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Entries about national trust

The White Cliffs of Dover

Staycation - No bluebirds

sunny 15 °C

Sadly there are no bluebirds to fly over the White Cliffs of Dover. There never were any. There are however magpies and jackdaws. The corvids supplement their diet by scavenging amongst the tables outside the visitor centre and café; there are always crumbs and things to purloin.

Our visit today was to have a walk in the autumn sunshine and give Reggie, our Patterdale X, a walk where he can get his nose around new smells.

It is also our 20th Wedding Anniversary. Much better weather than on that day back in 2000.

As members of the National Trust we get in free to all their sites, although "free" comes after we have paid to be members. As seniors we do save a couple of pounds each year.

Dover is about 15 miles from our house, so this was definitely a staycation day. Despite it being a weekday and October, there were a lot of people enjoying the walks across the top of the cliffs from the parking and visitor centre.

Our first stop was as usual for coffee and as it is a special occasion Claire bought a sausage roll each. Reggie has his own water and treats that I carry on my back! Sometimes going out with a dog is like going equipped for a baby. Poo bags instead of nappies (diapers to the non UK)

We set off via the car to pick up that gear and then took the cliff edge walk. After Storm Alex last week and into the weekend I had expected it to be much muddier and more slippery but the chalk path was okay. Some of the other steps cut into the chalk were very wet and muddy.


Luckily we didn't meet anyone else on the narrow bits. The drop to the right is only about 75 feet onto a lower ledge that is quite wide. You would have be a a complete idiot to find yourself in the sea!

The first part of the walk overlooks Dover Eastern Docks. This is where the ferries from France come in and leave from. Despite Covid-19 and various lockdowns the movement of trucks seems to be unabated.


There is also a really good view of Dover Castle.


Our walk took us along Langdon Cliff until we got to the muddy bit. Despite being in walking boots we opted to turn back and take the higher route but not before taking a few photos of the famous White Cliffs.

large_DSC00015.JPGlarge_DSC00023.JPGRemains of the wartime buildings

Remains of the wartime buildings


The Trust uses ponies to keep the grasslands natural and we were lucky to come across a few of them on the way back. Reggie doesn't really react to farm animals but as instructed we keep him on a lead in case he decides to act differently one day!


From here it was back to the visitor centre for a loo break and Claire to visit the shop. Reg and I had a wander across the entry road as he isn't allowed in the shop. Not that he'd want to buy anything anyway, and of course, he doesn't have any money ….

Visitor Centre

Visitor Centre

large_DSC00034.JPGReggie Exploring

Reggie Exploring

And then home. A nice few hours on the English coast and it didn't rain.

One Man and his Dog

One Man and his Dog

Oddly when I got home I noticed my phone had received a message whilst I was out. It was from Tesco Mobile welcoming me to France. Err. France. I was about 22 miles from France on the White Cliffs.

Posted by InvictaMoto 06:35 Archived in England Tagged white_cliffs_of_dover staycation national_trust Comments (0)

Standen House and Garden

National Trust Staycation

Another weekend and another "staycation" drive out. This time to Standen House, another National Trust managed property.

This one is special as the finest example of the William Morris' Arts and Crafts movement at the end of the 19th century. The house is as it would have been with the dining room restored to "as is" from from the 1920's.

It took a while to get there with the route TomTom decided on. Only 71 miles but it took nearly an hour and a half.

Only the ground floor is open as the upstairs isn't wide enough to allow social distancing.

As with any property trying to stay open during the pandemic and aftermath, public safety is a top priority. Entry is by pre-booked ticket (booked online) with limited numbers and timed entry. There was a small queue to get into the house itself, controlled by a traffic light system and a one way route around the ground floor.

Standen House

Standen House

Standen House

Standen House

Standen House

Standen House

William Morris Arts and Crafts wallpaper

William Morris Arts and Crafts wallpaper

William Morris Arts and Crafts wallpaper

William Morris Arts and Crafts wallpaper

As we had left the dog at home we only did the house this weekend, and decided to come back and do the walks in the 12 acres of gardens when he can come too. Maybe if the weather holds up we can come back in a few weeks otherwise it will be next year.

The TomTom took us home the country route rather than the motorway route. In the end it took about the same time and we got to see some parts of Kent that we hadn't seen before. We forget that our own county the weald is very beautiful between the towns and villages.

A few more photos.

