London's Best Historic Houses, Palaces and Stately Homes

Leave modern London behind with a visit to one of the city's historic houses.

Visit one of London's historic houses and learn about the people who lived there; view art and antiques; find out about historic interiors and design; or get inspiration from their exquisite gardens and grounds.

Apsley House

The magnificent home of the first Duke of Wellington, Apsley House is known as Number 1 London. Inside you can see many aspects of the duke's life, including his art collection. Works by Velazquez, Rubens, Van Dyck and Goya hang throughout the first floor, alongside porcelain, silver, sculpture, furniture and stunning interiors.

Dr Johnson's House

Visit the 300-year-old townhouse where writer Samuel Johnson compiled his ambitious Dictionary of the English Language. The building boasts many original features, plus fascinating artefacts relating to Johnson, including manuscripts written in his own hand, portraits of Johnson and his contemporaries, and even the writer's walking stick.

Eltham Palace

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. You can also wander around 19 acres of beautiful gardens and medieval features, including London's oldest working bridge over the moat.

Fenton House

Fenton House in Hampstead Village is one of London's most enchanting country houses. Exhibits include European, Oriental and English porcelain, 17th century needlework and Georgian furniture. Music lovers should check out the collection of early keyboard instruments. Plus there's an orchard and a working kitchen garden.

Ham House

Situated on the bank of the Thames in Richmond, 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! The fine interiors and historic gardens make Ham a great place to visit.

Kenwood House

Kenwood House is a magnificent stately home in Hampstead. It featured in the romantic comedy Notting Hill. The interiors, designed by Robert Adam, are beautifully restored and contain masterpieces by the likes of Rembrandt, Turner and Gainsborough. In summer, you can see live music concerts in the grounds.

Leighton House Museum

Leighton House is the former studio-house of the great Victorian artist Frederic, Lord Leighton. Inside you can see extraordinary period interiors including the Arab Hall, and a permanent exhibition of Victorian paintings, drawings and sculpture by Leighton, Burne-Jones, Millais, Stevens and Alma-Tadema.

Mansion House

The official residence of the Lord Mayor of London, the Palladian-style Mansion House was built in the 18th Century and has served many purposes over the years, including a court (the cellar once held prisoners' cells). 'In-house' guides conduct regular tours around the house and its magnificent collections of plates and art.

Osterley House

A spectacular mansion surrounded by parks and farmland, Osterley is one of the last surviving country estates in London. Originally built in 1575, it was transformed by Robert Adam into an elegant 18th century neo-classical villa. Explore the stunning interiors with an audio-visual guide, then enjoy a stroll in the huge grounds.

Red House

You'll recognise the signature style of designer craftsman William Morris as soon as you step through the door. Red House in London is full of his decorative arts and is the perfect place for craft lovers to channel some inspiration. If the weather's good, you can head into the gorgeous gardens to pick up even more ideas.

Spencer House

Built in 1756-66 for John, first Earl Spencer (an ancestor of Diana, Princess of Wales), Spencer House is London's finest surviving 18th century private palace. Inside, you'll find eight meticulously restored rooms furnished with antique and neo-classical furniture, paintings by Reynolds and other objects of art. 

Sutton House

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. The oak-panelling, painted staircases and original carved fireplaces have been restored, and the house incorporates an arts and education centre for East London.

William Morris Gallery

The William Morris Gallery is a public gallery devoted to the life and work of William Morris. Morris, a designer, craftsman, writer, conservationist and socialist was one of the founders of the arts and crafts movement in Victorian Britain. The grade II listed building was Morris's family home from 1848 to 1856.

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