West London has without doubt some of London’s grandest historic houses with a whole host of royal palaces and stately homes by the Thames.
And these grand historic houses all come with huge grounds and gardens that make them a great place for family days out with kids and for meeting up outdoors with friends.
Inevitably, because they are so grand, a number of these palaces and stately homes charge rather grand prices for family days out but not all of them do and there are clever ways you can enjoy many of them for free or at discount prices.
In this big guide to west London’s historic houses, I’ll take you through everything you need to know to enjoy affordable days out with family and friends. And share tips on how to visit them by public transport.
I have also included some smaller historic houses in west London that are open to the public and are delightful hidden gems where you can enjoy a quiet day out outdoors.
I do hope you find plenty of inspiration in this guide for some great days out in west London. Do bookmark & share with friendss.
Fulham Palace is a one thousand year old bishop’s palace close to the Thames in Fulham. The palace includes a small local history museum and is set in over 13 acres of garden and orchard that are being restored.
The palace itself and the gardens are free to visit.
There is a cafe at the palace with outdoor tables and there are typically a large number of family friendly activities going on in the grounds.
Fulham Palace is just a 10 minute walk from Putney Bridge along the river.
Marble Hill House is a delightful historic villa right by the Thames in west London. The historic interiors include an art collection and 18th century furnishings.
The house is closed in 2021 for renovation but the 60 acres of parkland that run right down to the river are open and free to visit.
Marble Hill House is about 10 minutes walk from St Margarets station with direct trains from Waterloo.
Ham House is a grand Jacobean stately home right by Thames in west London. The house has opulent interiors and art and has a very imaginative children’s trail though the house that introduces them to life both upstairs and downstairs in 17th century London.
The house is accessible by public transport but you need to make the journey part of your day out. Ham House is a lovely 2 mile walk or cycle ride by the river from Richmond Station. Or alternatively take the train from Waterloo to St Margarets and then walk 20 minutes to the Hammerston’s Ferry from Marble Hill.
Strawberry Hill House
Strawberry Hill House is a historic house like none other in London. Like every child’s fantasy of a fairy tale castle, it is gothic with a capital G.
Created by Horace Walpole it has rich neo-gothic interiors and a romantic 18th Century garden. Entrance costs £28 for two adults but children go free and it is half price with an English Heritage card (affiliate) or National Trust card.
Strawberry Hill House is just 5 minutes walk from Strawberry Hill station with trains from Waterloo.
Syon Park owned by the Duke of Northumberland is one of the few London country houses still occupied as a private home.
A grand stately home in west London, Syon House has sumptuous interiors and spectacularly large gardens, including woodland and wild meadow that run right down to the Thames.
Entrance to the house and gardens is over £30 for a family of four and £18 for just the gardens and great conservatory.
Syon Lane station is 15 minutes walk away with trains from Waterloo.
The 18th century interiors are home to a large collection of china, furniture and art including Carlo Dulci’s stunning picture of St Agatha.
There are extensive grounds around the house including formal gardens, wilderness, farmland with cattle chomping away and three lakes.
Osterley Park is run by the National Trust and entrance to the house costs over £30 for a family of four but is free with a National Trust card which also gives access to these other National Trust properties in London.
Entrance to the park itself is free
Osterley Park is about 20 minutes, less than a mile, from Osterley tube station on the Piccadilly line.
Chiswick House has a lot of grand west London houses to compete with but it is a stunning building in stunning grounds.
An exquisite 18th century Palladian villa, designed by William Kent the house has magnificent state rooms and a collection of 17th and 18th century art.
The extensive gardens include a famous avenue of cedar trees, a lake, wilderness plus a fine conservatory famous for its camellias and there are stunning architectural features throughout the grounds such as the classical bridge.
There’s a large cafe in the gardens with plenty of outdoor seating and an adventure playground for children.
Entrance to the gardens is free.
Chiswick House is about 10 minutes walk from Chiswick Station (with trains from Waterloo) and 20 minutes walk from Turnham Green or Chiswick Park tube.
Boston Manor is one of west London’s least well known historic houses but it is a hidden gem and a delight if you love discovering forgotten places.
A Jacobean manor house set in a public park by the river Brent, Boston Manor is a lovely example of an early 17th century house. It is one of those special places in London like Sutton House in Hackney that has some how survived despite much neglect.
The house has recently been closed for extensive restoration but it’s hoped it will be opened in spring 2021. Entrance to the house is free.
Boston Manor is less than 10 minutes walk from Boston Manor tube on the Piccadilly line.
Gunnersbury Park was once the country estate of Princess Amelia, daughter of George II and was later owned by the Rothschilds but became a public park with a local museum and gallery in the 1920s.
The park actually has two separate regency period historic houses, the large mansion and the small mansion. The large mansion has recently been restored.
The museum collection isn’t world class but is one of those delightful local history collections which is full of all sorts of surprising gems including “how we used to live” hands on exhibits and activities for children.
There are other architectural delights amongst the formal gardens and wilderness of Gunnersbury park itself including the orangery with a horseshoe pond, Princess Amelia’s bath house and a doric temple.
Entrance to the park and museum are free.
Gunnersbury Park is just 10 minutes walk from Acton Town tube.
Hogarth House is a small 18th century historic house in west London that was the home of artist William Hogarth. The house which contains a museum to Hogarth and its small garden provide a quiet place to escape from the hurly burly of London life and meet up with friends outdoors.
Hogarth House is free to visit.
Turnham Green tube station is less than a mile away. Or alternatively you can get the train to Chiswick and walk through the gardens of Chiswick House which is just next door.
Hampton Court Palace
Hampton Court Palace needs little introduction but it really is a great day out for the whole family in London with world famous riverside gardens that are home to a big adventure playground as well as the maze. And all that’s before you even hit the extensive interiors that are chock full of hands on horrible history for kids.
There’s far more than you can do justice to in just one day out.
Family tickets to Hampton Court Palace are expensive but if you are going to be in London all summer it’s worth considering getting the Historic Royal Palaces Pass that also gives access to the Tower of London & other palaces.
One of London smallest royal homes Kew Palace was the favourite retreat of King George III and Queen Charlotte. Set in Kew Gardens the palace is a chance to explore royal life on a much more intimate scale and the historic kitchens are a great place for kids to discover about life in Georgian London. The palace is included on the Royal Palaces Pass along with Hampton Court and the Tower of London.
And there you go, a big list of historic houses in west London from grand palaces and stately mansions by the Thames to forgotten country houses that are all brilliant places meeting up with friends outdoors in London.
For even more historic houses across the whole of London do check out these guides …
And for more ideas for family days out in London follow my Family Fun London page on Facebook.