For a very long time I have wanted to visit Penshurst Place, the ancestral home of the Sidney family, and finally last month I managed to get there, along with my photo buddy Sheila, who did a grand job of driving us there, with a little bit of help from her sat. nav!
We arrived at Penshurst about 1pm on a beautiful August day, and chose to look round the house first. Penshurst Place is the family home of the De Lisle family, and the oldest part of the building is the Barons Hall which is Medieval, and is the first room you enter in the house. The Hall is magnificent with a wonderful Medieval beamed ceiling and an amazing octagonal central fire hearth, where a fire is still lit at times. I have never seen a central hearth anywhere before, it is easy to imagine the smoke rising from the fire and escaping through a vent in the ceiling. The vent is no longer there, but all round the walls at the base of the ceiling are a number of carved wooden figures, life size, but all having had their legs cut off below the knees at some time. The guide told us that the legs may have been cut off with maybe the intention of making a lower ceiling, which fortunately never happened!
We continued with our tour of the house, all the rooms are just amazing, from the Solar (or State Dining Room) with its squint hole, where people down in the Baron’s Hall can be viewed in secret, through to the Long Gallery, with its bleached oak panelled walls. There are many wonderful paintings, tapestries and furniture in the house, and we spent some time looking through each room.
The Barons Hall is the building with the orange roof.
After leaving the house we headed towards the formal gardens at the front of the building, which is where most of the photos were taken, as you can see the whole building is just really beautiful. By this time we were in need of a cup of tea, so we made our way to the Restaurant and enjoyed our cup of tea and piece of cake under the shade of a large tree. It was so lovely there that we sat there for rather a long time, just putting the world to rights!
Tea time, a lovely place to enjoy a cuppa
No photography was allowed in the house, but there are photos to be found on the internet if you would like to see some interior views of the house.
As usual I have taken too many photos, so I will do a second blog sharing some photos of the gardens and grounds. The photos are all ready so I will try to get the next blog up over the next couple of days.