Investment at top English Heritage properties – including elegant Kenwood in North London, aristocratic Audley End House & Gardens at Saffron Walden in Essex, majestic Kenilworth Castle & Elizabethan Garden in Warwickshire and opulent Osborne on the Isle of Wight – will guarantee even more historic interest for days out during 2014
Better Than Ever – Kenwood Re-Opens Kenwood House, Robert Adanis 18th century masterpiece in north London, re-opens at the start of December 2013 after extensive repair and restoration work.Home to one of the greatest art collections in Britain, part of the restoration work now nearing completion will re-display its glorious paintings and show them at their best. With a new roof, refreshed exteriors and its wonderful Adam rooms restored, the overall atmosphere will also be transformed to feel less like a house and more like a home.There will be new introductory displays to enjoy, which tell the story of the house and its residents – from Judge Lord Mansfield and his mixed race great niece Dido Belle to brewing magnate Edward Guinness, who gave Kenwood to the nation. Visitors can also visit the restored ornamental dairy, where 18th century ladies once took tea and played at being dairymaids.
As well as famous paintings by masters including Rembrandt, Vermeer, Turner, Reynolds and Gainsborough to admire, full length portraits of extravagantlydressed Jacobean courtiers located on the upper floor, will be able to be seen by all, thanks to the installation of a lift. Set in 112-acres of leafy parkland landscaped by Humphrey Repton and dotted with garden ornaments and sculptures -including famous works by Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth – Kenwood has wonderful views across London. Entry will continue to be free, but tailored guided tours for groups can be pre-booked – and for just a small charge, will be better value than ever.
Kenwood, Hampstead Lane, London NW3 7JR
Tel: 020 83481286
Royal childhood at Osborne
At Osborne, Queen Victoria and Prince Albert’s holiday hideaway, Swiss Cottage and Museum – used as a giant ‘play house by their nine children – will re-open following restoration of the buildings and conservation of the collections.The charming buildings will tell the story of childhood at Osborne, with a new exhibition and hands-on activities exploring the lives and characters of all the royal princes and princesses, alongside over 4,000 original artefacts in the cottage and museum which have been carefully conserved after being on almost continuous display for nearly a century. The Swiss Cottage Quarter is conveniently located roughly halfway between Osborne House and Queen Victories private beach. Osborne, East Cowes, Isle of Wight, P032 6JX
Tel: 01983 200022
Victorian childhood at Audley End House & Gardens The story of eight children who grew up in the 1830s and 40s at Audley End is to be told as part of the opening of the second floor Nursery Suite in the Jacobean mansion, for the first time. Life in the nursery for them and their succession of wet nurses, nursery maids and governesses – at a time when aristocratic children were rarely seen or heard by their parents – is being unveiled as part of a £1m project. The series of rooms in which they spent so much of their young lives – eating a wholesome diet of ‘nursery food,’ reading and playing with toys – can be explored helped by interactive displays.Along with the Nursery Suite, another previously unseen part ofthe house will also open next year, when the Coal Gallery reveals its importance for heating the house, and providing it with hot water.There’s more to see in other parts of the house too – with improved presentation in the State Rooms and a virtual tour of the house to enjoy.
Audley End House & Gardens, Saffron Walden, Essex, CB114JF
Tel: 01799 522842