Apsley House

Museums, History Mayfair
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Apsley House
© English Heritage Photo Library
Called No 1 London because it was the first London building encountered on the road to the city from the village of Kensington, Apsley House was built by Robert Adam in the 1770s. The Duke of Wellington kept it as his residence for 35 years. Although his descendants still live here, several rooms are open to the public, providing a superb feel for the man and his era. Admire the extravagant porcelain dinnerware and plates or ask for a demonstration of the crafty mirrors in the scarlet and gilt picture gallery. Apsley House is home to around 200 masterpieces including paintings by Velazquez, Goya and Rubens.


Venue name: Apsley House
Address: Hyde Park Corner
Opening hours: until Nov 3 2013: 11am-5pm Wed-Sun
Transport: Tube: Green Park/Knightsbridge
Price: £6.70, £6 concs, £4 children, under-5s free, £22.40 family (2+3); English Heritage mems free; joint ticket with Wellington Arch £8.20/£7.70/£5.20/£22.40
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Kritt N

Step inside the home of the Duke of Wellington and be immersed in a world of splendour and opulence once owned by the Duke of the 18th century.

Apsley House is grand old house just like the Wellington Memorial that lives proudly across the road. The Duke, real name Arthur Wellesley, fought alongside Admiral Lord Nelson to bring home victory for the Royal Navy against Napoleon in the Napoleonic War.

Given the renaissance paintings that decorates the wall, the sculptures and opulent rooms, it’s hard to believe that Apsley House was once the home where the Duke once lived. It gives you a proper glimpse into the Duke's life, his taste in interior design, his personality and his generosity in hosting lavish occasions such as celebrating the anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar. His personality has certainly left a mark on this old house.

Naturally, there are things you have to see. You won’t miss it for sure, but do take some time to admire the staircase in Apsley House as well as the towering and, rather flattering, statue of Napoleon posing as the God Mars (ironic I know - you’ll have to listen to the audio guide to understand why the Duke has the 3.45 meters tall statue of the very man he defeated at Trafalgar) . Also take in the splendour of the the Dining room on the 1st floor which can hold 84 people and the grand old piano, the very piano in fact, which the Duke once played on himself.

I could be wrong but not all parts of the house is open to the public to see which is a bit of a bummer. Nevertheless, you can view the hotel in all its entirety in an hour which is manageable and a good thing if you, like me, has the tendency to read everything and listen to everything in the audio guide and feel overwhelmed by how much there is to take in on trips like this to an heritage site.

The very handy multimedia guide with a touch screen is insightful, informative and super easy to use plus, there is a audio for kids too. It’s free to rent to so make sure you grab a hold of one.

Well worth visiting and smack bag in the middle of London. If you’re looking for more culture to explore beyond the galleries and museums in London (because I assume you’ve done it all), this is one worth visiting.

madeleine jones

Lovely website - beautiful.images coupled with history as well as other places of interest nearby. Clearly & concisely laid out containing all necessary information for visitors.