Sunday, 22 June 2014

A quick visit to Standen house and gardens

I enjoyed a quick visit to Standen, which is probably my favourite National Trust property. The house is decorated and furnished in a beautiful Arts and Crafts style, and the garden is simple, elegant and colourful.

Another good reason to visit are their cheese and herb scones. I've been before, and they are great.

I hadn't planned to go to Standen; I had been intending to visit Wakehurst Place, nearby. However, I can definitely say I won't be going back to Wakehurst Place, and I encourage other National Trust members (I am a proud life member) to do the same:

Wakehurst is leased from the National Trust to Kew. It is evident that Kew are pretty annoyed about the fact that they don't get any entrance ticket revenue from National Trust members (80% of their visitors, apparently), who get free admission. Therefore, Kew have decided to impose a £10 car parking fee which is effectively ONLY applicable to National Trust members. They have done this with a policy whereby people who buy a £12.50 day ticket to the property get their parking costs nullified. National Trust members however don't get their parking refunded, effectively making the cost of admission £10.

I arrived on a motorbike. I went straight around the car park barriers and found a piece of unused ground (not a car parking space) to park the bike. However, I was then informed at the ticket desk that "everybody pays to park - no exceptions". Not only is the whole parking policy utterly disgraceful for National Trust members, but with the exception of Westminster, I can't think of any other place in the country that charges motorcycles a parking fee.

Anyway. I went through the main entrance, realised I was so disgusted at the policy on general principal - because I could just avoid the barriers and so therefore it didn't in practice apply to me - that I turned around and left and went to the lovely Standen.

So to all National Trust members: forget Wakehurst. Visit Standen if you're in the area. Or Nymans. Both are great.

To Kew: you're low. Change the policy. Or give up the lease and let the NT run it as an NT property.

And also to Kew: RHS gardens are better. RHS Wisley is far more impressive than Kew gardens. (So given this, I probably didn't miss much.)