Discover Ham House
Nestled on the banks of the River Thames, Ham House, as it is seen today, is largely the creation of the tenacious Duchess of Lauderdale and her husband the Duke in the late 17th century. Together they transformed Ham, originally built in 1610, into one of the grandest Stuart houses in England. Immerse yourself in the 17th century as you discover each ornately decorated room in turn.
Elizabeth Murray was a remarkable woman for her time, a leader in fashions and a prominent member of the royal court. Her home was designed to impress a parade of prestigious guests. Look for astonishingly well-preserved wall hangings, paintings and furniture with rich colours and bright gilding.
Our Ham House Highlights and Architecture guided tours are a great way to find out more - check out details of dates and times here.
Explore well-preserved interiors
Start your visit in the Great Hall, a grand and impressive reception space. Tread in historic footsteps as you cross the original 1610 black and white marble floor. Then glide up the Great Staircase with its fine balustrade panels carved with trophies of arms. There are views of the formal garden here too, allowing you to enjoy its beauty from a different perspective.
Linger in the Round Gallery for a stunning view of the hall from above. Here, the Duke and Duchess’s esteemed guests would meet and socialise before an evening of food and entertainment.
In the next room you will find the richly decorated North Drawing Room, created in the 1630s by Elizabeth’s father William Murray, who used many of the same craftspeople that created Whitehall Palace.
Next is the Long Gallery, complete with portraits of family members and important friends, as well as stunning cabinets and tables from the 1670s.
The first floor also holds the Green Closet, the Queen’s Apartments (designed for Charles II’s queen, Catherine of Braganza) and the Library.
A new photogrammetry project showcasing the Green Closet at Ham House means the internationally-significant room and its collection will now be more accessible to more visitors.
Ham House curator Dr Hannah Mawdsley has been working closely with volunteer and photogrammetry expert David Fletcher on the project, capturing every inch of the Green Closet in intricate detail.
The Green Closet is the only surviving complete 17th century closet in the country, containing many of its original contents including stunning Japanese cabinets and intricate miniature paintings.
It includes Nicholas Hilliard’s miniature of Elizabeth I, an example of one of the Queen's 'Mask of Youth' portraits.
The photogrammetry project will allow visitors to digitally explore the room, taking in its green silk wall hangings, carved woodwork, painted ceilings, cabinets, fireplace and gilded doors.
The Green Closet is upstairs and has limited access and low light levels, so the new virtual tour will allow all visitors to explore each aspect in detail.
This means visitors who may never have had the opportunity to visit the room can now access its treasures.
Featured in the recently published book, 125 Treasures from the Collections of the National Trust, one of the most special treasures in the Green Closet is the miniature of the Man Consumed by Flames.
Painted around 1610 by Huguenot refugee Isaac Oliver, it has been displayed in this remarkable cabinet room since the 1670s.
Isaac Oliver enjoyed the patronage of Anne of Denmark, Queen of James I, having previously been a pupil of the famed miniaturist Nicholas Hilliard. The symbolism of the flames and the motto above the sitter’s head (Alget qui non ardet – ‘he grows cold who does not burn’) symbolises burning passion, perhaps in religious or romantic love.
Discover private living spaces
Descend the Great Staircase to further explore the ground floor and the private spaces of the Duke and Duchess. Pass through a hidden door to the Duchess’s Closet and then through into the White Closet and Volury.
Adding to the opulent beauty is the Marble Dining Room where carved oak panelling, a parquet floor and gilt leather on the walls would have provided the perfect stage for the elegant dinners and entertainment in the heart of the house. Close by you will find the Duke’s Dressing Room, the Duchess’s Bedchamber and Duke’s Closet.
Downstairs you can explore the Beer Cellar, the Duchess’s Bathroom, and the Kitchen, where volunteers run regular baking demonstrations.
Above or below stairs, you’ll find treasures around every corner of Ham House. Why not explore the house’s hidden charms for yourself and meet the welcoming and knowledgeable room guides?
Explore the rich history of Ham House on the banks of the River Thames near Richmond – a rare example of 17th-century life, treasures and architecture; hardly changed in 300 years.
Explore the formal gardens at Ham House, a celebration of the past with a modern sensibility. Enjoy a historic Kitchen Garden, recreated to provide food and cut flowers all year round.
Set in historic buildings, the Orangery Café and shop offer warm and inviting spaces to relax and treat yourself on your visit to Ham House and Garden.
Among the rare collection of cabinets at Ham House in Richmond, discover fashionable 17th-century statement pieces, strong boxes and secret hiding places.
Wander around the riverside landscape surrounding Ham House and explore parkland, meadows and wetland.
Take a look behind the scenes and discover the work that goes into keeping this special place looking its best.
Historic buildings are a treasure trove of stories, art and collections. Learn more about what makes these places so special and plan your visit.