On my big National Trust weekend (3 properties in 1 weekend), I popped over the Chastleton House one afternoon. I’m not usually a fan of properties that open in the afternoon because I much prefer getting to places early and so leaving enough time to get home in the afternoon, turn N out on the farm with his dad while I can make tea. But it worked quite well with another visit in the morning nearby. My visit to Chastleton was a more fleeting visit than I expected, but it does show how different every National Trust property is.
Chastleton House is a short walk from the car park through a sheep field. A lovely pleasant walk on a warm summer’s day. The house looks pretty as you approach and you can get timed tickets when you arrive.
I had a mooch around the gardens before my slot. There’s some interesting topiary, plus a lovely kitchen garden. It’s not the largest place but it’s nice for a quick walk around.
The house is interesting and different to other National Trust properties. There’s a lot of work going on in the entrance/the great hall – protecting and replacing beams due to deathwatch beetles. Even the rest of the house feels like it’s work in progress. Or more like, find the house as it comes, decay and dust included. I spotted a statement explaining how National Trust are protecting and preserving the house as it is, in the state that it was left, rather than renovating it.
The house felt a little crowded with everyone moving around, but I liked that in each room there was an information sheet on the room’s history and key items to spot.
If you’re looking for a stunning and sprawling manor house that’s not what you get with Chastleton House. It’s much more about seeing the house as it was when the owners left.
The downside (apart from the uphill walk back to the car park) is that there’s no café. For us, having lunch out is usually a big deal, although with Chastleton only opening at 1pm, that’s less of an issue. Luckily I’d eaten at Hidcote in the morning. Instead, the church next door is open and had refreshments, although I don’t know if that’s a permanent solution, or just on certain days.
It was a pleasant and interesting visit, plus a tick of another National Trust property off my list. I think I should have a National Trust bingo game going! However, I’m glad N wasn’t with me because I’m not sure he’d have been entertained enough – the children going round did have a trail but it was question based so something he usually gets bored with.
I’d say, if you’re on the way somewhere else, then Chastleton is a perfect stop off for a couple of hours, rather than an all day visit.
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