It was such a sunny Sunday morning, it felt a shame to not get out and enjoy it! We have annual membership for the National Trust and thought it would be nice to go somewhere. We looked through the latest National Trust handbook and saw that Kingston Lacy was nearby, so packed a picnic lunch and set off on our way.
Kingston Lacy is home to the Bankes family home, which was built to resemble an Italian Palace and reportedly has one of the best private collections of paintings in Britain. We did a brisk tour inside the house (by brisk – I mean Etta took me by the hand and made me run up all the stairs to the attic rooms, have a quick look inside, and then run back down the stairs as clearly we’d been inside for “too long” and needed to go back outside to explore again). I would like to go back again and see more of the famous art collection, but seeing as I only got to see the attic rooms, at least they were interesting – they are painted to resemble the inside of a striped tent. Apparently this was meant to look like one of the military campaign tents that Napoleon lived in as he waged his wars across Europe, however I thought it looked more like a bleak circus tent!! Nevertheless, it was very interesting, unique and a bit eerie – and is one of the last surviving ‘tent rooms’ in Europe.
The gardens were the main draw to Kingston Lacy for me though – set in 8,500 acres. I was especially excited to see the Japanese Garden, as spring time marks the arrival of the cherry blossoms. I was not disappointed – I wistfully gazed at the Japanese Tea Garden, longing to sit under a blossom tree and absorb the tranquility of the running water, the light breeze blowing through my hair, and the warm sun on my face.
Alas, the Tea Garden is not accessible to the public, as it is too fragile…. something I completely understand, as if we had been allowed access, no doubt my heavy-footed toddler would have accidently trampled on some rare beauty in her eagerness to explore and touch everything.
I did manage to spend a little time there, looking in, but safely locked out. Dreaming of the day I eventually get to visit Japan and see the cherry blossoms there.