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Explore inside Lamb House

The front of Lamb House, East Sussex
The front of Lamb House | © National Trust Images/Andrew Butler

Steeped in literary history, sitting at the heart of the historic town of Rye, this red brick Georgian house has decades of stories to tell inside its walls. The home of some of the most famous writers of their time, Henry James and E.F. Benson, along with later tenants such as Rumer Godden, it is easy to see why this house became a popular writer’s retreat. Imagine life in the early 1900s, with inspiring views from the windows, and comfortable furnishings, helping to fuel their creativity.

Breakfast room closure

Please note that there is no access to the breakfast room or the courtyard area outside it while essential building works are carried out on the Green Parlour. There may be a small section of garden path roped off next to the courtyard.

Bringing the house to life

In 2016 a three-year project began, following a period where the property had been tenanted and only partially open. The project involved opening previously closed rooms and spaces, particularly on the first floor, and showcasing the stories it contains and the writing it has inspired. Historic panelling in the oak parlour and the King’s Room was restored, the collections re-displayed, and a reinterpretation of how the stories of Henry James and E.F. Benson were told.

The King's Room

The King’s Room on the first floor acquired its name when George I [sic] was forced ashore by a storm and sought shelter for several nights there. Lamb House was the home of the Mayor and deemed the most suitable dwelling to accommodate the King, who was given its finest room.

This room was also used by Henry James as a guest room (a tradition E.F. Benson continued). Unfortunately, there are no archival images showing how the room was furnished during James’ tenure, although the 18th-century panelling and corner chimney piece survive.

The King's Room at Lamb House, East Sussex
The King's Room at Lamb House | © National Trust Images/James Dobson

The Green Parlour

The Green Parlour is closed for periods at a time while essential building work is underway. The room opens to visitors as the work gets underway to demonstrate how we care for, maintain, and conserve Lamb House for future generations.

A visit to Lamb House must include the Green Parlour or Room, which was used by Henry James and E.F. Benson as a writing room. Later this tradition was continued by National Trust tenants Montgomery Hyde, Rumer Godden and Brian Batsford Cook.

The garden room, where James and Benson enjoyed writing during the summer, was destroyed in 1940 during the war. The Green Room therefore, retaining some of its historic features, is the only space at Lamb House that is linked to James’ work. James wrote his three major novels in this room, The Wings of the Dove (1902), The Ambassadors (1903) and The Golden Bowl (1904), along with many others.

The White Parlour

The White Parlour was historically two separate guest bedrooms, and through archaeological research, we believe that the layout was altered by the National Trust following the post bomb-damage restoration of the house in the 1950s.

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Discover more at Lamb House

Find out when Lamb House is open, how to get here, the things to see and do and more.

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