Chiswick House and Gardens: west London’s coolest historic house (literally)
What does one do when faced with the hottest day of the year (so far) and a whole week as a lady of leisure before starting a new job? Why, visit one of the coolest historic houses in London, of course. And that’s exactly what I did when I visited Chiswick House and Gardens for the first time.
And when I say ‘coolest’, I’m not just talking about the fact that Chiswick House is on every nerd’s trip wishlist. It’s also ‘cool’ regarding its temperature; I stepped from 32-degree heat into a glamorous gold-plated human cool bag that was once used to entertain London’s high society.
The house is surrounded by acres of gardens, which stretch for what seems like miles and could easily fill a day’s exploring; they include the Italian gardens, conservatory, temple and the magnificent lake that stretches across the grounds.
Walk up to the front of the Chiswick House itself to be greeted by two magnificent sphinxes and a dozen statues; the mix of regal elegance in some and mischievous grins in others are enough to make you question what sort of house you’re entering…
Another sphinx awaits you inside on the far right-hand corridor of the building: this one was moved inside due to decay, but it’s interesting to see how well-intentioned restoration work was done with bricks and cement to help keep the shape of this magnificent but time-weary structure.
Opening times: Sundays to Wednesdays, 10am-6pm
Nearest Tube: Turnham Green
More information: Chiswick House & Gardens Trust website