A palatial building with sprawling gardens sitting on the banks of the River Thames in Richmond and also famous for being one of the most haunted houses in Britain.
This rare and atmospheric 17 century house completed in 1610, was originally bestowed by James I to his son Henry Frederick, Prince of Wales. After the death of the Prince of Wales in 1618, Ham was granted to James’ second son, Charles, several years before he became King.
It was then passed on to William Murray, childhood friend of Charles I who had taken the role of his whipping boy. He was given the lease of Ham House and its estate as a gift from the King in 1626.Remaining friends as adults, they shared a taste for the latest fashions in architecture, art and interior decoration.
The house is also reputed to be one of the most haunted in Britain so a treat to some of those who love chasing ghosts. Some visitors have reported the ghostly aroma of the sweet Virginia pipe tobacco that the Duke smoked after meals in the dining room.
With a rich historic past this is internationally recognised for its superb collection of paintings, furniture and textiles which were largely acquired 400 years ago. Some of the unique objects include a rare Chinese teapot, said to have been used by the Duchess herself, and the exotic ivory cabinet.
Selected rooms in the house are open by guided tour on a first come basis so if you are interested please book ahead.
Apart from the stories of it being one of the most haunted houses this is a beautiful day out with the family.
There is plenty for the kids to enjoy from working with 17 Century wooden toys to open garden spaces. There is well designed maze that keeps the kids occupied and a fun activity for adults too.
Outside, the open and formal restored 17th-century gardens are a treat and they surround the entire house. It includes a productive kitchen garden containing many heritage crops and many beautiful spots perfect for a picnic.
There is a lovely café which can be enjoyed on a summers day serving 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.
Visiting Ham House from London is quite easy and an hours journey depending on the mode of transport you opt for.
By underground (District Line ) or over ground train to to Richmond and from here you can get a cab/bus or perhaps if its a nice sunny day enjoy 1½ miles walk
Please see bus directions for travel information from Richmond Station. By road Ham is readily accessible from the M3, M4 and M25 and the Richmond Park Ham Gate exit.
Address Ham Street, Ham, Richmond, Surrey, TW10 7RS.