Tuesday 25th March – 7th meeting of 2014
We had a full house today meeting at Charing Cross after our half-term break. We got Northern line to Golders Green. Here I took three of our group in a lift to avoid the stairs where the doors closed but it didn’t move up or down so we had to use the stairs after all! Just a small panic as we lost our main group but soon found them and we all got 210 to Kenwood House.
The weather was bright and dry but a bit of a cold wind so after walking to the house we went straight to Brew House cafe for a warming drink. It was very busy but we did manage to arrange nine chairs around a table in the corner and enjoyed our hot drink and chat. Straight on into the house which has free entry thanks to Edward Guinness the brewing magnate who gave Kenwood House, contents and grounds to the nation.
The entrance hall leads into the Breakfast Room, Lord Mansfield’s Dressing Room and Antechamber. All these rooms and the whole house has been lovingly restored by English heritage to its former glory. We then went into the fabulous Adam Library. It really is a breathtaking room with every inch full of decoration. It has been restored to the original John Adam design. The big feature is the ceiling. It is amazing and is completely covered with decoration and paintings all with great detail and so intricate. It amazes me how such beautiful things were created so many years ago without any of the tools and equipment now available to builders! We spent quite some time here chatting to the young ‘explainer’ guide who was very informative and had answers to all our questions.
Throughout the house there are fabulous paintings from Gainsborough, Vermeer and Rembrandt to name a few. There is the famous self-portrait of Rembrandt and ‘The Guitar Player’ by Vermeer. The house contains so many beautiful paintings and collectables.
We then finished viewing the ground floor stopping in the Orangery which has been made into a family area with lots of things for children to enjoy and play. Throughout the house the history is explained and lots of games for children to enjoy. On our way up to the first floor we went into the Miniatures Room. Here is a collection of miniatures. buckles and jewellery collected over many years. Upstairs the Suffolk Collection of Jacobean paintings is housed and one room has a feature of an Adam fireplace. This was adorned with decoration in every inch!
During the tour you could see beautiful views over the grounds and London. The grounds are very extensive and a favourite of ramblers and dog-walkers. We didn’t walk around as time was pressing and it was very very muddy so I think maybe we will return in the Summer. It is definitively a place to visit in Spring Summer or Autumn and explore the grounds as it has a lake also Barbara Hepworth and Henry Moore sculptures.
We then got our buses and trains home after a really lovely morning in the most sumptuous surroundings which I’m sure we will visit again!