Kenwood House in Hampstead Heath: the countryside in the city

This walk, set around a charming stately home converted into a free museum, has got to be one of the most romantic and scenic in London, which attracts lovers, dog walkers, young families and culture vultures, for its history, art and open air concerts.
Kenwood House

Kenwood House in short:

  • With its 325 hectares of woods, Hampstead Heath is one of the largest natural open spaces in London.
  • Kenwood takes its name from Caen Wood (le bois de Caen) after its original land owner in the 11th century, a Norman lord originating from the French town of Caen.
  • The original palace was built in 1616. It was then renovated and extended between 1764 and 1779 according to plans designed by neoclassical architect Robert Adam, who added the library, one of his most famous building.
  • The property was then bought in 1925 by Lord Iveagh, a member of the Guinness family who left it to English Heritage after his death in 1927. It opened to the public in 1928.
  • Now turned into a museum, Kenwood House continues to house Lord Iveagh’s art collection which famously includes A Woman Playing the Guitar by Vermeer and a self portrait by Rembrandt, as well as works by Gainsborough, Boucher, Frans Half, Van Dyck and Turner.
  • Of particular note are the sculptures in the landscaped gardens surrounding the house, which include a work by Henry Moore.
  • Part of the movie Notting Hill was filmed at Kenwood House.
  • The open air concerts organised around the lake are returning this year on 26 June, until 21 August. Performances will include Blondie, Rufus Wainwright, Jamie Cullum, Diana Krall and Will Young. Profits go to the maintenance of the property.


Kenwood House, Hampstead Lane, NW3 (Hampstead, Golders Green). Tel: (+44) 020 7413 1443;

Le lac du bois de Kenwood

Le lac du bois de Kenwood