Standen House

Standen House

Standen House

Standen House

Standen House

Standen House

Standen House

Standen House

Posted by InvictaMoto 16:07 Archived in England Tagged arts_and_crafts national_trust standen_house Comments (0)

Scotney Castle - National Trust


sunny 19 °C

After the traumas of booking trips away and then having to cancel due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, we have begun to tailor our trip to the "staycation" system.

For us this means staying at home and heading out for day trips. Sometimes we take the dog, as long as the target is dog-friendly. It is amazing how many place are coming around to realising that there are a lot of dog owners in the country and they command a large budget. In these trying times, they need to maximise their income potential. Even when I don't have Reggie with me, I still think twice about going to a non dog-friendly site.

Heck, if I am not considered worthy of a visit with the dog, why would I be without him?

So this weekend we decided to go to the National Trust's site at Scotney Castle in Kent. It's not that far away across to the west of the county but with country lanes and two lane roads it is over an hour on the road.

To limit the number of visitors, the National Trust operates an online booking system for visitors. I booked for the 1130-1200 entry slot. Not too early to get up after working all week (some of us in the UK aren't furloughed and getting paid to sit at home all day!!) and to make the drive over there less pressured.

On arrival I missed the turn into the driveway and we ended up going into Lamberhurst before we could make a 180 turn! It looks a nice little village with some old houses from the 19th and early 20th centuries.

Once back on the right track we joined a queue to the check-in on the drive. usually, you just drive and park up and show your membership cards (or pay if non NT members). For Covid they have a check-in on the driveway with ample "abort" options for those not booked or arriving outside their booked time. We checked okay at 1140.

Parking was easy and there were volunteers marshalling us into spaces. I opted to park under a tree rather than a few vacant spaces to keep the car cooler for when we came back.

When we go for a trip like this we usually have a choice of leads for Reggie. He wears a harness in the car fitted to a short lead in a rear seat belt clip. I take this off and replace it with a sturdy collar. He can be very strong when he wants to be and his usual collar with tag looks too flimsy should he see a rabbit or a squirrel to chase! I also take a small bag with a water bottle and collapsible water bowl, plus a teat bag with his favourite treats. He loves gravy-bones!

First stop was the loo for Claire. Then we needed a coffee and as it was almost lunchtime we opted for a sausage roll each. I found somewhere to sit and Claire queued to get into the tea-room. For Covid the eat-in option is not available and the tables outside are set at socially distanced spaces apart. The sausage roll was very good, good meat and just about the right cooking time!

Then we set off for the garden. They have created a one way system and it means that what is usually the entrance and exit alongside the shop and tea-room is now just the exit. The entrance has moved around the corner. The main problem with this is that it is about 50 yards along the car-park exit road and so people and cars are pretty much mixed up, with cars coming behind you.

We made it anyway. Oddly, even though you have booked in along the driveway, you still book in again with membership cards. I assume this is because the first checkpoint really just checks names off?

We were in and following the one way. It seems that not everyone can either read or simply ignores the "no entry" signs painted and stuck on posts. They are all copies of common standard European road signs!

The main and old ruined castle is down a slope in a small valley and is surrounded by a moat. The new castle is more of a stately home and is by the tea rooms and shop. I expect from the design these were the stables in the past. The new castle is currently closed for Covid.

The "new" castle

The "new" castle

View from the path down from the entrance

View from the path down from the entrance

We followed the paths to the lower level and then the bridges over the moat become two way and then there is one way turn around the island where the castle is situated. In principle it worked very well.

Part of the castle is ruined and you can see that there was a large room now open to the air and made into a garden.


One of the rooms that isn't ruined has been turned into an ice-cream parlour! Just about right after walking for some distance in the sun. No doggie ices here, although at some NT sites they do sell special dog ice-cream. Reggie happy to have a finger scoop from ours. he doesn't care what flavour. We avoid chocolate and the quantity is minimal anyway, plus it hardly gets tasted!

After that short break we headed around the loop to take up past the castle on the other side of the moat/lake. Here you can see the shape of the castle and see the magnificent surroundings.


The walk back is another loop on what looks like a recently made path through the trees and back up to the new castle. All in all a really nice walk. Reggie seemed to get on with all the other dogs, and that is itself unusual. You can't like everyone you meet so why expect dogs to do so?

Claire had a look in the shop and I sat outside and waited for her to buy a plant for the garden. Then it was home, almost the reverse of the way we had driven over.

Now it's back to work and we can plan next weekend's staycation visit.

Posted by InvictaMoto 02:31 Archived in England Tagged national_trust scotney_castle Comments (0)

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