Brief History of Ham House
Step back in time and surround yourself in vintage luxury and affluence by visiting Ham House and Gardens. Ham House is a magnificent estate located just on the outskirts of central London, adjacent to the banks of the River Thames. It was originally built in 1610 but was given to William Murray as a gift from his childhood friend, King Charles I in 1626. William and then later, his daughter Elizabeth, started redecorating and turning Ham House largely into what it is today. A statement of wealth, taste and luxury thereby demonstrating William’s status as a close friend to the King.
Despite being Royalists, Ham House managed to survive and stay in the Murray family throughout the turbulent English Civil War years. Once King Charles II was back on the English throne in 1660, Ham House came to life again entertaining important guests. Elizabeth, then a Duchess through marrying the Duke of Lauderdale, continued to invest in the house by importing furniture and employing craftsmen from all over the world. As such, Ham House became one of the most splendid Stuart houses in all of England.
Now managed by the National Trust, the House’s beautiful setting has been the filming location of many movies and tv shows. Famous ones include amongst others; Young Victoria in 2008, BBC drama Sense and Sensibility also in 2008, Anna Karenina in 2012 and A Little Chaos in 2013.
Take a Tour of Ham House
There are of course many grand rooms in Ham House including the Duke’s bedchambers and State Apartments but a must see feature is the Great Staircase. It stretches across three floors and has ornately hand carved wooden panels serving more as a lavish statement to guests than just functional stairs. You’ll also find a vast collection of original paintings and tapestries adorning the walls throughout Ham House. Exploring the house gives you a unique insight into how the Duke and Duchess lived and spent their time in their stately home.
Take a Tour of Ham House Gardens
It’s worth spending time strolling through the large ancient gardens of Ham House. There are different areas to explore providing you with a sense of its history as well as a space to rest and relax.
The Kitchen Garden grows a variety of organic produce and provides this to the on site cafe all year round. Dating back to the 1600s, the Kitchen Garden also grows authentic 17th century ingredients such as skirret and scorzonera to give you a taste of what the food was like at that time.
The woodland area of the garden (known in the 1600s as the Wilderness) is a place where you can feel still, calm and relaxed. Take a seat in the sheltered summer house surrounded by nature and soak up the view.
The Plats are eight perfectly manicured grass lawns showcasing tulips, crocus and other wildflowers. They add a luscious scent as you walk by and pops of colour, especially in the spring and summer.
Other features of Ham House Gardens include the Cherry Garden equipped with yew hedges and lavender, 17th century style planting in the South Terrace, grand statues such as the God of Wine and Venus Marina and over 100 fruit trees full of blossom.
Facilities at Ham House
Eating at Ham House
The Orangery Cafe serves hot and cold lunches, snacks and sweet treats with indoor and outdoor seating available. Many of the ingredients used in the cafe are homegrown in the Kitchen Garden (see Take a Tour of Ham House Gardens above) so you’ll be sure to find the best seasonal local produce. The cafe is open every day from 10.30am – 4.30pm.
Jude’s Ice Cream Shed is open at various times depending on the weather. There really is nothing better than indulging yourself with luxurious delicious ice cream on a hot sunny day!
There are numerous spots for a picnic too. Whether you’re taking away food from the Orangery Cafe or bringing some of your own, you’ll easily find the perfect place to have a picnic.
Shopping at Ham House
Looking for a souvenir to remember your day out to Ham house? A gift for someone special? Some exclusive homeware or just a tasty foodie treat to take home? Then why not take the opportunity to browse the beautiful and practical products on offer in the Ham House shop which is sure to have everything you need.
If you’re after something new to read, head to the second hand bookshop where you could find yourself a bargain title. The books in stock are always changing as donations come in from the public.
There are also public toilets with baby changing facilities at Ham House.
Opening Times at Ham House
The House is open from 12pm-4pm everyday.
The Gardens are open from 10am-5pm every day.
The Cafe is open from 10.30am-4.30pm everyday.
The Shop is open from 11am-4pm.
Ticket Prices for Ham House and Gardens
Entry is free for National Trust members. For non members, the prices are:
Adult – £13
Child – £6.50
Family – £32.50
Family (with 1 adult) – £19.50
For most up to date prices and opening times, you can visit National Trust website here – https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/ham-house-and-garden
How to Get to Ham House
How to Get to Ham House by Car
The address and postcode you need to get to Ham House is Ham Street, Ham, Richmond, Surrey, TW10 7RS.
There is free parking in the riverside car park at the end of Ham Street.
Map of Ham House, Car Park and Nearby Stations
How to Get to Ham House by Train
Conveniently, Ham House is only 26 minutes walk from St Margarets train station or 30 mins walk from Twickenham train station.
You can take a train from London Waterloo to St Margarets train station which will take you just under 28 mins to arrive. To plan your train journey to Ham House, you can visit Transport for London website here at – https://tfl.gov.uk/plan-a-journey/