There’s so much to do in London and when you're spoilt for choice, you often don’t look under your nose. Well today we are - just a three minute walk from La Gaffe in fact…we're off to explore Burgh House, a fabulous historic house in Hampstead, built over 300 years ago and oozing beauty and charm.
Curious? Well, keep reading…
Burgh House in the 18th & 19th centuries
Built in 1704 (when Queen Anne was on the throne), the house sat close to the fashionable Hampstead Wells Spa (back then called the chalybeate springs), where wealthy Londoners came to reinvigorate themselves. It had some interesting occupants over the years, including the spa’s doctor, William Gibbons, Israel Lewis (an upholsterer who was fined by a local court for putting a ‘dung stall’ in the garden) and the Royal East Middlesex Militia.
Burgh House in the 20th century
After a few more tenants came and went (including Ridyard Kipling’s daughter and Thomas Grylls, a stained glass designer who actually designed the Rose Window In the Poet’s Corner of Westminster Abbey) between 1937-1946 it stood unoccupied. Luckily, it suffered no bomb damage in the Second World War but it wasn’t in the greatest state when purchased and restored by Camden Council. Until 1977, it was used as a community centre and local advice hub.
In the late 1970's disaster almost struck, when dry rot was found and the council was ready to let it out on a commercial lease. Enter a group of determined local residents, who felt it deserved better - they fought the development proposal and won! After setting up a trust, they reopened the house, two years later, and here it still stands.
Burgh House today
Burgh House isn’t just an elegant and attractive listed building - it’s also home to the Hampstead Museum, where you can peruse all kinds of delightful objects relating to the area, including clothing, artworks and memorabilia only the oldest of us can remember (we’re talking about the humble typewriter here).
It’s also a true cultural hub, offering all kinds of events both for locals and visitors from further afar - concerts, opera recitals, etc. It showcases the work of artists on an ongoing basis in the Peggy Jay Gallery and it's a place where you can listen to free, live classical music fromRoyalACademymusivcians whocome hereto rehearse before their shows.
Amazingly, Burgh House prides itself on being a place where all are welcome, which is why it doesn’t charge entry fees.
What’s even more impressive Is that the house is entirely self-supporting - it receives no money whatsoever from local or national government, so raises funds in a number of different ways (see below) and also runs a gorgeous little cafe by the name of ‘the Buttery’.
It’s the perfect place to order tea and scones (with butter and jam of course) or brunch (the smoked salmon sandwich on rye bread is excellent!) and take the weight off your feet in their delightful garden.
What’s on at Burgh House?
Burgh House is a gorgeous space to listen to music and its wood-panelled downstairs room hosts many concerts - opera singers from Italy, chamber music, etc. It is open for workshops (the latest one giving those interested in pottery a chance to work with clay for the day), knitting meet-ups, and its regular yoga classes.
Furthermore, it holds a very popular ‘Book Lab’ series, where authors in conversation with journalists talk about their new works. Each evening begins with an informal ‘book club’ feel and then the writer reads from their work, talks about what got them penning and then there’s a question-and-answer series with the audience. Upcoming authors include Laura Freeman, Ian Sanjay Patel and Phillipe Sands.
Finally, it’s a venue for tying the knot! Yes, you can actually marry here (and it truly is a beautiful spot). The house runs ‘WeddingOpenDays’ periodically where you can come and ask questions, meet suppliers, etc. Truth be told, after the Town Hall it's the most popular matrimonial venue in the borough of Camden (and the funds raised from holding of these private events all go towards keeping the building open to the public the rest of the week).
We feel very privileged to have our business in a neighbourhood where these kinds of spaces exist, giving everyone (whether they live locally or are visiting from further afield), So get yourself down to New End Square (a stone’s throw from us) take a look around and support this fantastic venture by stopping for a cup of coffee or popping into its lovely gift shop.
If you’re looking for comfortable and well-priced hotel in Hampstead, then look no further than us - we’re family-owned and family-run and promise you not just a warm welcome but a lovely stay and a mean cappuccino breakfast the next morning! To book a room directly or to find out more by phone, don’t hesitate to get in contact with us - we’ll be happy to hear from you.