02 June, 2015


The National Trust have announced that, from this month, they are celebrating the literary links to the places they look after with writers in residence, open days, author events and trails. Have you ever visited a famous author's house? Whose house would you most like to see into?

We love the National Trust in our household and have invested in Life Membership. We enjoy seeing all the grand and/or historical houses, and especially the beautiful gardens and estates you can walk in, but we are also proud to support a charity which takes care of a huge part of Britain's coast and countryside. I can't wait until our boys are old enough to take part in all the treasure trails, craft days and outdoor activities that they put on too. Digory already has a Twitter account to record his Trust visits!

We went on holiday recently, and discovered a few of the Trust's literary gems for ourselves. Our favourite trip was to Bateman's - the home of Rudyard Kipling. Here it is...

I love a house with a literary connection - Greenway, home of Agatha Christie, being another Trust favourite - and it was fascinating to learn more about such an amazing man and Nobel Laureate. I had Kipling down as an austere kind of gentleman, but it seems he was gentle and fun and a doting father. This was rather sad as one of his daughters died from pneumonia very young, and his beloved only son (who called him 'Dear Dada' and who he was very close to) was killed in World War I.

I know Kipling primarily through The Jungle Book and his Just So Stories - full of humour and life. I haven't actually read his poems and adult fiction, although the more I read about him, the more I'd like to. The few Nobel Laureates I've read in the past have blown me away with how amazing they are. Have you read any of Rudyard Kipling's work?

If you find yourself in East Sussex, I recommend a visit to Bateman's - for the gardens, food, Kipling's 1920s  Rolls Royce Phantom 1, and some lovely circular walks, even if the house isn't your thing! You can find out more about the houses of famous writers that the National Trust look after near you, by visiting nationaltrust.org.uk/writingplaces.

Digory enjoyed Bateman's too...


  1. It's a lovely idea to do a literary house tour, especially if you write something at each location. Rudyard Kipling's Kim is one of my favourite books. There was a very good film not so long ago, My Boy Jack, that took you into the heart of his family and the tragedy that changed his thinking on the Great War. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0851430/
    PS Loving the tweets - what a super way to keep family and friends up to speed with his travels!

    1. I must read, Kim - that's the one I've always intended to. Just the area of Sussex we were in had links to another three or four famous authors. Clearly a literary hotspot!

  2. Boy, if I ever become a famous author and people want to come visit my house, they'll be very disappointed. :)

    1. Same here. "Now this is where Chloe Banks sits on the sofa and scoffs chocolate while watching trashy documentaries. This is the washing machine. And over here is a slight stain where she spilled some fruit juice."

  3. A belated plug for the parsonage at Howarth. Jane Austen's house at Chaworth is worth a visit, and Dove Cottage where the Wordsworths lived is tiny but atmospheric (especially if, like me, you buy Dorothy's diary and read it before visiting or at the same time). But in Haworth, out of the manic tourist season, I feel I can almost see Bronte sisters flitting about!


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