Burgh House in Hampstead may not be on everyone’s radar, but it should be. It’s one of London’s darling house museums, and it’s a de-lovely place to have Afternoon Tea. The Autumn ‘what’s on diary’ is bursting with music recitals, wine and cheese tastings, Halloween and Christmas events and much more. It’s also an art gallery and houses a museum dedicated to the history of Hampstead. With a guest list which includes such names as Cole Porter, Leslie ‘Hutch’ Hutchinson, Rudyard Kipling and our own Ricky Gervais, Burgh House definitely deserves a visit by Londoners and tourists alike.
“Our life in the delightful old house and garden in Hampstead was a source of happiness to my father to the end of his life.” Elsie Kipling on her father, Rudyard.
Burgh House, Hampstead
Burgh House is a Grade I listed Queen Anne house located in Hampstead, in north London. It was one of the suburb’s first mansion houses, built when Hampstead Wells was a spa destination. In 1720, the spa’s physician Dr William Gibbons moved in, followed by an art expert, Dr George Williamson, who commissioned Gertrude Jekyll to design the garden. In 1933, Rudyard Kipling’s daughter moved in after which it eventually fell into disrepair. Since 1979, the newly restored house has been a public house museum.
As I wander around the rooms, I imagine what it would have been like in the 1920s. Guests would have included the Prince of Wales, Cole Porter and LeslieHutch. I would pay a lot of money to time warp back to one of those musical soirées!
Rudyard Kipling’s daughter, Elsie, moved into Burgh House in 1934. Kipling’s last outing would be to visit his sick grandchild here in January 1936. He died the following day.
Today, Burgh House is an arts centre and museum with a collection of over 4000 pieces. There’s a permanent museum dedicated to the history of Hampstead on the first floor.
Ricky Gervais is a regular visitor to Burgh House and has successfully led fundraising appeals for some of its renovation works.
There’s a fun kids’ corner tucked away on the first floor where young ones can try on period costumes and learn about the history of Hampstead, from prehistoric times to the present.
What’s on at Burgh House this Autumn
Current exhibitions and events at Burgh House include:
- Behind Closed Doors: A Biography of Romney’s House
- Writers and History in Hampstead (including John Keats and Daphne du Maurier)
- Appy Amstead: Celebrating London’s Playground
- Wine & Cheese Tastings
- A conversation with Paddy Ashdown
- The Highgate Vampire
- Christmas Carols and Art Fair
- And don’t forget to visit during the Christmas season when the house will be decorated. What a visual treat that will be!
Check the website for a full listing of recitals and other events.
Afternoon Tea at The Buttery Café
Downstairs at Burgh House, the old buttery, kitchen, scullery and wine cellars have been transformed into an art gallery and into Hampstead’s only garden café.
We chose to have English breakfast tea, but there are plenty of other options such as hot chocolate and chai latte. You could also opt for a Prosecco or an indulgent glass of rosé.
Sandwiches included smoked salmon, cucumber and cream cheese and roast chicken salad. The scones were so delicious that my niece, newly arrived from Paris, gobbled them both!
Inside The Buttery Café.
There’s a delicious selection of cakes, scones and macaroons from which to choose. You could have passion fruit and lime cake (yum!), oreo brownie (evil!) and Belgian chocolate cake with pistachios and pomegranate (yes please!). There are “healthier” options such as flapjacks, carrot cake and strawberry tarts.
You can perch in one of many nooks throughout the Gertrude Jekyll designed garden. You can bring your well-behaved dogs as well!
About The Buttery Café
Opening Times: Wednesday – Friday: 10am – 5pm Saturday & Sunday: 9.30am – 5.30pm
Afternoon Tea: £29.75 including a glass of Prosecco (includes a selection of finger sandwiches, scone, jam and clotted cream, mini macaroons, tea or coffee). £7 for cream tea including coffee or tea.
For reservations please call 020 7794 3943.
About Burgh House
New End Square, Hampstead, London NW3 1LT Nearest tube: Hampstead
Opening Times: Wednesday to Friday & Sunday: 12.00 – 17.00 (note: closed on Saturdays)
Entry to the museum and gardens is free. Burgh House
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