Unseen Spaces tours at Polesden Lacey

An empty room in a heritage house

Our Unseen Spaces tours for 2017 have now finished - please check back in the new year for further information about Unseen Spaces tours.

Unseen Spaces tours run daily at 2.15pm. This tour is first come first served on the day. We suggest a donation of £2 per person towards the ‘Unlocking Polesden’ appeal. These contributions get us ever closer to unlocking more of the house.
 
Did you know that there are over 200 rooms in the house at Polesden Lacey? Twenty-nine of them are currently open to the public but the majority have been used as office, living and storage space since the house was inherited from Mrs Greville in 1942 by the National Trust. 
 

What are 'unseen spaces'?

When we use the term 'unseen spaces' we're refering to specific rooms and spaces, bedrooms, corridors, and working spaces, that were closed off and converted after the house was inherited.
 
These spaces include the backstairs, guest suites, the male servants' attic bedrooms, the first floor cooridors, the servants' hall, William McEwan's bedroom, and Mrs Greville's boudoir.
 
The bathroom in Mrs Greville's boudoir
A view into Mrs Greville's private bathroom
The bathroom in Mrs Greville's boudoir

What happens on a tour?

Over the years, each of these spaces was used as living space, storage spaces, or offices, and changes were made to the structure of the house in order to accomodate these functions.
 
On an Unseen Spaces tour, you’ll find out about how and why the house has changed over the years. More importantly, we'll tell you how we plan to return these fantastics rooms to their authentic state and rediscover their untold stories. 
 
This means restoring and opening an additional 40% of the house. 

 

Servants' Quarters

Away from the splendour of the showrooms, you’ll go behind the scenes to wander the servants’ quarters. Climb the backstairs to explore the bedrooms they shared and walk through the corridors they would have rushed down to serve Mrs Greville’s demanding and distinguished  guests. 
 
Servants would have to jump to action as soon as they were called
An Edwardian call board
Servants would have to jump to action as soon as they were called
 
On the first floor, you’ll have the chance to see a series of guest suites and learn about how they will be restored to their former glory from a time when guests, like the Aga Khan, stayed at Polesden. 
 

The king's suite

For the first time, visitors will be able to see King Edward VII’s bedroom and parlour, where he stayed during the very first house party at Polesden in 1909. We can only imagine how awkward that would have been for the party-loving royal as other guests in attendance that weekend included his mistress and her husband, as well as his ex-mistress and her husband too. 
 
The king's bedroom is currently used as a meeting room
A large meeting room in a heritage house
The king's bedroom is currently used as a meeting room

 

Family bedrooms

Anyone who's seen Polesden's gold saloon understands that the house was designed to impress, to be seen. As the tour explores Mr McEwan's bedroom and Maggie's boudoir, notice the different atmosphere in these quiet, private spaces and discover more about the personal lives of the family who called Polesden Lacey home. 
 
Unseen Spaces tours take place daily at 2.15. These tours are first come first served on the day.
 
 
Mrs Greville speaks with some guests with a Facebook logo in the corner of the picture

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