London’s Hidden Gems, Leighton House, Holland Park

Leighton-House-Narcisus-Hall1There are so many hidden gems tucked away behind London’s busy streets.  As you enter Leighton House and are immediately greeted by the splendour of the mosaic entrance all deep blues and turquoise you realise this is a very precious gem indeed.  Leighton House is very close to the beautiful Holland Park in the borough of Kensington and Chelsea and is the former home and studios of the painter Lord Fredrick Leighton.

It’s a large red brick house on a quiet street with one of those ubiquitous blue plaques that adorn so many buildings in this part of London.  Entering the house you are immediately transported to another world.  The entrance hall is in such contrast to the street you enter by that I defy anyone not audibly gasp when seeing it for the first time.  I have been here a few times now and I’m still always thrilled by it.  Leighton spent much of his time travelling in the middle east and this influence is evident throughout the house, with paintings, those glorious tiles and rugs and fabrics.

The top floor is given over to his studio, it is vast, and drenched in light from the high windows.  The walls contain examples of his paintings and there is much to wander around and enjoy. The house also has a gallery with a changing programme of exhibitions included in the ticket price.

There is a tranquility about Leighton House that is a welcome relief in a busy and often chaotic city.  A lovely place to visit if you are looking for somewhere a little off the beaten track.Leighton House

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