What a lovely summer we have, and according to the locals with unprecedented high temperatures. We enjoy the beautiful days outside as much as possible, before the wet, unpleasant months re-emerge. During these terms I mainly choose indoor activities. But like those sunny days we have now we prefer to do as much as possible in the open air. Walking through London neighborhoods, having fun at the playground, visiting a zoo or city farm, and secretly a big favorite, the park. Where you can often find multiple components at the same time.
London is known for its Royal Parks, which we have already visited some of them, but also for its National Trusts. Places of historical interest or natural beauty that are maintained to this day by a charitable organization in the United Kingdom and are completely independent of the government. The income consists of entrance fees, memberships and donations and the management is in the hands of thousands of volunteers. The National Trust owns around 350 historic houses, gardens, factories and mills, where they receive 14 million paying visitors each year. In cooperation with local partners, the foundation manages forests, marshes, lakes, islands, beaches, farmland and archaeological heritage.
This week we visited a National Trust close to our neighborhood: Osterley Park & House. One of the last remaining country estates in London. When you walk through the gates of Osterley Park, you immediately escape the busy city life and will be surrounded by beautiful gardens, trees and wildlife animals. With the magnificent house of the Child’s family in the middle of the park, which has been made accessible to the public since 25 February 2017.
Osterley Park is partly public and free to visit, but if you want to visit the house and its surrounding gardens and forest you will be asked for a fee. You can buy a ticket at the door or online and if you have a National Trust membership card, like we have, you get unlimited acces during the whole year.
After a long walk through the park, where a lot of recreation and sport activities takes place, we moved towards the centre square surrounded by old stables which have been converted into various shops and eateries.
We enjoyed a delicious ice cream and decided to continue our route towards the House. A beautiful domain which has been created by architect Robert Adam for the Child Family at the end of the 18th century to amuse and impress friends and business partners. Today this palace still makes a big impression on its visitors.
Once inside, it immediately becomes clear that the interior has been left just as it was when the family lived here. Large sculptures, authentic furniture, classical ornaments, marble pillars and beautiful paintings adorn the different rooms. Striking is also the use of color for the time in which the house was built: the modern powder colors dominate the walls of the corridors and the rooms throughout the house.
Also remarkable are the many marigolds that can be found everywhere in the house. The marigold was the symbol of Child’s Bank which was also owned by the Child family and presumably the reason for their great success. There are counters available for children to try to count the marigolds, which is actually an impossible job since thousands are processed. Lara didn’t matter at all, she diligently counted on and came to a maximum of 116, quite well.
When you walk through the house you will be regularly approached by one of the friendly employees of the National Trust. They are happy to tell you more about the history of Osterley House and its previous owners. You can also read the written guides that describe the different details of the rooms.
A ticket for the house, gives you also access to its surrounding gardens and forest which are restored until the 18th century and offers an oasis of rest. When you visit the ticket centre, you can ask for a map, but even without you will certainly not get lost. The site features a 1.6 km walking path and leads you along beautiful flower gardens, century old trees, a rippling lake, an adventure playground for children and a large field with many cows.
What a pleasant to see how the history of England has been honored so well and how much pride and love it’s presented to made it accessible for the general public. The contribution is so valuable and important for these National Trusts.
We visited Osterley Park & House on a nice day and for a moment you would forget that you’re in London. Like you’re spending a good time on the countryside. Unfortunately the low-flying planes to Heathrow Airport quickly realize that you’re not. Luckily, the beautiful surroundings have the upper hand and you will easily get blend into the wonderful world of the natural beauty and history of Englands National Trust.
If you would like to have more information about Osterley House & Garden, the National Trusts or a membership, then click here.