After five years living in London, I finally paid a visit to Strawberry Hill House. I’ve know about this place for quite a while but had been waiting until I got my Historic Houses Association membership before visiting, as this gives you free admission to the house.
Strawberry Hill House was created in the 18th century by Horace Walpole, the son of Britain’s first Prime Minister. It started out as a small cottage on 5 acres of land before Horace rebuilt it in a Gothic style and expanded the property to 46 acres.
Inside he created elaborate decorations to house his vast collection of treasures. Sadly, many of his belongings were sold by subsequent owners of Strawberry Hill in the 19th century so they’re no longer on display in the house.
The house is still a joy to explore and the Strawberry Hill Trust have done a remarkable job in restoring the property, which opened to the public in 2010.
But the house was still a tourist attraction during Horace’s lifetime. He allowed four visitors a day to the house (but no children), letting his house-keeper show them around while he retreated to his cottage on the grounds.
The most impressive room in the house is saved for last. The Gallery was Horace’s main room for entertaining guests and was used to to show off his most prized paintings.
- Strawberry Hill House is usually open during the spring and summer months. Check their website for up-to-date information. The gardens are open 10am-6pm every day of the year apart from Christmas.
- Adult admission to the house is £12.50. National Trust and Art Fund members get a 50% discount on the adult ticket price and English Heritage members get 2 for 1 on adult tickets. Historic Houses Association members get free entry.
- Regular trains run from Waterloo to Strawberry Hill station. The house is about a 5 minute walk from the station.
- There’s only a small car park on-site and nearby street parking is permit-controlled so it’s recommended to take public transport. If you do have to drive I’d advise getting there early to get a space in the car park.