This gorgeous aristocratic mansion is the last surviving 18th century townhouse in central London.
Hidden in plain sight, you’ll find the beautiful Spencer House in the heart of St James’s, Piccadilly. Owned by the Earl Spencer, its current titleholder is Charles Spencer – ninth Earl Spencer and brother of Diana, Princess of Wales. As it’s one of London’s most precious gems, we thought we’d give you a peek inside:
Beautiful both inside and out, the palace was a joint architectural effort by both John Vardy and James Stuart. While Vardy was responsible for the external elevations and the design of the ground floor rooms, Stuart superseded Vardy as Lord Spencer’s architect in 1758, and added some Greek charm to the interior decoration. This made Spencer House one of the earliest examples of neo-classical architecture.
The house was designed with big parties in mind, and this theme runs throughout the many State Rooms. The first Earl Spencer and his wife were very popular in their day, and Spencer House was known for its lavish soirées.
After the first Earl Spencer passed away in 1783, the mansion was partly remodelled by London architect, Henry Holland. It was also redecorated and restored by famous Victorian architect, Philip Hardwick, and then again by Parisian designer Barbier thirty years later.
At the height of the Blitz and during various company occupancies, many original features of Spencer House were removed. However, RIT Capital Partners plc. took over the lease in 1985 and it underwent a ten year restoration programme to get it back to its full splendour.
Nowadays, it’s used partly as offices, but also as a unique space for private hire, including weddings and corporate events. It boasts an incredible collection of art and furniture, including five major Benjamin West paintings, which were lent by Her Majesty The Queen.
Location: 27 St James’s Place, SW1A 1NR. Nearest station: Green Park. See it on Google maps.
Opening times: open to the public for guided tours every Sunday. Tours take place at regular intervals throughout the day, from 10:30am–4:30pm. It also opens on Mondays for pre-booked groups (15–60 people).
Price: £15 for adults, £12 for concessions.
Find out more: on their website.