UNLIMITED ACCESS TO OVER 400 HISTORIC PLACES
Live and breathe the story of England at royal castles, historic gardens, forts & defences, world-famous prehistoric sites and many others.
Many of our historic sites are now open and we're delighted to be welcoming you back. We hope to reopen almost all of them in August, with a few exceptions. The grounds of Kenwood Estate are now open for free and the Stewards Room is serving hot and cold drinks and snacks to take away. The garden shop is open for you to browse and purchase a range of chutneys, wine, accessories plants and garden items. There will be a one-way system in place and we encourage contactless payments where possible. From early August we hope to open the main café. Unfortunately, we are currently uncertain when we can open the house to visitors.
The grounds of Kenwood Estate are now open for free. Although things might be a little different when you visit, you’ll still be able to enjoy exploring the places where history really happened. And you’ll still be given a warm and safe welcome by our friendly – if socially distant – staff and volunteers.
The first house on the site is probably a brick structure built by John Bill, King James I's printer.
Find out more about the history of Kenwood
Brook Bridges buys the house. His son transforms it into a two-storey red-brick building with large sash windows.
Kenwood passes through many owners before being bought by John Stuart, 3rd Earl of Bute.
Bute adds the orangery to the west of the south front and introduces new plant species to the grounds.
William Murray, 1st Earl of Mansfield, buys Kenwood for £4,000. He uses it as a weekend retreat.
Adam adds a new entrance and attic-storey bedrooms. He also modernises existing interiors including the library, one of his finest interiors.
Read a description of Kenwood
Murray commissions Robert Adam and his brother James to remodel the house to make room for more family members.
Murray's nephew David, 2nd Earl of Mansfield, expands the house with two brick wings, and enhances the grounds with the help of Humphry Repton.
Another David Murray appoints architect William Atkinson to add second-floor service-wing rooms. Atkinson also installs additional bookcases in the library.
Kenwood is leased to wealthy tenants, including Grand Duke Michael Mikhailovich and American millionairess Nancy Leeds.
Alan David Murray, 6th Earl of Mansfield, sells the contents of the house, including some of the original furnishings.
Edward Cecil Guinness, 1st Earl of Iveagh, buys the house to display highlights from his collection of paintings. After this death, the Iveagh Bequest Act requires Kenwood to be opened freely to the public.
See highlights from the collections at Kenwood
Kenwood houses servicemen during the Second World War. After the war it is handed over to London County Council.
English Heritage takes over and carries out repairs and conservations part-funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund. Kenwood is reopened to the public in 2013.
Learn more about Kenwood