Wednesday, July 22, 2009
This past weekend, we finally made it over to nearby Cherkley Court & Gardens, which was the home of William Maxwell Aitken, (1879-1964), the first Lord Beaverbrook, and a former Member of Parliament and newspaper mogul.
I'm not sure when the house was originally built, but the website notes that it was damaged by fire in 1893.
In around 1910, the story goes, that Aitken was driving in the countryside with his wife and their friends, Mr. & Mrs. Rudyard Kipling, and they stumbled across the lane to home and a for sale sign. After Aitken took one look at the house, he declared that he would buy it. He rebuilt and restored Cherkley Court in the French chateau style.
Here are some of the photos we snapped while walking in the gardens.
There is a lovely cafe on the premises, and they have outdoor seating when the rain is off and the sun is shining. The day we were there, the skies varied from clear to gray, and back again. We started a walk with a very cool breeze, and half way into our walk, we ended up in a 15-minute rain shower.
We took refuge in one of the gazebos in the garden, along with two elderly English ladies out for a garden stroll.
They were interested in my American accent, and assumed I had come from thousands of miles to see Cherkley Gardens. I think they were a little disappointed to learn that I live just up the road! They weren't the least bit interested in Niall's very definitive Ulster accent. Ah, but he's used to being snubbed!
While at Cherkley, would took time to enjoy a cream tea, complete with fresh scones, clotted cream, Tregothnan kea plum jam, and Tregothnan tea. If interested in the Tregothnan products, please click here. We would have loved to sit on the patio, but the weather kept us from doing so. Maybe next time!
Click to read more about Cherkley Gardens and Lord Beaverbrook.
We decided to join up and become Friends of Cherkley, which will entitle us to return to the gardens anytime during the summer season. We find it fascinating to see how the vegetation changes through the year. Cherkley is open until 30 September.