The National Trust is the caretaker for many castles, manor homes, gardens, and parks throughout the United Kingdom. Of course, just because the Trust manages a lot of locations in the country doesn’t mean it doesn’t have places to visit in Britain’s cities and especially in London. London is home to over a dozen National Trust properties from the ancient to the modern, and more than what you might expect. Sure, the Trust manages the usual green space and stately homes that they do throughout the United Kingdom, but it’s got a few that might surprise you. We’ve included ten Trust properties we think you should visit below, and if we left out one of your favorites, let us know in the comments.
Our first entry is a statehouse house in Hampstead that was built in 1693 and has been in the National Trust’s care since 1952. The interior contains the Benton Fletcher collection of early keyboard instruments, Georgian furniture, 17th Century needlework, and Oriental, European, and English porcelain. The gardens are also worth exploration, and Apple Day in late September lets visitors enjoy some of the orchard’s wonderful fruit.
Morden Hall Park
Morden Hall Park has the great benefit of being along the River Morden, adding to its beauty. It started off as a deer park attached to the estate of Morden Hall, and the river still brings plenty of wildlife for visitors to see. The remains of the park’s former life also include the snuff mills from which the park earned its income and is available to visit along with other former parts of the estate that are now learning centers.
575 Wandsworth Road
Once the home of Kenyan poet Khadambi Asalache until his death in 2006, it has since been given to the care of the National Trust that has preserved the Georgian terraced house. Asalache bought the home in disrepair and did a lot of work to fix it up, transforming the interior with African art and living there until his death in 2006. If you take one of the Trust’s guided tours of the home, you’ll need to bring socks or slippers, though you can also rent slippers so as to preserve the interior surfaces.
Ham House and Garden
This National Trust property is one of the best examples of 17th Century design you’re going to see in London. The house was constructed on the order of Sir Thomas Vavasour, but it’s really the First Duchess and Duke of Lauderdale that had the most influence on the house’s design as it is today. The gardens are worth a look as well, as they have the oldest orangery in the UK.
Strand Lane “Roman” Baths
Not so ancient as the name might lead you to believe, the “Roman” Baths on Strand Lane are actually a cistern built around 1612 to supply water to a foundation at Somerset House. The idea that they once belonged to the London’s original occupying force was a marketing gimmick in the 19th Century to draw in visitors, and the tourist trap nature of the place makes it as much of a treasure as its real original purpose.
Osterley Park House and Garden
In the middle of a park of the same name in Hounslow, Osterley Park was originally built in the 1570s but revamped in the 18th Century to serve as a place of entertainment for the Child family that resided there. In addition to the domed ceilings and gorgeous tapestries, Osterley Park is home to ever-changing exhibits and even does itself up nice for the Christmas holiday. The National Trust has been in charge of the house and the gardens since 1991.
When we talk about the Arts and Crafts Movement in Britain, we don’t mean DIY arts projects, but an architectural style that focused on traditional craftsmanship from the late-19th to early-20th Century. The movement’s founder, William Morris, designed the house that was built in 1859, and its interior features a mix of architecture from Neo-Gothic to Medieval. The Trust purchased the property in 2003 and have been running it along with an accompanying tearoom.
Claremont Landscape Garden
Claremont is one of the best examples of an English Landscape Garden in the United Kingdom. It is Grade I listed and still features the original design from when it was laid out between 1715 and 1727. Beyond the gorgeous greenery, the grass amphitheater and the Belvedere Tower are some of the notable landmarks.
2 Willow Road
Possibly the most modern entry on this list, 2 Willow Road is a National Trust property that is a set of three terrace houses in the Modernist style of Ernõ Goldfinger. Goldfinger designed the homes in 1939, and they have been in the care of the Trust since 1995, among the first Modernist buildings that the organization acquired. If the name sounds familiar, it might be because James Bond author Ian Fleming was one of the neighbors who opposed the homes’ construction and subsequently named a villain after the architect.
The George Inn is one of the oldest pubs in London and the last galleried inn in the City. In its history, the George has managed to survive where many of its contemporaries fell, and during its time as a coffee house, it was a frequent spot of author Charles Dickens. Today, it features a handsome menu and a nice selection of ales and lagers to please anyone seeking history or a nice drink.
Nick Davies says
Morden Hall is on the River Wandle. There is no River Morden.