You might have seen some of my posts and stories on Instagram but a couple of weeks ago I was in Kent for a short weekend. For Christmas my sister had bought myself and my daughter a voucher each for the Call the Midwife Location Tour at Chatham Historic Dockyard (Brit Movie Tours). We love Call the Midwife!
When I looked into the dockyard I realised that there was an awful lot there that my husband would also love so we decided to make a weekend of it and all go. Then my mum and dad were keen to join us too - so that made five of us!
I booked a budget hotel in Chatham (The Charles Hotel) - I am not sure I can totally recommend it as breakfast was a bit of a disaster (seriously couldn't make it up) but in terms of location and comfort of rooms for the price it was perfect.
The tour we were booked on was at 1.30 pm so we left mid-morning and arrived about midday, we took a picnic with us but in fact the newly refurbished cafe at the dockyard is really fabulous so we bought a cup of tea and some cake and sat outside with our picnic. It was the start of the sunny weather. It wasn't overly warm but comfortable enough and bright and sunny.
I wore Boden navy jeans and a pink stripe breton from Baukjen and a scarf from Mint Velvet (all previous season - but I have linked similar). And of course my Vionic sneakers as they are just so super-comfortable I can't take them off now!
We met up with the tour guide and thoroughly enjoyed our tour of the locations for many of the Call the Midwife scenes that are familiar to us. I read the first Call The Midwife: A True Story Of The East End In The 1950s book well before they'd considered a TV series and loved it - I then read the rest of the books - Shadows of the Workhouse and . Farewell To The East End I also read her final book In the Midst of Life (about her work with the dying) and then more recently her sister wrote about their childhood in her own book The Midwife's Sister. I recommend all of them!
The tour guide had a set of photos so she was able to show us the location of many of the scenes. She told us lots of interesting facts about the filming. They have also set up a small museum with lots of the props, costumes, photos and furniture used in the series.
We loved it all and really enjoyed wandering around the old buildings. As part of the price of the tour you also get your entry to the dockyards included so it makes a super family day out. There are some historical navy vessels to look around, we went on the destroyer and the submarine. There is also a full working ropery that you can have a tour around.
This is the bench and the park used in the scene when Trixie told Christopher they couldn't be together.
On the Sunday we decided to leave Chatham and drive half way home to Chartwell House, Winston Churchill's private family home. We had been planning a visit there for a while and this was a perfect opportunity. The house is owned by the National Trust and as we have membership, our entry was free of charge. Entry to the house is by timed ticket which you can book in advance or get when you arrive, we had no problem getting a convenient slot. The gardens are beautiful to wander in and we went into Winston's art studio and saw some of his gardening projects before having lunch then heading into the house.
It wasn't quite so warm and sunny on the Sunday so I added a jumper from Jack Wills and thankfully my capsule wardrobe worked very well. I am a dreadful packer, I always take too much!
It was quite obvious why Winston Churchill and his family loved Chartwell so much. It felt very much like a family home and it wasn't too big, you could imagine a family living there and growing up. Winston could often be found doing jobs in the garden like building a wall or this beautiful playhouse for his youngest daughter.
My favourite room was the dining room (far right above) it has beautiful opening doors and views across the garden and the Kent countryside. The NT stewards in each room were so helpful and answered our questions and chatted to us, sharing lots of interesting facts. Even my 17 year old daughter enjoyed it and didn't get bored (I am lucky that both my children embrace a little bit of history)!
Every year there is a different exhibition at Chartwell and this year it was about Winston's wife, Clementine Churchill - Speaking for Herself. It was fascinating and if you have seen the recent film, Darkest Hour you will recognise some of the facts and history.
I love Kent of course, I was born in small village near Orpington and then lived in another village just outside Maidstone until I was 14. I still visit regularly to see my two best friends. This was a really fabulous weekend but both would make equally good day trips depending on where you live. I certainly recommend!
Welcome to Fifty & Fab, a lifestyle blog celebrating women. I am a blogger with a passion for writing about style, beauty, health and fitness with a focus on the over 50's. I am based in Marlow but work across London and the South East.
Hi, I’m Michelle and my blog Fifty & Fab is all about my journey into and through my fifties. I share style tips, health and fitness inspiration, I talk about my holidays and days out and I tell you about my beauty regime and my lifestyle. I hope you might pick up a tip or two and get some inspiration!
Use my hashtag and tag me on Instagram #beingfiftyandfab @fifty_andfab
I’d love to see what you are doing and with your permission, share some of your images.
Join my mailing list (below) for regular updates and don’t forget to look at my social media pages too..
Subscribe to receive regular blog updates by email:
I have a Just Giving page to raise funds for Dogstar Foundation and Yawajeewa Community Learning Centre in Sri Lanka - donations can be made here.