great places to visit off the beaten path.
The House: Built in 1686, it is a great example of the London Queen Anne style - a style that was chosen by Victorian’s for their children’s dolls’ houses. Originally a merchant’s house, the home was given to the National Trust in 1952. The house contains the significant & historic ‘Benton Fletcher’ collection of keyboard instruments, especially 17th and 18th Century harpsichords. The instruments are often used throughout the day and at special events throughout the year to play period appropriate music which creates a unique atmosphere. Currently special events focusing on the instruments occur on Wednesday. In addition, the house has a solid collection of art (especially the Camden Town Group artists), 17th Century needlepoint, Chinese porcelain and Georgian furniture. There are also wonderful panoramic views of London that can be seen from the balcony on the top floor - with an elevation similar to Parliament Hill on the Heath.
The Garden & Apple Festival It addition to the house, a wonderful walled garden has hardly changed since its layout was originally designed 300 years ago. Throughout the year you can relax in the garden, play croquet and escape the city. While the garden offers the expected lawns, flower beds and a working kitchen garden, the home is perhaps best known for its apple orchard. With over 30 varieties of apples - some exceedingly rare - Fenton House hosts an annual Apple Festival in September where visitors can taste the apples, juices and enjoy apple cocktails. 2012’s event includes local produce for sale, a zip line through the trees, and 1950s dancing & food to celebrate 60 years of ownership by the NT.
Visiting The house is open at different times throughout the year - but generally from March to November it is open Wed-Sun from 11-5. Other times it may only be open on weekends, so be certain to check before going. For specific hours and more information (including admission costs) see their website: http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/fenton-house/
Located at: Hampstead Grove, Hampstead, NW3 6SP
Closest tube: Hampstead
Photo credit: Keyboard: National Trust website