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Mr Kiplings place!
Bateman's (East Sussex, England)
Member Name: anwar7
Bateman's (East Sussex, England)
Advantages: see review
Disadvantages: see review
Bateman's is situated ½ a mile from the small village of Burwash in East Sussex. We traveled by car and found the house was well sign posted from miles away. I'm not going to spend time giving you detailed directions as you can simply use a sat nav or AA route finder. However Bateman's is just off the A265 to the west of Burwash.
It is possible to get here using public transport. There is a railway station at Etchingham 3 miles from Bateman's. From the station there is a renown coach no 318 that stops at Burwash. From the bus stop it is a 14 minute walk to Batemans
There is also a cycle route leading to Batemans. There is plenty of free parking with disabled parking bays next to the entrance.
Admission and opening times.
We are members of the National Trust so entry to the house and gardens was free. However for others it will cost-
Adults- £7.10 and £3.55 for a child. A family ticket costs £19.60.
The house is open from March until 1st of November from 11 am until 5pm. The house is closed on Thursdays and Fridays.
The garden and tearoom has different opening times and is free to visit during November. For a full list of opening times I suggest you visit the National Trust website.
Before I tell you about the house and gardens I should mention that there are toilets situated next to the pay kiosk. The toilets were clean and well maintained with baby changing facilities. There is a separate toilet for those with disabilities. If you have mobility problems then there is a map available showing which paths are suitable for wheelchair or pushchair use.
As soon as you pass through the entrance gate you will become aware of the beautiful gardens surrounding you. When we were there in August, the garden was a riot of colours. Many of the plants and herbs are labeled if you are interested. It is a short walk to the house on a fairly even path.
The house is a fairly small Jacobean affair and looks what I would describe as romantic! Before I tell you about the house let me tell you a bit about its most famous occupant.
Rudyard Kipling purchased Batemans with his American born wife Carrie, in 1902. He paid £9,300 for the house, mill and 33 acres.
Rudyard Kipling was born in 1865 in Bombay, India. He was the child of upper class parents and as was the norm, was sent to live in England with Foster parents when he was just 6 years old. The Jungle book stories were influenced by Kipling's early life in India.
In 1878 Kipling entered an expensive military training college in Devon. However poor eyesight and results soon ended any thoughts of a military career. Kipling returned to India in 1882 where he worked as a journalist. A few years later his short stories had become very successful.
Kipling returned to England and married an American, Caroline Balestier in 1892. The couple then moved to America where their daughter Josephine was born in 1892, followed by Elsie in 1896 and John in 1897.
After a row with Carries brother the Kipling's returned to England where they purchased Batemans in 1902. Batemans remained the Kipling family home for over 30 years. Rudyard Kipling knew much sadness in his life and this no doubt influenced his books and poems. His daughter Josephine died from Pneumonia when she was just 6 years old and his only Son John was killed in the First World War during his first few weeks in action.
Above the entrance of the house is the date 1634. The house was first lived in by an Iron dealer John Briteen.Once inside there are several rooms to visit. To your left is a small parlour with a large oak table. There are lots of interesting papers with stories about Rudyard Kipling to read. For those who are unable to manage the stairs there is an interactive computer that will give you virtual tour of the house.
I was interested to see the room that Carrie used to use for her own writing. Her original type writer is still in place. The downstairs rooms are all furnished as they were when Kipling was living here. There are several beautiful oriental rugs and tapestries collected by Kipling on his travels.
The rooms upstairs, for me, were the most interesting and gave me a real insight into the private life of Rudyard Kipling. I loved the beautiful oak staircase! The room where Kipling used to write is as he left it. There is his desk and chair and many small personal items to see. I was interested to learn that as Kipling was a very short man he used to use blocks to put under his chair so he could reach his desk! There is another room full of display cases containing family photos. My children were fascinated by the original Jungle book sketches.
The library has hundreds of books lining the walls. I was fascinated to see Kipling's bedroom again with lots of personal effects. The bedroom used by his daughter Josephine is still decorated as it would have been with children's toys and dolls on view. There were very helpful National Trust guides in each room who were very knowledgeable and happy to answer questions.
Opposite the entrance to the house is the garage housing Kipling's Rolls Royce. The car is contained behind glass so you can't get to close and personal! The Phantom 1 Rolls Royce is owned by Sir Jack Hayward but is on permanent loan to the National Trust. For those who are interested ,there is a notice board in the garage with lots of information about the car.
As I have said we visited in the summer when the gardens were in full bloom. There are several gravel paths to explore and after spending time in the house my children were ready to get outside into the sunshine! The gardens are fairly extensive and we spent a few hours exploring. The gardens lead right down to the river Dudwell.We were amazed at the number of butterflies we spotted. There is also a large pond in the middle of the lawn well stocked with fish. There are great views over the Sussex countryside to enjoy.
Other things to do.
There are often activities on offer for children. When we visited there was face painting, mask making and story telling on offer. The face painting and mask making cost £5 per child. There was also a quiz with a prize for each correct entry, presented at the end of your day. There were Jungle book stories told on the lawn. The story telling was excellent and got all the children listening to interact, even the parents were spell bound!
Situated at the bottom of the garden is the water powered mill that dates from 1750. It was originally used to grind corn but Kipling had it de-commissioned within weeks of moving in. He replaced it with a water powered electricity generator enabling his house to have electricity. The mill was restored from 1968-1975 to its original corn grinding condition. To-day flour is ground and there is a small display explaining how it works.
The shop is situated next to the house in the original oast house, in what was once the servant's quarters. There is a step down into the shop. Although small the shop is well stocked with the usual National Trust merchandise in addition to Kipling related merchandise. Although not cheap, the items on sale were of good quality.
When we go out for the day we normally take a picnic as it is not only a lot cheaper but I like to know what we are eating! However, for a treat, we decided we would eat in the café. The Batemans café is called the Mulberry tea rooms and is conveniently situated close to the house. There are tables inside as well as a few tables outside.
I have always found National Trust tearooms to be expensive but the food has always been of good quality. However Batemans was a very different story! When we arrived there were only a few families eating so I expected the service to be fairly quick. My children both ordered a children's meal. All the adults opted for a cheese plowman's. The food was very expensive as expected. Having given our order we went outside to bag a table. As it was a hot day I went inside to find some water. I was pointed to the water chiller and given a jug. The water chiller was empty so I asked if we could have a jug of water. This seemed to create a problem and I was told it would be brought out to me with our food. After waiting for over ½ an hour I again went inside to see what the problem was. I was given the water but told the food wasn't ready!
When it did eventually arrive I was very disappointed. ThePlowmans consisted of a small stale roll with some chutney and a piece of cheddar. There was also some tired looking salad. I can't remember exactly how much we paid but I think it was around £8 each! The children's meals were equally disappointing and cold as well. I did complain but the staff were unhelpful. They did offer to reheat my children's meals but we decided to cut our losses and leave! Next time we will be bringing a pic nic! However if you do want to eat here then you find sandwiches, cakes and light lunches on offer.
There are additional toilets situated near to the tearooms. Again these were clean and well maintained with baby changing facilities.
Dogs are only allowed in the car park and they must be on a lead. There is a dog crèche available although I have no idea how this works or the cost!
Batemans is a great day out for all the family and we all really enjoyed ourselves despite the lunch experience!
Summary: The home of Rudyard Kipling
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