kenwood house hampstead london nw3 image feature

Visit Kenwood House Hampstead NW3

Kenwood House is a stunning 17th-century country mansion set within beautiful grounds in Hampstead Heath, which National Heritage manages. With restored interiors and an art collection boasting masterpieces from greats like Turner and Rembrandt, it makes for a dream day out. Admire the lavish interiors, then treat yourself to afternoon tea before walking it off on the manicured grounds. The entrance is free, and you can visit throughout the week. If you’re looking for free things to do in London, places to explore in Hampstead or want a taste of country living without leaving the capital, you must visit Kenwood House. (I wrote this article in September 2016 but have since returned to Kenwood House, so I’ve updated some of the images, added a video and republished this article).

the entrance to kenwood house

Kenwood House Tour

Kenwood House is a joy to visit, and it’s absolutely free! It’s a must for all Londoners and visitors. I took my mum for a visit recently, and she thoroughly enjoyed it, especially the pot of tea and slice of cake at the end! This former stately home is on the edge of Hampstead Heath (Northern boundary), so it feels like you are in the countryside. It’s such a wonderful place to visit because of the lush landscaped gardens, the architecture, the exquisitely decorated interiors and the abundance of art to admire.

kenwood house, hallway

I’ll give you a brief overview of the history, but it’s a good idea to read the history section on the website. The house as we know it today has had many owners and facelifts over the years. John Bill (Kings James I’s printer) built the first house on the site in 1616. Major remodelling occurred when William Murry (1st Earl of Mansfield) bought it in 1754. He commissioned the Scottish architect, Robert Adam, to give the property a neoclassical villa make-over which included the famous library and the addition of the Ionic portico at the entrance.

kenwood house, interiors

We have the 1st Earl of Iveagh, aka Edward Cecil Guinness (as in the brown drink), to thank for bequeathing Kenwood House to the nation, along with his art collection of 63 paintings when he passed away in 1927. The stipulations included free entrance and that the mansion and the contents should be preserved for generations to see how the other half lived in the eighteenth century. So raise your pint of Guinness and say cheers to Edward!

kenwood house, library

Today, the building is managed by English Heritage. You might be aware of the recent renovations, which were quite extensive and partly funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

kenwood historic house hampstead

The interiors and the grounds are in fantastic condition, so it is really worth a visit to get a glimpse into how the privileged lived.

paintings inside kenwood house

It doubles as a gallery with all the amazing art on display from all the greats, including Rembrandt, Turner, Gainsborough and Vermeer.

Watch My Kenwood House Video

Helpful Information About Kenwood House

You can tour the house with your friends at a leisurely pace. There are volunteers available should you want to ask any detailed questions. The gardens are also worth exploring and stretch 112 acres, designed by Sir Humphrey Repton. You also have the expansive Hampstead Heath right on the doorstep if you fancy roaming around that.

beautiful gardens at kenwood house

If all that exploring makes you hungry, pop into the Brew House Café or The Steward’s Room.

places to eat near kenwood house

The type of food available is roast dinners at the weekend which looked delicious, soups, sandwiches, salads and plenty of cakes. The food is excellent, and I’ve eaten there many times. You can sit inside or outside on the terrace.

kenwood house, cake

Don’t forget to pop into the gift shops for a little souvenir. There are three gift shops, one at the house selling clothing, fridge magnets and beauty products.

kenwood gifts in shop

You’ll also find gifts when you enter the house and register.

kenwood house gifts inside

The other is in the little house near the restaurant, which is often surrounded by the most beautiful flowers. The products are excellent quality and well worth exploring if you have a friend’s birthday on the horizon. You’ll find mugs, stationery, tote bags, tea towels and more to admire.

kenwood house, gift shop

To find out more, visit the Kenwood House Website. The house is open from 10 am until 5 pm every day. Check the website for bank holiday opening hours. The address is Hampstead Lane, Hampstead NW3 7JR. We travelled on the 210 bus, which stops close to the house. Otherwise, get the train to Gospel Oak or Hampstead Heath or the tube to Hampstead Heath. Parking a car may be difficult, so it is better to take public transport if you can. Enjoy your day out; you’ll love it!

While you are in the area, you may find these posts helpful:

Things To Do In Hampstead:

Hampstead London NW3 Area Guide

Ten Things To Do In Hampstead London NW3

Golders Hill Park Hampstead London NW3

Historic Houses In Hampstead:

Historic Houses Hampstead London NW3

Burgh House Hampstead London NW3

Lunch At Buttery Café Burgh House Hampstead London NW3

Fenton House and Garden Hampstead London NW3

Keats House Hampstead London NW3

Freud Museum Hampstead London NW3

2 Willow Road Hampstead London NW3

Places To Eat In Hampstead:

Buttery Cafe Burgh House Hampstead London NW3

Oak And Poppy Hampstead London NW3

Ginger And White Hampstead London NW3

Heath Street Bakehouse Hampstead London NW3

Author: Homegirl London. Photographs: Homegirl London.