All of my family are members of the National Trust and love to visit houses and countryside preserved for our National Heritage. The Trust oversee Bateman’s, the house that Rudyard Kipling and his family moved into when they required some peace and quiet but still within easy traveling distance of his London publishers. Rudyard Kipling as an author is beloved by children and adults alike. His ‘Just So Stories’ and ‘The Jungle Book’ have inspired everyone from media giants like Disney to school plays. I was therefore very excited to see his home and how he spent his days.
The house was wonderful, largely because it retained the sense of being a family home. No areas were taped off and you could walk around freely just as the family had. There were volunteers keeping an eye on things but they were all very friendly, easy to chat too and willing to give out interesting facts about the Kipling’s lives and the surrounding areas. Their genuine enthusiasm made the visit all the more enjoyable.
This is the entrance with the cafe on the left and the house at the end of the path. Rudyard and his wife Carrie fell in love with the house the first time they saw it and he is reputed to have said ‘That’s She! The Only She! Make an honest woman of her – quick!’ When they found Bateman’s he was already a world-famous writer and this house with its mullioned windows and oak beams was to give him the sanctuary he was looking for. There is still a garage with his Rolls Royce, walled gardens and an apple orchard.
Before we looked around the house we visited the cafe for coffee and cake. I didn’t take any photos in there but was most impressed by both the food and service. I had a delicious gluten free cake and later for lunch some homemade leek and potato soup with a gluten free roll.
A few more photos of the interior:
This last one shows a corner of Rudyard’s study where his secretary sat at the typewriter as he sat at the desk on the left. He had wooden blocks added to his chair legs so that he could still see out of the window while sitting.
My last two pictures are of the guest bedroom and a mouse on the staircase!