Experience 17th-century life at the great Stuart Ham House on the banks of the River Thames, just a 45-minute cycle or 25-minute drive from Walton-on-Thames.
Built in 1610, Ham House was received as a gift to William Murray from King Charles I in 1626. William and his daughter Elizabeth transformed Ham into the house it is today.
History of Ham House
English Civil War
Under Charles I rule, the English Civil War broke out in 1642 where William had no choice but to fight against the Parliamentarians and leave his wife and children to defend themselves at Ham House.
In 1649, the Royalists lost the war; Charles I was tried for treason and soon after beheaded. His son Charles II was unable to take back the throne and left England.
A Cunning Plan
The Murray’s experienced a tough five years after this as a Royalist family, as Oliver Cromwell became the ‘Lord Protector’ of the Commonwealth. However, Elizabeth, the eldest daughter of William, managed to keep Cromwell on her good side and also work with the exiled Prince Charles, to later help him restore power in 1660.
Elizabeth’s second marriage to the Duke of Lauderdale in 1672 led to a powerful partnership. As a key member of King Charles II’s cabinet, Lauderdale and Elizabeth made a great restoration court couple, travelling wide and bringing back exotic furniture from across the globe.
Ham House Today
As one of the grandest Stuart houses, Ham House changed very little after Elizabeth’s death ‒ giving us much of the same luxury and extravagance of Ham House today.
Said to be one of the most haunted in Britain, Ham House is home to a huge collection of paintings ‒ and is even home to a rare Chinese teapot!
Home to the restored walled garden, Ham House includes a productive kitchen-garden, complete with a criss-cross of paths, summerhouses, and statues.
- The Kitchen Garden
- South Terrace Border
- Cherry Garden
- The Plats
Set amongst the kitchen garden, the Orangery makes a beautiful spot for a café. Here you can enjoy freshly prepared food made from produce homegrown at Ham House.
Café is open from 29th June with limited takeaway service.
For latest opening times check the Ham House site.
How to get to there
Fancy leaving the car at home? From Walton-on-Thames, you can take the overground to Clapham. Change here to take the train to Richmond. Once arriving at Richmond station you can take the Ham House trail through some of the most beautiful scenery in England!
Richmond Station to Ham House: Historic Scenic Walk
Time: 1 hour 30 mins – 2 hours
Distance: 2.9 miles (4.6 km)
For further information on the walking trail click here.
Once in Richmond take the 65 or 371 bus from The Quadrant Richmond (Stop F) to Ham Street.
Fancy a Challenge?
Pack your cycling kit and a map and take the National Cycle Network route 4 which passes near Ham House. If you are cycling from Walton-on-Thames you can enjoy the beautiful scenery of Home Park ‒ but be sure to check out the ferry times before setting off!
Ham House Bookings
This National Trust site has now reopened and will be releasing tickets every Friday from June 9th to make visiting Ham House safe. To choose your visiting time and to purchase a ticket click here. Hampton Court Palace is also beginning to reopen some of its grounds on a booking basis.
Have you visited Ham House before? Let us know your favourite spots below!