Situated on the banks of the River Thames, Ham House and Garden is a wonderful example of 17th century splendour, rich in history and atmosphere. The main building is also reputedly one of the most haunted houses in Britain and is closely associated with politics and court intrigue. Created by the charismatic Duchess of Lauderdale, who was embroiled in the behind the scenes machinations of the English Civil War and the subsequent restoration of the monarchy, Ham House is a handsome reflection of wealth and power with lavish interiors, unique historical features and restored, formal gardens with famous lavender parterres and its maze-like wilderness. Lavish interiors are laden with a treasure trove of important, indigenous collections of textiles, furniture and paintings. Meanwhile the intriguing outbuildings include a dairy with unusual cast-iron cows' legs, an ice house and the earliest known purpose-built still house (or pharmacy). If the wealth of history simply becomes too much, relax in style at the on-site cafe in the style of a 17th century traditional kitchen garden. During the summer, the gardens host open-air theatre theatre productions. The property's car park is currently closed for refurbishment. Considering the very limited free parking in nearby streets, visitors are strongly advised to use public transport.