A love of books
World Book Day this month is the perfect opportunity to
instill in young readers a lifelong passion for books
World Book Day has become a firm fixture in the UK calendar, not least for literary fans and children keen to dress up as their favourite book character. Now in its 22nd year, it takes place this year on 7 March.
The National Trust in Kent has many literary connections and reasons to inspire a love of books, from romantic novelists to history writers, secluded benches to sit and read to majestic cliffs with dramatic sea views to inspire young storytellers.
ROMANCE AT KNOLE
Knole is a treasure trove of literary history in the heart of Sevenoaks. It became the home of novelist and poet Vita Sackville West when she was born there in 1892. In 1922, Vita wrote a lively history of the house and her family entitled Knole and the Sackvilles, while one of her bestknown novels, The Edwardians (written eight years later), was set in the fictional country house of ‘Chevron’, clearly based on Knole.
Knole also inspired Vita’s fellow writer and lover Virginia Woolf, who used the mansion and its grounds as the setting for her novel Orlando, published in 1928.
Today, visitors can explore Knole’s showrooms and extensive grounds and imagine what it would have been like for Vita living there as a child, and for Virginia seeing it for the first time.
HISTORY AT CHARTWELL
Chartwell in Westerham was the country retreat of Sir Winston Churchill. The wartime Prime Minister was also a highly regarded writer and among his better-known titles are Marlborough: His Life and Times, The World Crisis (a history of the First World War) and A History of the English-Speaking People. Churchill was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1953 for his “mastery of historical and biographical detail.” The National Trust has recently acquired this as part of its ongoing ‘Churchill’s Chartwell’ fundraising appeal.
Many of Churchill’s books are on display at Chartwell, along with his writing materials and Nobel Prize.
TRANQUILLITY AND INSPIRATION
Jane Austen once declared,
“How much sooner one tires of anything other than a book!”
The same can be said of admiring the wonderful views that visitors to Toys Hill can enjoy. Here you can sit on one of the many benches set at beautiful viewpoints for a quiet read.
Those in search of a more invigorating experience can enjoy a bracing walk along the White Cliffs of Dover and gain inspiration for exciting new ideas for their stories and poems.
FIND OUT MORE
On World Book Day, 15 million children will receive a £1 voucher via their school or nursery, which they can exchange for a World Book Day book of their choosing. For more details about literary links and events at the National Trust in Kent, visit: www. nationaltrust.org. uk/kent.
ABOVE: Churchill’s Nobel Prize for Literature on display at ChartwellLEFT:A mother and daughter enjoying reading outdoors