There are wide range of historic houses in north London that are open to the public and great for family days out in London.
This guide to historic homes in north London covers grand palaces and stately homes but also lesser known country houses and small historic homes in what were once north London villages.
The thing all the historic houses in this guide have in common is gorgeous grounds and gardens which are perfect for meeting up with friends outdoors.
Some of the grandest stately homes in north London are rather expensive to visit but there are a good number of houses that are free to visit. The guide highlights these plus any available discounts and provides details of how to visit all of these historic homes in north London by public transport.
I do hope you find plenty of inspiration in this guide for some great days out in north London. Do share with friends.
Table of Contents
Forty Hall is a lovely country house in north London that is free to visit for the public. It’s a Jacobean Manor House in Enfield with pretty grounds and gardens so a good place to meet up with friends outdoors.
There are typically plenty of kid friendly activities going on both indoors and outdoors at Forty Hall so it’s a good place to visit with younger children.
Forty Hall is not the easiest of the north London country houses to get to on public transport but it is doable. It’s just over one mile from Turkey Street overground station (coming out of Liverpool Street) or you can get the 191 bus from Enfield Chase station to within 10 minutes walk of the house.
For the lowdown on visiting with kids read this review of Forty Hall from a local mother
The hall is also just a short drive from Parkside PYO Farm where you can pick your own strawberries and other fruit.
Kenwood House is one of north London’s finest stately homes and has a very fine art collection that includes Rembrandt, Vermeer, Gainsborough and more. It is also has one of the finest sites of any historic house in north London being at the top of Hampstead Heath and just a short walk from Hampstead Pools.
Although, it is an English Heritage property it is free to visit for the public without a membership card.
Combining art, pretty gardens, some of London’s most beautiful parkland and useful facilities including two cafes Kenwood House really is a great place to meet up with friends in north London. And Kenwood House can be a lovely place to start introducing children to great art without overwhelming them.
The easiest way to reach Kenwood House by public transport is to get the 210 bus from Archway Station.
Fenton House is an alternative north London historic house to combine with Hampstead Heath if you have already visited Kenwood House or are looking for a quieter space to meet up with friends.
Fenton House has pretty displays of ceramics, paintings and instruments plus a very lovely formal and rose gardens and an orchard.
The house is run by the National Trust and costs £19 for the whole family or is free with a National Trust Card.
Fenton House is 3 minutes from Hampstead tube on the Northern Line. And 15 minutes from Hampstead Heath on the Overground.
It’s a wonderful place to meet up outdoors for gardening loving friends but also has a maze and plenty for space for little children and older kids to run around.
Capel Manor Gardens is about 20 minutes walk from Turkey Street station on the overground from Liverpool St. And the 217 and 317 buses stop close by. Access to the manor house is £15 for the whole family.
For the local lowdown read this family review from Enfield With Kids.
Copped Hall is just beyond the M25 so doesn’t strictly qualify as one of London’s historic houses but it makes up for that as one of London’s coolest historic sites where you can see history in action.
Until recently derelict, Copped Hall is in the process of being restored and so on open days you can actually see that restoration in place.
There is also a fascinating archeological dig – which you can join – going on in the gardens to uncover the Tudor and medieval houses which were the sight for the first ever performance of Midsummer Night’s dream.
To visit Copped Hall you need to sign up for one of the restoration open days, dig dates or an event such as a drawing class or theatre performance. Alternatively you can arrange a private tour.
Copped Hall is accessible on the number 13 bus between Epping station and Waltham Cross station. Get off at the Crown Hill stop in Epping Forest and then follow the footpath heading north for about 10 minutes which will take you on a footbridge over the M25 into Copped Hall.
Being literally just over the M25 from Epping Forest you could very easily combine the two in a really big day out in north London. Or using the number 13 bus combine Copped Hall with a visit to Waltham Abbey the last resting place of King Harold.
Apsley House which was the Duke of Wellington’s former home is one of the grandest stately homes open to the public in central London.
It doesn’t have a garden but it doesn’t need one as it’s got Hyde Park immediately next door where you can run round to your heart’s content and in summer dive into the Serpentine.
The house which contains old masters plus collections of porcelain and sculpture is run by English Heritage. It costs £24 for the family but is free with an English Heritage card (affiliate) which also gives free access to these other English Heritage run historic houses in London.
Apsley House is right by Hyde Park Corner tube or you can stroll along from Knightsbridge or Green Park stations.
Tucked away in Haringey in north London Bruce Castle is not actually a castle at all but a former manor house which is one of the oldest brick houses in the country with some of the building stretching back to the 1400s.
Situated on the edge of Bruce Castle local park the house is now home to a small local history museum, which also covers the early history of the post office and has penny black stamps and old post boxes making it a good place to visit with any children studying the Victorians.
Bruce Castle is less than 10 minutes walk from Bruce Castle over ground station (trains from Liverpool St).
Spencer House is one of the last great stately homes in central London. It has exquisite interiors in its state rooms and beautiful gardens reaching down to Green Park.
Tours around the house and gardens have to be booked.
You can get discounted access to Spencer House with the National Art Pass.
Myddleton House is a hidden gem in north London set just half a mile between Forty Hall and Capel Manor on the New River in the Lee Valley Park.
The historic home of Victorian botanist and horticulturalist A E Bowles, the house and its 8 acres of garden including a lovely kitchen garden were restored in the last ten years.
Myddleton House is a 15 minute walk from Turkey Street over ground station. You need to take the under pass underneath the A10.
Stephen House is a Victorian home with extensive gardens in north London that was gifted to the local community by its owners.
With over 10 acres of landscaped garden and parkland it is a lovely place to potter around with children or meet up with friends outdoors.
There is a stable cafe and occasional dining in Stephens House itself and regular outdoor events including theatre performances in the summer. The house is also just a mile from Finchley Lido if you fancy an outdoor swim in the summer.
The house is left than half a mile from Finchley Central station.
Kensington Palace needs no introduction as one of London’s major historic palaces. It was the childhood home of Queen Victoria and is the current home of various members of the Royal Family.
The grand interiors and stunning formal gardens can seem a little expensive for a family day out in London but you can get free access with the Royal Palaces pass which also gives free access to the Tower of London, Hampton Court and Kew Palace and is worth considering if you are going to be in London all summer.
And there you go, a wealth of wonderful historic houses in north London from grand palaces and stately mansions to old country houses and Victorian homes that are all brilliant for family days out and meeting up with friends outdoors in London.
For even more historic houses across the whole of London do check out these guides …
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