On an uncharacteristically warm day in June I made my way to Oxted in Surrey to visit Titsey Place. This country house dates back to 16th century when it was bought by Sir John Gresham, a Lord Mayor of London and prominent merchant.
The house and estate passed through several generations of the Gresham family. When the last Gresham heiress was married, the house passed to the Leveson Gowers. The family set up the Titsey Foundation to preserve the house and garden and open them to the public.
If you want to see inside the house you need to join a guided tour. On days when the house is open, tours run at 1:30, 2:30 and 3:30pm with a maximum of 20 people. Tickets for the tours can’t be pre-booked so I recommend arriving a bit ahead of your preferred time slot to make sure you don’t miss out.
The tour of the house lasts for about an hour. The guides on my tour were very knowledgable and entertaining, explaining the history of the Gresham and Leveson Gowers families. The house has a number of paintings on display including a collection of family portraits and four paintings of Venice by Canaletto. Unfortunately you are not able to take photos inside the house.
The gardens are what attract a lot of people to Titsey Place so that was my next stop. There’s a walled kitchen garden in additional to the formal gardens with roses and herbaceous plants.
After exploring the house and garden I was in need of a refreshment so I popped into the Tea Room before my journey home. It’s a beautiful space with lots of natural light coming in through the glass ceiling. They don’t have a huge selection of food available but they did have ice cream which was very welcome on such a warm day.
- Titsey Place House and Gardens are open Wednesdays, Saturdays and bank holidays from mid May until the end of September.
- You can only enter the house by guided tours, which run at 1:30, 2:30 and 3:30pm. Tickets for guided tours are sold on a first come first served basis, you cannot pre-book.
- Admission charges for the house and gardens is £7, or you can visit just the gardens for £4.50. Historic Houses Association members can visit for free.
- Credit cards are not accepted for admission to the house or in the tearooms, so make sure you bring enough cash with you.