Hidden Secrets of London: Chiswick House and Gardens

There should be a law passed declaring that all historic houses and gardens must be visited at the end of sunny days, and as near to twilight as possible. There is a magic in dappling sun as it beams lazily through tree boughs that can’t quite be put into words. Especially in the beautiful Chiswick House and Gardens grounds.

Chiswick House and Gardens London Adventures of a London Kiwi

Chiswick House is a magnificent neo-Palladian villa set in beautiful historic gardens in west London. The house and grounds were created by two Georgian trendsetters, the architect and designer William Kent and his friend and patron Lord Burlington, the third Earl. Influenced by their travels on the Grand Tour, they rejected the showy, Baroque style, fashionable in England, in favour of a simpler, symmetrical design based on the classical architecture of Italy. They championed the work of the Venetian architect, Andrea Palladio and Chiswick House was one of the earliest English examples of what is called “neo-Palladian” style.

We only ever seem to visit near dusk; both intentionally and accidentally, and it makes such a difference when exploring the grounds. One almost expects to see young Victorian ladies appear, wearing demure bustles, talking soft gossip and holding a parasol over their shoulders. (Or perhaps I’ve been reading too many Jane Austin novels and watching too much Doctor Who.)

Chiswick House and Gardens London Adventures of a London Kiwi

Dogs appear, chasing sticks, shadows and balls around the grassy knolls, woofing excitingly to their human pack/owners, placing their paws on daisy speckled rolling lawns.

Chiswick House and Gardens London Adventures of a London Kiwi

Chiswick House and Gardens London Adventures of a London Kiwi

Lovers sit on the park benches, alternating between being deep in conversation and checking their social media channels.

Chiswick House and Gardens London Adventures of a London Kiwi

Families picnic on the shoulder of the man-made lake, their kids whizzing around the paths, tumbling over one another in their excitement.

Chiswick House and Gardens London Adventures of a London Kiwi  

Blossoms unfurl quietly to an explosion of colour, aided by local bees buzzing from between buds.

Chiswick House and Gardens London Adventures of a London Kiwi

Stone hewn sphinxes guard priceless art.

Chiswick House and Gardens London Adventures of a London Kiwi

Teacups tinkle in the extremely modern cafe tucked just around the corner of a leafy part of the garden.

Chiswick House and Gardens London Adventures of a London Kiwi

Topiary animals threaten to stampede, but never quite leaf their guard points. (Sorry not sorry.)

Chiswick House and Gardens London Adventures of a London Kiwi

Chiswick House and Gardens London Adventures of a London Kiwi

Local fowl flock to their snoozing spots.

Chiswick House and Gardens London Adventures of a London Kiwi

Chiswick House and Gardens London Adventures of a London Kiwi

Random blog-addicted Kiwis sometimes lurk around corners, camera in hand, hoping to catch just a little of that Chiswick House beauty.

Chiswick House and Gardens London Adventures of a London Kiwi 

Surrounding the Chiswick House beautiful villa, there are 65 acres of gardens, from classical vistas to ponds, fountains and an 18th-century wilderness that needs to be explored. The first time we visited years ago, was when Geocaching was all the rage, and I try to sneak us back there (often for the events – including the annual Chinese lantern festival) as often as possible.

Chiswick House and Gardens London Adventures of a London Kiwi

Do you have a favourite historic house & gardens?

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Chiswick House and Gardens London Adventures of a London Kiwi