The gardens at Chartwell

Enjoy wide-open views across the lakes, garden and Weald of Kent, Churchill's kitchen garden and the rose walk. The garden at Chartwell is a feast for the eyes, whatever the season.

One of our garden tours at Chartwell

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 weekend only during the winter months.

The water feature and magnolia in spring at Chartwell

Rock garden

This feature caught Lady Churchill's eye at the Chelsea Flower Show in 1948. She liked it so much the designer Gavin Jones gave it to her as a gift and she only paid for the transport. The design is a semi-circular wall comprising massive lumps of Forest of Dean sandstone with the stream cascading over the rock face and into a pool below to represent a natural stone outcrop.

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

Swimming pool

Follow the cascades down from the rock garden to find Churchill's swimming pool. In the early years, the Churchills used the lakes for swimming until the oval concrete pool was consructed in the 1930s. With his usual thoroughness, Churchill took the advice from his scientist friend, Lindemann, on the amount of water needed to fill it and from a chemist on the correct chemicals to keep it clean.

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

Golden orfe ponds

Churchill first encountered golden orfe in the 1930s and was so entranced by them that they were made features of the Chartwell garden. Have a look out for a small chair next to one of the ponds; Churchill could sit here for hours in silent contemplation as he feed his beloved fish.

Volunteers attending Lady Churchill's rose garden at Chartwell, a National Trust property in Kent

Lady Churchill's rose garden

The present walled rose garden on the north side of the house was designed by Clementine's close friend and cousin Venetia Montagu. Together they created a traditional, formal English rose garden divided by paths into four beds and softened by a mass of perennials and shrubs in gentle colours. The roses may not be out yet, but the garden remains a place of quiet contemplation.

An expansive view of the house and garden overlooking the lake


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.

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.

Dog walking at Chartwell, a National Trust property in Kent

Bring your dog to Chartwell

Here at Chartwell, we love dogs. Bring your furry companion along on a short lead for a stroll around the gardens or go for a roam in the woods. Find out more about where you can and cannot take your dog here.