This rare and atmospheric 17th-century house sits on the banks of the River Thames in Richmond. It is the creation of the tenacious Duchess of Lauderdale and her husband, the Duke, who together transformed Ham into one of the grandest Stuart houses in England.
Ham House is internationally recognised for its superb collection of paintings, furniture and textiles, largely acquired 400 years ago. Some of our unique objects include a rare Chinese teapot, said to have been used by the Duchess herself, and the exotic ivory cabinet. The house is reputed to be one of the most haunted in Britain. Some visitors have reported the ghostly aroma of the sweet Virginia pipe tobacco that the Duke smoked after meals in the dining room.
Visit the hands on below stairs room on a weekend. The bathroom, complete with a wooden bathtub and bed, illustrates how baths were taken before washing became an everyday event.
Outside, the open and formal restored 17th-century gardens surround the house. It includes a productive kitchen garden containing many heritage crops, the maze-like ‘Wilderness’, complete with summerhouses, and many beautiful spots perfect for a picnic.
The newly refurbished Orangery café set in the kitchen garden serves light lunches and teas. The café is set in one of the first examples of an Orangery, however it was not an ideal building for plants to grow as the windows are small and very little light could reach the orange and lemon trees.