Chiswick House

Richmond, Kew & Hampton Court

Designed by the third Earl of Burlington (1694–1753) – fired up with passion for all things Roman after his grand tour of Italy – this stunner of a neo-Palladian pavillion with an octagonal dome and colonnaded portico is a delight. The almost overpoweringly grand interior includes the coffered dome of the Upper Tribunal – left ungilded, the walls below are decorated with eight enormous paintings.

Admire the stunningly painted ceiling (by William Kent) of the Blue Velvet Room and look out for carvings of the pagan vegetative deity, the Green Man, in the marble fireplaces of the Green Velvet Room.

Lord Burlington also planned the house’s original gardens, now Chiswick Park, a huge 26-hectare expanse surrounding the house, but they have been much altered since his time and were fully restored in 2010. Children will love them – look out for the stone sphinxes near the Cedar of Lebanon trees (another sphinx made of lead can be found in the Lower Tribuna).

Home to a splendid 19th-century conservatory and a gateway designed by Inigo Jones, Chiswick House also has an excellent cafe. Download an audio tour from the website.

The house is about a mile southwest of the Turnham Green tube station and 750m northeast of Chiswick train station.