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Travel: Kenwood House In London

stevecadman
Foter / CC BY-SA / Maria Jakobson

A walk to Kenwood House is the perfect Sunday walk for me. I enjoy the peace and serenity of a stroll through the grassy open spaces of Hamstead Heath. The rambling hills seem to beckon for me to ramble along with them until I reach the stately home of Kenwood House.

The shining ponds and ancient woods lend themselves to tranquil thoughts, easing the stresses of the past week. I am rejuvenated by the view of the capital’s skyline from Parliament Hill. As I glance across the panorama, I can see the dome of St. Paul’s Cathedral surrounded by the spires of Wren’s City churches. I am reminded of the strength of our ancestors in this beautiful city. I am ready to undertake another busy week. Yes, a walk to Hamstead Heath is the perfect Sunday walk for me.

Kenwood House is a Glimpse into London’s Past

Wandering through the grand rooms of this beautiful mansion transcends me back in time to the 18th century. The high ceilings, tall windows and ornate chandeliers stir the imagination. I imagine the host and his guests toasting one another with the splendid backdrop of the landscape as seen from the south wall of the orangery. I gaze about the dining room and marvel at the magnificent furnishings and the fine classic art collection on the walls. I step out onto the lovely flower garden that adjoins the west wing and dream of the noble first occupants of Kenwood House.

The scenery rejuvenates me, the interior stimulates my imagination, and the weekends include activities my whole family enjoys.

History of Kenwood House

I have learned that the original Kenwood House dates back to the 17th century. It was about 1700 when the orangery was added. The equivalent of a modern-day greenhouse, an orangery is an idea born in the Renaissance gardens of Italy. The name suggests a place where citrus trees were grown.

The stately house was bought by William Murray, the first Earl of Mansfield in 1754. It was remodeled between the years of 1764 and 1769 when the library and the entrance portico was added. Between 1793 and 1796, two wings were added to the mansion’s north side, office, kitchens and brewery. The old brewery is now a trendy restaurant. A dairy was added to supply the household with fresh milk and cheese.

The house was donated to the public in 1928 by Lord Iveagh, a member of the Guinness family. By the late 1990s, the house received about 150,000 visitors a year. I think it is an amazing mansion to tour for no admission fee.

Something for Everyone at Kenwood House and Grounds

I learned that even more visitors visit the lovely grounds of Kenwood House each year. The large wooded parkland, lake and kitchen garden is perfect for outdoor activities. I can walk around the grounds of Kenwood and enjoy the freedom of open spaces away from the city. I love to stroll around and watch visitors enjoying picnics and pedestrians walking their dogs. It is such a happy place, with kids enjoying the playground and flying kites.

I also like to browse the two shops on the premises of Kenwood. The Brewery House Cafe is a great place for a Sunday Brunch. Every weekend at Kenwood House brings fun activities that me and my entire family can take part in and enjoy.

The next time you are in London, make sure you stop in and visit.

Author:  Maria Jakobson is a travel writer and journalist that grew up in London and now lives in the Netherlands. When she is staying in London, she stays at the Lancaster London (lancasterlondon.com) because it lets her reach many of the cities attractions by foot. When Maria is not travel blogging online she’s reading about the history of cities she has had the pleasure of living in.

 

 

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