New year resolutions at Kent’s National Trust sites
PUBLISHED: 16:28 06 January 2020 | UPDATED: 16:28 06 January 2020
©National Trust Images/John Millar
Want to get fitter, feed your brain or start a new hobby? The National Trust can help kickstart your 2020 plans
Pull on your walking boots and get out for a post-Christmas walk. Whether you choose to stroll around the grounds of Sissinghurst Castle Garden or Scotney Castle, or ramble around Ightham Mote's wider estate, getting out for some fresh air, exercise and finding space to clear your head will do wonders for your health this winter.
Dog owners can also pick up a special 'Pooch Passport' at Chartwell, Emmetts Garden, Scotney Castle, Ightham Mote, Sissinghurst Castle Garden and the White Cliffs of Dover. Collect all six stamps before the end of February for your dog to receive a reward: www.nationaltrust.org.uk/kent-pooch-passport
Time with friends
Investing time into relationships will help you see life's lighter side and give you companions with whom you can celebrate successes, enjoy good conversation and give and receive support.
Although some National Trust houses and gardens are closed for winter, many are still open, like Sissinghurst Castle Garden. It opens every weekend in winter 11am-4pm to allow enthusiasts to look round the garden. The café is also open for lunch or a cuppa.
Feed your brain
Make 2020 the year you devote to feeding your curiosity about the world around you. Find out what life was like for the servants who lived and worked at Ightham Mote by joining a tour of the manor house's domestic areas. Tours run daily 8-20 January and 27-31 January, £5 each. Book in advance: www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/tour-a-servants-life-tickets-72664981917.
Or find out more about British wartime Prime Minster Sir Winston Churchill at Chartwell, where an exhibition is running featuring many of his personal possessions, souvenirs and gifts collected over the course of his life. Open daily, 10am until 4pm.
Start a new hobby
There are workshops, seminars and hands-on events at several properties, taking in different types of hobbies, including crafts, photography, gardening, history, baking, painting and reading.
If you fancy writing a children's story, visit Knole's exhibition about author Judith Kerr's classic, The Tiger Who Came To Tea. On until 5 January, it features illustrations and excerpts from the book, along with tiger-themed dressing up and a story corner.
Give something back
Thousands of people give their time, energy and skills to volunteer with the National Trust. There is a huge range of roles available, from supporting the rangers and countryside management teams to welcoming visitors at one of Kent's majestic country houses.
Find a full list of current volunteering opportunities at www.nationaltrust.org.uk/volunteer