A favourite National Trust, Ham House Richmond sits beautifully by the river: enchanted according to many and haunted according to some. We visited regularly over the years and Ham House with kids and its gardens’ autumnal splendours make the perfect day out and topical haunted house London Halloween season.
400 years and still counting, the estate is a joy to explore, with its perfect geometry of the Cherry Gardens, wide garden avenues, heritage kitchen garden.
A beautiful ilustration of life during the reigns of Charles I and II, the house is filled with art, ancient furniture and sumptuous textiles.
Particularly fascinating for my 4 years old and I is the library – not just the books collections but the maps and globes at the time.
We are stunned to discover that 250 years ago Hawaii and New Zealand did not make it on the map, whilst Australia was called New Holland.
There’s also the trail that we follow with our 3 kids age 3-4. They get very excited about counting dragons on the staircase, finding ebony wooden silver mirror, statues and paintings.
Next, the gardens are the perfect place to run around. The kids take over, play royals; cook witch recipes with pebbles, sticks and pretend worms; hunt and make campfires. The list is vast and their imagination runs wild – with the autumnal colours and setting out of an art gallery.
We break for lunch at Ham’s lovely orangery. All is home grown produce and yum: tomato soup, salads, mushroom quiches, baked potatoes.
The little explorers go back to the vegetable gardens; we smell fennel and sage, admire the plumply pumpkins, red peppers and leafy salads and even eat some raspberries.
There is a sweet Big Ben wooden small playarea behind the cafe, they get again excited about the bridges to the miniature wood Ham House Richmond.
Witch arts & crafts are next and we keep busy designing and decorating hats. Spooky tours and tales of a haunted house London Halloween are on for the full week: Halloween hocus pocus 10am -5pm and Terrible Terror Tours 5-6pm.
Ham House with kids is therapeutically zen but also fun – happy half term all!
PS: National Trust kindly provided us with day passes – many thanks again. As usual mischievous kids, pics and impressions, ours.