Kenwood House

sights / Architecture

Lonely Planet review

This magnificent neoclassical mansion stands at the northern end of the heath in a glorious sweep of landscaped gardens leading down to a picturesque lake, around which concerts take place during the summer months. The house was remodelled by Robert Adam in the 18th century, and rescued from developers by Lord Iveagh Guinness, who donated it to the nation in 1927, including the wonderful collection of art it contains. The Iveagh Bequest, as it is known, contains paintings by such greats as Rembrandt (one of his many self- portraits), Consta-ble, Turner, Hals, Vermeer and Van Dyck and is one of the finest small collections in Britain. Robert Adam's Great Stairs and the library, one of 14 rooms open to the public, are especially fine. The Suffolk Collection occupies the 1st floor. It includes Jacobean portraits by William Larkin and royal Stuart portraits by Van Dyck and Lely. There are guided tours (adult/concession #2/1) of the house daily at 2.30pm. Located in what was once the servants' wing of Kenwood House, the Brew House Cafe\' has delicious food, from light snacks to full meals (mains around #7.50), and plenty of room on the lovely garden terrace.