Marble Hill House is a beautiful 18th Century Palladian Villa. It sits on the 66-acre Marble Hill Park ensconced on the northern banks of the River Thames just across the famous Ham House gardens on the opposite side of the river. Built for the remarkable Henrietta Howard, Countess of Suffolk and mistress of King George II, Marble Hill House is said to be the finest showcase of fashionable Georgian life in the country today. The English literary giants Alexander Pope and Jonathan Swift were frequent guests of the Countess during that period.
The house was acquired by the English Heritage from the Greater London Council, when the latter was abolished in 1986. Modern amenities at Marble Hill House include a cricket pitch and nets, tennis courts, putting green, and a children's play area. Today, it is also used as a wedding venue as well as being home to a series of lighthearted picnic concerts in the summer months. Marble Hill House is open to visitors from the end of March to the end of October on weekends and bank holidays, but you can always walk around the gardens (for free).
btw - there are many great historic buildings in the area, you can see our list here.
Conceptualized as an as an Arcadian retreat from the hustle and bustle of 18th century London, construction on the house began in 1724 and lasted until 1729. The architect Roger Morris designed the house and was aided by the famous Lord Henry Herbert, Earl of Pembroke, in scaling down a more extravagant design by Colin Campbell. It is one of the earliest examples of Palladian style in Britain and had set the standard for similar aristocratic villas built in the English countryside and in the American South.
The exquisite interiors of the house have been painstakingly restored and recreated to accurately evoke the atmosphere of fashionable Georgian residences. The Great Room on the first floor where Henrietta Howard held court is the building's focal point. It features lavishly gilded decorations and hosts five architectural capricci by Giovanni Paolo Pannini. The exhibits at Marble Hill House include a fine collection of early Georgian furniture and paintings and a priceless Lazenby Bequest Chinoiserie collection.
Marble Hill House is set on 66 acres of sloping riverside parkland, the Marble Hill Park. It's a stunningly beautiful retreat reminiscent of the idealized Arcadian landscape of period paintings, the perfect refuge from the noise and haste of central London. The gardens were designed by William Kent and the great poet Alexander Pope. There's no cost to walk around the grounds, which are open all year around, and there's a small cafe that serves food and drink during the day.
Marble Hill House is on the northern banks of the River Thames, situated halfway between Richmond and Twickenham. It is linked to the gardens at Ham House (another famous tourist attraction in Richmond) on the opposite bank of the river by the Hammerton's Ferry service.
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Father's Day is approaching, it's probably a good idea to book a table for lunch pretty soon.