A love of books

Kent Life - - National Trust - WORDS: Emma Ward PHO­TOS:

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

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