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.
We have changed the opening arrangements of our sites to play our part in stopping the spread of COVID-19. The grounds of Kenwood Estate are open to local visitors and Members to use for exercise during the lockdown period. We ask everyone to bear in mind the government’s latest advice on travelling before you plan your visit. All the interior spaces, including Kenwood House and our shops, will be closed, but the grounds remain open. Our café is closed, we have a limited takeaway with hot drinks and cake. We have additional safety measures in place at all of our sites including social distancing, enhanced cleaning and limits on visitor numbers to protect the health of all our Members, visitors, staff and volunteers. Thank you for your understanding and patience during this difficult time.
Please note: to comply with government guidelines, all interior spaces are currently closed including Kenwood House. The service wing toilets will be open for use with additional cleaning in place. Please see the information below for full details.
We've made some changes to help keep you safe, and things might be a little different when you visit. Here's everything you need to know.
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