Explore Wimpole Hall
Wimpole Hall has reopened and we're looking forward to welcoming you back. Safety remains our priority, so you may find your visit a little different to usual. We're gradually reopening spaces within the Hall, so please take some time to read through this article for further information on what's currently open.
Open daily, 11am - 3pm (please note, last entry to the Hall is at 2.30pm)
We're starting by re-opening a third of the house to ensure we can keep our visitors, staff and volunteers safe. The new route takes in selected rooms on the ground floor and we're hoping to gradually open more ground floor rooms later this year. Thank you for your patience during this time.
We've reduced the number of people we can welcome to ensure the safety of our visitors, staff, volunteers and local communities. To help keep everyone safe, please follow social distancing and government guidance during your visit.
- All booked tickets give entry to the house, however due to social distancing measures, we are having to limit the number of people inside the house at one time, so you may have a short wait outside.
- If you're planning to visit the house, we would advise that you book an earlier entry slot, so you have plenty of time.
- If the queue for the house is long, why not enjoy a coffee or a walk around the gardens and come back later in the day when it's a little quieter?
Wimpole Hall has a rich history of many different owners, all putting their mark on the architecture and interior design of the building.
It is a complex house with a spectacular architectural pedigree. The original building (1640-70) was almost certainly designed by its owner, Sir Thomas Chicheley. It was extended in 1713-21 by James Gibbs and decorated by Sir James Thornhill. In the mid-18th century, Philip Yorke, 1st Earl of Hardwicke, commissioned Henry Flitcroft to re-face the central block and to make various internal alterations.
The 3rd Earl called in Sir John Soane to design the Yellow Drawing room, with its sophisticated arches and vaults, and an austere but beautiful bath house. Wimpole’s interior is a rich mixture of mainly 18th-century decoration, including a spectacular Baroque chapel with trompe l’eoil murals by Thornhill. There is also a library designed by Gibbs for Edward Harley, Earl of Oxford.
Furnishing the house
Captain George and Mrs Elsie Bambridge bought Wimpole in 1938, with the Hall almost entirely empty of contents.
Over the next 40 years the Bambridges slowly furnished and decorated the house, seeking out pieces that were either once at Wimpole or had strong connections to the estate or previous owners.
Highlights such as the 1780s state bed, and the exquisite gilded sofas made especially to fit the curved walls of Sir John Soane’s Yellow Drawing Room, show how a grand country house would have looked in its heyday.
Alongside the more formal rooms sit the cosier more personal spaces that make the house a home and reflect the Bambridges’ personalities and tastes. Look out for the collection of 18th and 19th century conversation pieces that decorate the drawing rooms, delicate French porcelain figures, and collections of carriage prints.
The four emperors
Four magnificent emperors are on display in Wimpole’s grand entrance hall. The spectacular marble busts are back on show in a room they last graced in the time of Elsie Bambridge, Wimpole’s last private owner.
Yellow Drawing Room
Sir John Soane designed this dramatic interior in 1793, removing seven rooms and a staircase to make way for it. This was the setting for Queen Victoria’s reception 50 years later.
The basements at Wimpole give a fantastic example of life below stairs.The Housekeeper's Room and Dry Store evoke memories of times past.
Imagine the bells ringing, cooking smells and the hustle and bustle in the basements, providing an excellent service to the owners upstairs.
The owners of Wimpole Hall commissioned some of England’s finest architects to make their mark on the building.
Gibbs, Flitcroft, Soane and Kendall have all left fantastic examples of their work - some of which can be seen side by side.
Did you know...
- There are 88 lion heads in the Yellow Drawing Room
- Thomas Chicheley was considered one of Britain's best tennis players
- Queen Victoria stayed here for two nights in 1843
- Edward, Lord Harley's library had 50,000 books and 350,000 prints
- Mrs Bambridge, Rudyard Kipling's daughter, gave us Wimpole in 1976