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10 Historical Houses of London

  • by CavendishLondon
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One of our facebook fans recently told us he was travelling from the US to London for ten days and staying at The Cavendish London.

The main reason for his visit it to watch Swan Lake at the Royal Opera House and the remaining time is going to be dedicated to exploring historical London. As he kindly says: "England is flourished with the most extraordinary history".

Inspired by his request we have put together guides on our favourite historical churches, houses and palaces. We hope you enjoy reading them and if you can suggest any we may have missed please let us know.


1.
Apsley House is the magnificent home of the first Duke of Wellington. Inside you can see many aspects of the Duke's life including his art collection.
Entry: £6.50 adults, £3.90 children.
Tip: Among the famous works of art on view are Velázquez's celebrated 'The Waterseller of Seville' and Goya's 'Equestrian portrait of the 1st Duke of Wellington'.
Tube: Hyde Park Corner



2.
Eltham Palace is a stunning Art Deco mansion on the grounds of a former medieval royal palace. The lavish interiors reflect the glamour and allure of 1930s fashionable society.
Entry: £9.60 adults, £5.80 children.
Tip: Don't miss Virginia Courtauld's indulgent gold-plated bathroom.
Tube: Eltham and Mottingham (1/2 mile away) then bus 126 or 161


3. Fenton House in Hampstead Village is one of London's most enchanting country houses. The exhibits include European, Oriental and English porcelain, 17th-century needlework and Georgian furniture.
Entry: £6.50 adults, £3 children.
Tip: Listen to international musicians play classical works on the Benton Fletcher collection of early keyboards throughout the week. You can even have a go yourself.
Tube: Hampstead Heath (1 mile away) then local bus


4.
Ham House is Europe's most complete surviving 17th-century mansion. Its imposing exterior conceals centuries of Royal and political secrets. Countless ghostly sightings make this house all the more mysterious!
Entry: £9.90 adults, £5.50 children.
Tip: Don't miss the extravagant Ice House or the dairy with its cattle-themed furniture.
Tube: Richmond (1½ miles away by footpath or 1 mile by taxi)


5.
Kenwood House is a magnificent stately home in Hampstead and contains masterpieces by the likes of Rembrandt, Turner and Gainsborough.
Entry: Free, donations welcomed.
Tip: Don't go before Autumn 2013 - it is closed for refurbishment.
Tube: Archway and Golders Green, then 210 bus

 

  6. Leighton House is the former studio-house of the great Victorian artist Frederic, Lord Leighton. Inside you can see a permanent exhibition of Victorian paintings, drawings and sculpture.
Entry: £5 adults, £3 children (valid for free return within 12 months).
Tip: The Arab Hall of 1877 is a striking celebration of the Middle East in London, lined with hundreds of sixteenth and seventeenth century tiles from Damascus and Syria and inlaid with Egyptian woodwork.
Tube: High Street Kensington, Olympia or Holland Park



7.
Osterley Park and House is a spectacular mansion surrounded by parks and farmland and is one of the last surviving country estates in London.
Entry: £8.70 adults, £4.35 children.
Tip: Go to the gift shop where they sell locally produced good such as pottery and jams made exclusively for Osterley.
Tube: Osterley (1 mile away) then local bus




8.
The Red House is full of William Morris decorative arts and is the perfect place for craft lovers If the weather's good, you can head into the gorgeous gardens to pick up even more ideas.
Entry: £7.20 adults, £3.60 children.
Tip: When it was completed in 1860, it was described by Edward Burne-Jones as 'the beautifullest place on earth'.
Tube: Bexleyheath rail (¾ mile away) then local bus




9.
Spencer House was built in 1756-66 for John, first Earl Spencer (an ancestor of Diana, Princess of Wales) and is London's finest surviving 18th-century private palace.
Entry: £12 adults, £10 children.
Tip: Only open on Sundays so plan your trips around this.
Tube: Green Park




10.
Sutton House was built in 1535 by Henry VIII's Secretary of State, Sir Ralph Sadleir, Sutton House retains much of the atmosphere of a Tudor home despite some more modern alterations.
Entry: £3 adults,  £1 children.
Tip: There are regular free tours, contact them in advance for details
Tube: Bethnal Green then local bus
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