May 29, 2014

Time Travel: Kenwood House

Something I didn't mention in my last post about Dido Elizabeth Belle was the house she lived in for nearly thirty years as a ward of the 1st Earl of Manchester, Kenwood House! This gorgeous mansion is located in Hampstead Heath in London and I had the opportunity to visit while I was there studying abroad in 2012!

While in London, I tried to soak up as much of the city as possible, mostly by haunting the museums until closing time. It is impossible to see all of London in one visit, even if like me your visit is five months long! Londonium is a very big town indeed! I wanted to visit as many English Heritage properties accessible easily from London as I could while in town, and low and behold I discovered Kenwood was only just up the road from my dorm building! A twenty minute buss ride later and I was at the gates of Hampstead Heath and Kenwood House. I couldn't believe I had been so close for months to Hampstead Heath and hadn't realized!

The park is sprawling and very much a Jane Austen worthy landscape where one expects to run into Emma Woodhouse or Mr Darcy any minute. I was blown away by Kenwood, mostly because I couldn't believe I had waited so long to go and visit when, if I had know how beautiful it truly was, I would have gone all the time! Visiting the house is free and the 18th century interiors (and remarkable artworks they house) are a wonder to behold. I was there the Saturday before they closed Kenwood for the restoration and therefore only got to visit once, but I can only blame myself for that!

After 18 months of restoration the house is open to visitors again. If you live in London, or are planning a visit, you must go to Kenwood house! Better still, in addition to the period restored rooms and stunning old master paintings, Kenwood is currently running an exhibition of the costumes from the film Belle! In the smaller rooms upstairs there is a great display of 18th century buckles and miniatures too, what more could a historic costume lover ask for in a day out!

The house as drawn in its time
The library, AKA the most stunning room ever, also delectably pastel!
Gainsborough, Rembrandt, all your favorites hang out at this house (and its free to visit! I can't get over how great that is!)

not me in this photo but I was similarly enamored :)
Run don't walk to Kenwood, I know I can't wait to visit again, especially now that the place is restored and extra lovely!

Interior images of Kenwood from here<

1 comment:

  1. What a beautiful house! :)


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