Strawberry Hill House in Twickenham is Britain's finest example of Georgian Gothic architecture and interior decoration. It began life in 1698 as a modest house, built by the coachman of the Earl of Bradford. It was transformed into 'a little Gothic castle' by Horace Walpole, man of letters and son of England's first Prime Minister. Between 1747 and 1792 Walpole doubled its size, creating Gothic rooms and adding towers and battlements in fulfilment of his dream. Futher additions were made by the Countess Waldegrave.
This gothic masterpiece is considered one of the finest examples of Georgian Gothic architecture and interior decoration.
The building, which gets its name from the local area, started out as a modest house but was transformed by Horace Walpole. He doubled its size, adding towers and battlements, and filled it with treasures that reflected his social position in high society.
Walpole was obsessed by fashion, style and architecture. After purchasing Strawberry Hill, he was able to play out these fascinations by taking the property from a 5-acre plot to 46 acres, and setting up his "The Committee of Taste" to transform the house.
The Committee was made up of Walpole and two of his friends, who he considered to be of the right (tasteful) metal to work alongside him on his ambitious plans for the house. They were John Chute, who was responsible for much of the main elevations of the house and the interiors, and Richard Bentley, who was an artist and draughtsman.
Nearly all of Walpole's treasures have been removed from the house - all that is except for his vast collections of painted and stained glass, which were key to his design vision. This glass is now however gravely at risk, which was a factor that helped add it to the World Monuments Fund watch list of 100 most endangered sites.
After Walpole died in 1797, the house went through a number of hands, Lady Frances Waldegrave, who was a leading figure in Victorian society.
In 1923, it was purchased by the Catholic Education Council and became St Mary's Roman Catholic Teachers Training College. It is now part of Surrey University.
The Strawberry Hill Trust, supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, has recently undertaken a £9 million repair and restoration of Walpole's villa and garden and Strawberry Hill re-opened to the public in late following this two year long restoration
Directions to Strawberry Hill
Travel direct to Strawberry Hill Station from Waterloo. Turn left out of the station into Tower Road. Turn right into Waldegrave Gardens. At the end of the road turn left into Waldegrave Road. The main entrance is just along along on the right.
Consult Railtrack for details of train times.
Travel by the District Line to Richmond, then travel either by South West Trains to Strawberry Hill or by No. 33 or R68 bus.
The 33 travels from Hammersmith, through Richmond Bus Station, directly to Waldegrave Road, stopping immediately outside the main entrance.
The R68 bus does not stop at Kew Gardens Station, but instead starts from Kew Retail Park and then travels down the Mortlake Road (South Circular Road) turning right at Chalker's Corner and thence to Richmond / Strawberry Hill. Get off at the first stop in Cross Deep. Continue along to the mini roundabout and turn right into Waldegrave Road. You will see Strawberry Hill House on your left.
At the London Road roundabout on the A316 take the exit signposted Twickenham A310. At the mini roundabout turn left, you are still on London Road. Pass Twickernham Station on your left. At traffic lights you will have to bear right into King Street. Get over into left lane and turn left at the traffic lights into Cross Deep. You will pass Radnor Gardens leading down to the Thames on your left. At mini roundabout turn right into Waldegrave Road. You will see Strawberry Hill House on your left. Just past the house is the turning into St. Mary's College where you can park.
Opening Times and Admission
Please telephone to confirm opening times and admission prices.
Strawberry Hill House