My interest in London houses seems to be growing month by month. It could be down to my age as I’m definitely at the stage where it feels like everyone is buying houses right now, my Pinterest addiction for collating beautiful homes I will one day attempt to model my own on, or the fact that they feel like London’s little gems and I’m starting to find them more fascinating. Of course it could also be the combined effect!
My bricks and mortar addiction most recently drew me to the Queen’s House on the border on Greenwich Park. Somewhere I’d previously completely overlooked whilst I was too busy seeking out THAT panoramic view, exploring the Flower Garden or spotting deer.
It was built almost 400 years ago, by commission of the Royal family for the purpose of providing a place of private retreat and hospitality. From my experience of watching and reading endless period dramas, it was easy to imagine pulling up by horse and carriage for a party at this beautiful place.
Climbing the stone staircases in a glorious gown.
And dancing the night away in the Great Hall.
But it had other purposes later in the building’s lifetime as it was given to the Royal Naval Asylum charity in the 19th century, which saw it used as dormitories, classrooms and other facilities.
Now it serves as a lovely link to the past.
The painted ceiling of the Queen’s chamber serves as a reminder of the Italian influence of art.
The maze of other rooms seek to reflect the decor back in the day, or host exhibitions which tell the tale of Britain at sea or in the throes of war.
But I have to admit I was mostly absorbed in the building and its views. There was something surreal about seeing the tourists lined up alongside the Royal Observatory like London’s very own paparazzi from a quiet corridor. It made me think just how much we all love to snap the sights of the city.
It was the first geometric self-supporting staircase in Britain and it’s quite mesmerising to look at from the bottom.
It’s a perfect match to the nearby symmetrical corridor.
A stunning example of one of London’s lovely houses.
Sadly, you’ll need to forgive me for sharing something so pretty to tell you that it’s now closed until 2016 whilst they refurbish the building for its 400th birthday!
But… There are SO many more houses to explore in London and staircases to marvel at! So far I’ve seen or heard of – Apsley House, Kenwood House, Leighton House and Strawberry Hill House. The National Trust have a few houses and unusual buildings in London listed here. If you just need a lovely staircase, so far I’ve been to Heal’s and read about this stunning staircase at Somerset House.
There’s also Open House London coming up, where 100s of buildings and houses are open to the public. It takes place on 19 and 20 September this year. I’ve never attended before and I’m thinking this year should be the year!
Do you love lusting after London’s houses? Have you found any hidden gems?