If you’re hoping to experience British history and culture first hand, there is no better way to do so, and to learn more about the families that helped to make London the city that it is today, that to visit one of the many stately homes that surround the capital. A stately home refers to a large house that was once owned and lived in by an aristocratic family, but many are now open to the public. There are a number of stately homes in and around London and they offer an impressive insight into the history, lifestyle and culture of the city’s elite throughout the years.
Ham House is situated beside the River Thames, close to Richmond. The house and grounds used to be owned by James I and it has long been passed down the line through wealthy families, Earls and Countesses. In 1948 the house and grounds were donated to the National Trust and it is now open year round to visitors. Very little has changed since Ham House was built in the early 1600s and the Grade I listed building has become a popular site for history lovers and tourists; it really shows off the architecture and style of the 17th Century.
Osterley House was once one of the main properties for aristocratic families who wanted to escape the hustle and bustle of city life. It used to be surrounded by rolling countryside but as London has expanded, this view has changed. While some of the greenery has given way to urban expansion, Osterley Park still remains to be one of the largest open spaces in London. Like many of the stately homes in London, Osterley House is a popular destination for day trippers and offers beautiful, manicured grounds and period pieces for those who make the excursion.
Syon House is one of the few stately homes in London that is still a permanent residence. It is current the official of the Duke of Northumberland and his family. Syon House is the proud owner of an impressive art collection, while the many beautifully decorated rooms are a sight to see, especially for those who are interested in the finer things in life. The interiors are what make Syon House different from the other stately homes in the area and there is a real feel of personality and glamour throughout. As well as the house, Syon Park and The Great Observatory are open to the public.
The Queen’s House
The Queen’s House is a unique stately home in London. At the time of building - it was built in 1616 for James I and Anne of Denmark - the property offered a new style of architecture which put it on the map as an impressive royal home. The Queen’s House is now part of the National Maritime Museum and holds a collection of art, including famous marine paintings and the largest collection of British portraits outside of London’s National Portrait Gallery. As far as British history goes, The Queen’s House provides something a little bit different.