Natural play area at Chartwell

Child playing in woods at Chartwell Kent

In the spirit of Chartwell's connection to the Churchill family, Churchill’s great, great grandchildren opened our natural play area at the former family home.

A new generation

Six-year-old Johnnie Churchill and 10-year-old Alice Churchill, the great, great grandchildren of Sir Winston Churchill, opened the new natural play area in the woods of Chartwell in 2013.
 
Johnnie said: 'I love going to Chartwell and exploring. I like the stories about diggers getting stuck in the lakes. Now there’s a camp and swings in the trees, we can have lots more fun.'
 
Alice added: 'Chartwell is like a magical place and really exciting. I love the fishponds and butterflies and my favourite is the Marycot, which my great, great grandfather built for his daughter Mary. The camp on the other side of the lake is just like the Wind in the Willows and it makes me think of Mole and his friends having lots of fun here.'
 

Enjoying the outdoors

The natural play area, which is open all year round, has been created by the Chartwell team to reintroduce some of the fun and freedom that the Churchill children enjoyed in the grounds of their home.
 
You'll be able to discover what it would have been like for the children growing up, and the adventures they would have had on the estate.
 
There are dens that are based on the tree houses the Churchill children built and swings engraved with their nicknames.
 

Recalling the past

Johnnie and Alice’s great, great aunt, Mary Soames, daughter of Sir Winston and Clementine Churchill, recalls her memories of playing in the grounds of her childhood home in her book A Daughter's Tale:
 
'Chartwell’s gardens offer endless opportunities for fun and freedom for children. There are wide open spaces, and steep banks to roll down, and streams and lakes, and trees to climb.
 
'But I think it had more possibilities for fun and adventure in my childhood days, for then so much was still in the making.'
 

Telling a story

The play area has also been designed to tell the story of the Canadian soldiers who set up base here during the Second World War, with a camp and bomb crater complete with a 500lb Second World War bomb carved from timber.