Nikwax’s Pick of National Trust Destinations

As Europe’s largest conservation charity, the National Trust looks after nature, beauty, and history, preserving it for everyone to enjoy. Whether you enjoy walking in the countryside, learning about historic buildings or simply taking in the splendour of nature, the National Trust has something for everyone – including Nikwax staff!
We canvassed our UK team to pull together Nikwax’s top 5 National Trust destinations, local to our HQ in
East Sussex and further afield…

 

Castle Drogo, Devon
“Castle Drogo differs from many National Trust properties in that it is a 20th Century house made to look like a castle. Designed and built by Edward Lutyens as a home for the Drewe family, it is inspired by the rugged Dartmoor tors that surround it and is full of clever design features that would have been the height of luxury back in the day. The main draw for me is I can actually see myself living there – the castle has its own hydroelectric supply and there are literally hundreds of plug sockets dotted around the place as well as a unique heating system. Brilliant! The castle’s gardens are colourful in all seasons and there are dozens of fantastic walks crisscrossing the ancient Teign Gorge.”
Richard Portman Smith, Global Retail Marketing Manager

Birling Gap and the Seven Sisters, East Sussex
“If big skies and coastal landscapes are your thing, Birling Gap is a must-visit! The beach here, reached by steps, is set at the base of the chalky Seven Sisters cliffs and the views cannot be bettered – they are just as spectacular from the bottom as from the top. I regularly enjoy a fabulous circular walk from nearby East Dean (where I leave my car) that takes me up a hill and across rolling fields to Birling Gap. It is a popular and relatively gentle hike but with plenty of room to lose other walkers and I’ve been enjoying it for years. Top tip: finish off with a pint in the Tiger Inn – a charming 15th Century pub, just a short walk from the cliffs.“
Jennifer Fowler, Group Product Information Manager

Red House, Bexleyheath, London
“Red House is simply wonderful, being commissioned, created and lived in by William Morris (the celebrated Arts & Crafts movement founder). It is a house that boasts not only extraordinary architecture, but it is also socially significant. Red House has original features and furniture by both William Morris and Philip Webb and I love the way that most of the ceilings have painted patterns on them – the house is filled to the brim with delights and colours. Patterns and hues extend to the garden too, which is a compact yet perfectly formed haven bursting with flowers and plants (for me, the small outdoors can be just as uplifting as the great outdoors!). An absolutely fascinating house and garden.”
Megan Stanford, Marketing Coordinator

 

A La Ronde, Devon
“A La Ronde is delightfully different! Although small, it is beautiful, elegant, and very unusual. It is a sixteen-sided house that has a magical and childlike charm. It was built for two unmarried cousins, Jane and Mary Parminter, on their return from a tour of Europe in the late 18th century. There are an abundance of treasures and souvenirs to discover in a huge floor-to-ceiling cabinet of curiosity, alongside several paintings and prints which act as mementos of their travels. Be sure to look out for the ‘speaking tubes’ and concealed dumbwaiter on the upper floor. Each room feels very intimate and reveals more and more about these unusual ladies’ lives. Outside, there is an orchard, hay meadow and colourful borders, finished off with stunning views over the Exe Estuary.” 
Claire Berry, Director of Human Resources

Bateman’s, Kent
“I absolutely love Bateman’s near Burwash in Kent. Bateman’s is a 17th century Jacobean house and was the home of the famous author Rudyard Kipling. The rooms remain much as he left them, with oak furniture, Persian rugs and artefacts reflecting his strong association with India. Bateman’s is very much a family home that feels as though the Kiplings have just gone out for the day. In addition to wandering around the house and learning about its famous owner, you can wander around the beautiful gardens, walk around 300 acres of estate, or visit close-by Park Mill which has been recently restored.”
Thomas Redfern, Creative Director

Aira Force, Cumbria
To me, the Lake District is a magical place to visit, with such majestic scenery all around that you are simply spoilt for choice of where to visit! When you think National Trust, you often just think of properties. However, the National Trust also covers many wonderful outdoor places and Aira Force waterfall is one of them. At any given opportunity I love to visit waterfalls – there aren’t many here down south to be honest. They are a photographer’s dream and differ throughout the year, depending upon rainfall levels and whether you are visiting them on a bright sunny morning, or a cloudy autumn afternoon. When a waterfall is in full force the noise is so powerful – it makes you truly marvel at the beauty of the natural world. Aira Force is on a trail of approx. 2.1 km – you can park at the National Trust carpark – and is ok for most activity skill levels, although in wetter months you should take the steps with care as they can be slippery. When visiting a National Trust location such as this, it is best to be prepared and have at least a light mac in your bag – after all, it is situated in the Lake District and there wouldn’t be any lakes without rain!”
Kim Paterson, Executive Assistant

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