A day out at Standen!

My friend Zoe asked if I fancied accompanying her to visit a fairly local National Trust property, Standen, and I agreed. After all, it would be nice to go somewhere that didn’t have toddler fingerprints over everything…

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We drove out to Standen, in East Grinstead (it was the first time I’d been out that way; all I knew about East Grinstead is that it’s where a major Scientology centre is.) The journey was lovely- it was the morning after the massive storms and all the plants were lush. Everywhere was quiet.

Image: Standen/National Trust

The Beale Family at Standen Image: Standen/National Trust

After about an hour, we arrived at Standen, a house and garden built in the 1890s by the Beale family, initially as a summer residence, although they took up permanent residence there after Mr Beale retired. What makes it an attractive place to visit is the fact that inside it’s decorated in the Arts and Crafts style and is therefore a haven for a William Morris fanatic like me.

How gorgeous is this fire screen? If ONLY my embroidery skills were up to this!

How gorgeous is this fire screen? If ONLY my embroidery skills were up to this!

I love the calm of stately houses and the fact that they’re SO PRISTINE. You’d get through quite a few feather dusters at Standen, I can tell you. By the way, does anyone else ever go to these sort of places and try and imagine what it would be like to have lived their at the time each house was built? It can’t JUST be me, surely?

The house is truly lovely and if I didn’t live with a man whose favourite colour was beige, I would totally emulate the Arts and Crafts style in the new house. As it was, I took inspiration from the accessories and artwork around the house. If you keep your eyes peeled, you can definitely spot some Rossetti and Burne-Jones art, which was definitely super exciting for a Pre-Raphaelite nerd like me.

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I wish I’d got a better photo of this gorgeous tapestry, but it was quite dark and you’re not supposed to use a flash. Also, I’m a rubbish photographer.

As well as the house itself, the gardens are well worth a visit- I was endlessly snapping photos of plants in order to get ideas for when (ha!) we move. I sat in the Victorian conservatory and looked out onto what seems like endless greenery. I could have quite happily taken my own needlework in there and worked for hours.

Me chilling in the conservatory.

Me chilling in the conservatory.

As well as visiting the house and gardens, there’s an exhibition about Helen Beale (one of the daughters of the original owners) and her time as a nurse during the First World War. We were lucky to arrive at Standen on the day this small exhibition opened and it was fascinating and poignant.

Finally, we had lunch in the cafe- it was not as expensive as I’d thought it would be AND it was delicious!

Now I have plans to visit The Red House and Kelmscott Manor, both houses lived in by the great William Morris.

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4 thoughts on “A day out at Standen!

  1. TheBigForest says:

    The red house is brilliant but surrounded by 1930’s houses which means you have to edit out the view. When I first met Ben we went to Standen and he said ‘this is exactly like my parents house’ and I thought Wow! Only later I found out he was refering to his Mum and Dads being full of arts and crafts stuff. Sadly they did not have a country estate!! Hope all is good for you. TheBigForest.

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