds

Here at Chartwell, there's not one but three golden orfe ponds just teeming with Churchill's favourite fish. Fiery red shrubs surround Winston's chair at this time of year, framing the spot where he sat for many hours feeding the golden orfe. As the temperature drops, the fish will start to slow down so don't be worried if you see a few of them perfectly still - they're just hibernating.

Apples in the orchard

Apple orchard

Branches laden with a bountiful crop of juicy red-green apples tumble temptingly from the trees in our orchard - a reward for our gardeners judicious pruning. The majority of these are cooking apples and our favourite variety is of course the 'Winston' apple, so-named because, like the great man himself, these apples can weather a storm. We kindly ask you do not pick our apples but please help yourselves to any windfalls.

Lake view in autumn at Chartwell, a National Trust property in Kent

Lakes

One of the reasons Churchill bought Chartwell was for the potential water feature he could create. The lower lake already existed when he bought the property but 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.

The rose garden in autumn at Chartwell, a National Trust property in Kent

Lady Churchill's Rose Garden

September sees the last of the roses begin to fall, but Clementine's garden remains a spot of quiet contemplation. Designed by Clementine's close friend and cousin Venetia Montagu, the outer borders will be bursting with autumnal highlights such as the scarlet smoke weed and dazzling pink nerines

Black swan at Chartwell, a National Trust property in Kent

Black swans

Black swans were first kept at Chartwell in the 1920s after they were gifted to Churchill. Please help us take care of our black swans by not feeding them. Wildfowl are sensitive and may peck if they feel uncomfortable. Thank you.

Garden tours

Starting at the Marlborough Pavilion the 2pm tour visits each aspect of the Chartwell garden, highlighting some fascinating features all handled by a team of dedicated volunteers. Check at the visitor centre for availability or find one of our blackboards throughout the garden. Please note the garden tour runs weekends only during the winter months.

Plants of the month

Discover more spring colour by downloading our leaflet, including a map of where to find the best colour and plants in the Chartwell garden.