Reviewed by Kirstie Fruen
Bateman’s is the former home of Rudyard Kipling and is simply stunning!
Myself, my 4 children (girls aged 13 and 4, Boys aged 3 and 2) visited this wonderful 17th century house surrounded by the wooded landscape of the Sussex Weald, on Tuesday after the Easter bank holiday.
As we entered the property after passing the ticket office, we were greeted by a beautifully manicured orchard and vegetable plot, the smell of herbs in the air from the dedicated herb border and beautiful grape vines.
We started our tour of Bateman’s with the house.
Greeted by a member of staff at the door, we were handed two maps. An adult one for more detailed information about the property and a children’s map for the 4 children. These maps and information were perfect for detailing each room of the property and giving an insight into what would have happened in each room of the house when the Kipling’s lived here.
I was most impressed with the children’s map, things to spot, questions to think about “what do you think the wall paper is made from?”, “would you have this wallpaper in your bedroom?”, “can you see the picture of the Koala Bear Bird above the door?”, care had obviously been taken when designing this and it kept my children interested during the tour – for a while anyway!
As we walked around the house, in most rooms we were greeted by incredibly helpful, polite and above all knowledgeable National Trust staff (paid or just volunteers they were obviously very well educated and passionate about the Kipling’s and their lives at Bateman’s).
The rooms in this house according to the National Trust website, remain much as Rudyard left them, as if he had just popped out for the day. I would say, having visited each room, a very accurate description.
We ventured outside – via the shop, a very well thought out place to put it, everyone has to walk through here on exiting the house. Although I managed to walk through unscathed and purse firmly in bag, I did notice there was a wide range of items available to buy and a lot of things I haven’t seen on sale elsewhere. I particularly like that you can buy some of the beautiful plants that are planted in the gardens here too.
We had bought with us a picnic and decided rather than the picnic spot (a designated field outside of the Bateman’s house and the opposite side of the carpark) that we would walk down to the Mill and try our luck there.
Beautiful meadow fields (purpose planted I would say) and a wonderful stream/river flowing through made the walk to the mill peaceful despite the crowds on such a hot day. Before we ate our lunch though, we visited the mill.
The mill, although not working currently (a sign asking for £100,000 donations to get it up and running was on display but no real sense of where to put a donation) was full of all the mill workings.
There was even a smaller version of the mill set up for the children so that they could try their hand at milling their own flour (clearly noted I might add, with a sign saying “not for public consumption”). Lacking a member of the knowledgeable team the house boasted it was a brief trip, but still an enjoyable one.
We found a field for our picnic, and shared with some rather friendly chickens. Not something we expected to see but the children loved them!
As we bought with us a picnic I cannot comment on the café, although it was full so I imagine it to be a popular offering.
We left not long after this as we were a little disappointed that the outdoor games for the children were not out (there were some dominoes on the tables outside the house) and my children were bored, but the website does say in summer and I guess we aren’t quite there yet!
Although we didn’t get the full day out I had planned, partly due to the ages of my children, we did have a lovely time. And when they are older, we will be back to do the 1-2 mile walks on offer, to see the house in a not so fleeting visit and to enjoy the beautifully maintained gardens again. If your children are older, have seen “the Jungle Book” and enjoy the outdoors, this is definitely for you – but even if they aren’t, it’s a beautiful location for a picnic!
Tickets cost (with Gift Aid) £5.25 child, £10.50 adult and £26 family.
For more information visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/batemans.
Bateman’s, Bateman’s Lane, Burwash, East Sussex, TN19 7DS | 01435 882302