I tend not to explore much of my local area in East London, generally preferring to head west toward the centre of London. So I was quite surprised to discover a couple of historic houses in Bexley, just a 20 minute drive from home.
Hall Place is a Tudor house which dates back to around 1540. We found the staff working at the house to be very friendly and welcoming and more than happy to show us around and give us a brief overview of the history of Hall Place.
It was quite overcast when we arrived but thankfully the clouds had started to part by the time we finished touring the house so we set out to explore the vast gardens outside and enjoy a slice of cake at the riverside cafe.
We also stumbled across Jambs Owls who are set up at Hall Place on weekends. Here we got to meet a variety of captive owls and even hold a few.
There’s also a farmer’s market held on the first Sunday of every month and a butterfly enclosure which is open most days.
Only a short drive from Hall Place is Danson House. This Georgian mansion was so pretty inside! There’s a small Vivienne Westwood exhibition open currently on the top floor which features some quite unusual pieces, some on loan from the V&A; museum and others from private collections.
We visited the tea room on the ground floor hoping to enjoy some tea and scones in the sunshine. Unfortunately the service was a bit disappointing - they brought out our tea but completely forgot to provide the accompanying scones. Most of the staff were busy inside so it was impossible to flag anyone down and remind them. We gave up after about half an hour and went inside to pay the bill, where they still wanted to charge us for the scones we never received. Thankfully the manager was more reasonable and removed them from the bill. I read some negative reviews about the tea room on TripAdvisor as well so it would seem our experience was not a one-off, which is a shame as it’s such a nice setting.
If you do skip the tea room, there’s plenty of green space surrounding the house so its the perfect spot for a nice picnic.
Admission to Hall Place and Danson House are each £8. Admission is free for both with a National Art Pass. National Trust members get half price admission at both properties, while English Heritage members get half price admission at Danson House.
Have you visited Hall Place or Danson House? What other historic houses have you visited around London?