Posted by: offmotorway | September 23, 2010

A Hidden London Gem – Ham House

Ham House

The front of Ham House

Ham House sits on the River Thames just past Richmond, and this year has been celebrating it’s 400th anniversary.  Now cared for by the National Trust, it was built in 1610 by Sir Thomas Vavasour, Knight Marshal to James I.

The House’s most colourful resident was probably Elizabeth, Countess of Dysart, later the Duchess of Lauderdale.  Not only was she described by contemporaries as beautiful, ambitious and greedy, but there were rumours that she murdered her first husband the Duke of Lauderdale.  During the Civil War she maintained favour with Oliver Cromwell, supposedly at the same time as belonging to the Sealed Knot, the secret organisation supporting the exiled King.

Duke and Duchess of Lauderdale

 The House is one of the country’s finest Stuart homes and has beautiful gardens including a Cherry Garden and an orangery.  There are also allegedly several ghosts, including the spirit of the Duchess herself! 

Look out for events at the house, especially around halloween and Christmas.

Buses are the best way to get to Ham House (371,65), or you could take the ferry across the river from Twickenham, which is probably more fun, there is then a path which leads to the front door.

The view of the Thames from Ham House

The view of the Thames from Ham House

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