Leighton House

House in West London

Image by Will Jones Lonely Planet

Sitting on a quiet street just west of Holland Park and designed in 1866 by George Aitchison, Leighton House was home to the eponymous Frederic, Lord Leighton (1830–96), a painter belonging to the Aesthetic movement. The ground floor is served up in an Orientalist style, its exquisite Arab Hall added in 1879 and densely covered with blue and green tiles from Rhodes, Cairo, Damascus, and Iznik in Turkey.

A fountain tinkles away in the centre beneath the golden dome; even the wooden latticework of the windows and gallery was brought from Damascus. A fireplace upstairs inlaid with Chinese tiles, a stuffed peacock at the foot of the stairs and peacock quills in the fireplace amplify the Byzantine mood. The house also contains notable pre-Raphaelite paintings by Burne-Jones, Watts, Millais and Lord Leighton himself. Check the website for details of occasional late openings with live music and drinks.