SOUTH COTTAGE,  SISSINGHURST – A RARE OPPORTUNITY to actually go inside South Cottage (normally closed to the public as it is the residence of one of Vita Sackville-West’s grandchildren).   The National Trust, unusually, opened it for select parties for just a few hours the other Saturday and I was lucky enough to see it, together with my American tour guests. South Cottage is one of the only surviving buildings which formed part of the Elizabethan country house (of which the Tower has also survived).  Vita’s bedroom, a double aspect room is on the top floor with amazing views over the cottage garden to the rose garden beyond.  The other aspect is over the courtyard.  Harold Nicolson’s writing room is on the ground floor and looks over the cottage garden whilst his bedroom is just below Vita’s.   Vita, of course, wrote in her Tower room – and they both went over to join their sons at the Priest’s House (also from the Elizabethan period) for meals.  These, somewhat unusual, domestic arrangements seemed to work very well for them all!

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