A guide to Leighton House Museum

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Whether you love architecture, art, interior design, history or learning about unique people from the past, one spot you may want to visit in London is Leighton House Museum.

Once the home of Victorian artist Frederic, Lord Leighton, this museum is the only purpose-built studio-house open to the public in the United Kingdom. The building has been called one of the “most remarkable” structures of the 19th century, and it contains an interesting collection of paintings and sculptures.

Today, visitors can explore the museum’s vast collections, see some magnificent architecture and learn about the life of Frederic, Lord Leighton.

Natural History Museum

History of the museum

Leighton House was built by architect George Aitchison in 1866. It features red Suffolk bricks with Caen Stone dressings and has a simple classical style. Over the next 30 years, the architect extended the building per Leighton’s wishes, creating more and more space for the collection.

Highlights include the stunning Arab Hall, with its golden dome, intricate mosaics and walls covered in beautiful tiles. Upstairs, you’ll find Leighton’s painting studio, where many prominent figures (including Queen Victoria) were entertained.

The museum today includes 76 oil paintings by Leighton, as well as examples of his sculptures and drawings. Other artists whose work is on display include John Everett Millais, George Frederic Watts, Solomon J Solomon, J A M Whistler and Edward von Steinle.

Opening hours

Leighton House Museum is open daily from 10 am to 5:30 pm, and closed on Tuesdays.

Getting there

The museum is situated in the affluent Holland Park neighbourhood in Kensington. Its address is 12 Holland Park Road, W14 8LZ.

There are several Underground stations nearby, all of which are within a short walking distance of the museum. These include

    • Kensington Olympia – On the District line and Overground.
    • High Street Kensington – On the Circle, and District lines.
    • Earl’s Court – On the District and Piccadilly lines.
    • Holland Park – On the Central line.

A variety of local buses serve the area, and if you’re planning to drive, there are numerous parking options – including the Holland Park car park and on-street pay and display.

Other nearby attractions

Once you’re done looking around the museum, why not take some time to explore some of the other popular attractions in the local area. Here are a few options you might want to consider:

    • The Design Museum – This is may not be a new museum, but it moved to its new premises in West London at the end of 2016, and the larger location means there’s a lot of new exhibits to see. The museum covers product, industrial, graphic, fashion and architectural design and entrance is free to its permanent collection.
    • Holland Park – This 54-acre park is the largest in Kensington, and it includes a variety of different gardens and ecological spaces. The northern half of the park is semi-wild woodland, while the carefully groomed Kyoto Garden is a traditional Japanese friendship garden, complete with water features, stone lanterns and even peacocks. It also includes a lovely covered theatre, which plays host to operatic performances throughout the summer.
    • High Street Kensington – This popular shopping street includes a number of top luxury brands, as well as your favourite high-street shops.
    • The Roof Garden – Situated on the top of an old department store, this unique rooftop venue is open to the public during the day and features several beautiful gardens and restaurants. It’s also a popular spot for weddings and special events, and in the evening, it transforms into a stylish nightclub.
    • Kensington Palace – The official London residence of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, as well as several other members of the royal family, this historic house was also home to William and Mary, George II, Queen Victoria and Princess Diana.

Accommodation

If you’re looking for somewhere to stay near Leighton House Museum, then why not book a room at the Park Grand London Kensington? This stylish boutique hotel is situated in the heart of West London. It’s less than a mile from the museum and only a two-minute walk from Earl’s Court Tube station, making it convenient for visitors wishing to explore other parts of the capital.

Our spacious, comfortable rooms come with a variety of homely amenities, including flat-screen televisions, free Wi-Fi, tea and coffee-making facilities and even mobile phones that you can use during your stay. What’s more, our hotel is equipped with a restaurant so you can relax with a tasty meal, or indulge with a traditional afternoon tea.

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