Feel The Magic At London’s Enchanting Gothic Castle

share on:
strawberry hill house Twickenham

Forget Strawberry Fields Forever, it’s all about Twickenham’s Strawberry Hill House & Garden…

If you’re a fan of the Gothic and love nothing more than wandering around houses you’ll never actually be able to afford, South West London’s Strawberry Hill House & Garden needs to be your next destination. [Photo: @julies_exploration]

It’s certainly not your average house. Dating back to 1747, the site was originally named ‘Chopp’d Straw Hall’ and consisted of a few simple cottages. Horace Walpole discovered the site (one of the last remaining free locations on the banks of the Thames) and like any self-respecting visionary wishing to build their own castle, decided to purchase the land and create a Gothic masterpiece – battlements, towers and all.

Strawberry Hill House @beatricedelarragoiti
Photo: @beatricedelarragoiti

The castle’s architecture was influenced by Gothic cathedrals around Europe. Drawing influence from their elaborate vaulted ceilings, intricate carvings, medieval tombs and rose windows, the level of detail is eye-watering.

strawberry hill house
Photo: @literatureslivingroom

The castle drew so much attention from both locals and architectural enthusiasts that Walpole began conducting guided tours of his own residence. Led by his housekeeper, 4 visitors a day were permitted through its doors (strictly no children, naturally) and Walpole soon began entertaining ambassadors, English aristocracy and royalty alike. Fancy.

strawberry hill house
Photo: @markskarratts

I mean, just think of the cleaning bill…

strawberry hill house
Photo: @strawbhillhouse

Walpole, it seems, also held a special interest in oddities. Compiling a collection of weird and wonderful historical items including James I’s gloves, Cardinal Wolsey’s hat and a lock of Edward IV’s hair (supposedly ‘cut from his corpse in St George’s Chapel at Windsor’), his taste can only be described as… eclectic.

Strawberry Hill House London
Photo: @paz143andrew

The collection was dispersed following the Great Sale of 1842 but was later gifted to Yale University. So, if you fancy feasting your eyes on some strange antiquities and 18th Century artefacts, book yourself a plane ticket to Connecticut’s Lewis Walpole Library.

@dianaalsobrook
[Photo: dianaalsobrook]
Ideal for the bookworm in your life, Strawberry Hill House’s library is pretty damn ‘grammable.

strawberry hill house
Photo: @graciousopulence

The house underwent a 10 million pound restoration in 2010 assisted by the Heritage Lottery Fund. Restored to its former glory thanks to countless original documents, the riverside spot is a feast for the eyes (particularly when the English weather holds out).

@ladychadders
[Photo: @ladychadders]
The question now is: when can we move in?

@strawberry hill house
Photo: @strawbhillhouse

Location: Strawberry Hill House, 268 Waldegrave Road, Twickenham, TW1 4ST. See it on Google Maps. Strawberry Hill station (56 minutes from Waterloo) is a 5 to 10-minute walk away.
Opening hours: March – September, the house is open on Sundays from 11am-5pm and Mondays through to Wednesdays 12-4.30pm. October to February the house will be open 7 days a week for the Lost Treasures of Strawberry Hill Exhibition. Last admission to the house is one hour before closing. The garden is open seven days a week. Click here for up-to-date opening times.
Entry: £12.50 for adults, £6.25 for students, blue badge holders and Nation Trust members, under-16s go free.
More information: on their website.

More fresh places to visit this summer:

💜The lovely lavender field in deepest south London
🚃100 great ideas for day trips from London
🏖15 beautiful beaches near London
🚴‍♀️ The best routes for summer bike rides

Danielle de Wolfe

Danielle de Wolfe

Danielle de Wolfe is a Secret London contributor.

Leave a Response