Two Temple Place

Two Temple Place, London: Address, Phone Number, Two Temple Place Reviews: 4.5/5

Two Temple Place
4.5
The area
Address
Neighborhood: Trafalgar Square / Embankment
With its iconic Nelson’s Column, majestic oversized lions and brightly-lit fountains, Trafalgar Square is not just considered the heart of this bustling London hub, but the very core of the city itself. Beyond this esteemed gathering place are more famous icons, as well as a disproportionate numbers of the city’s most popular cultural attractions including the National Gallery and many West End theaters. Along the way to these major sites are quiet lanes and antiquated pubs to discover, as well as riverside vistas to enjoy on the embankment. With a calendar full of celebratory events, any time of year is a fine time to visit.
How to get there
  • Temple • 2 min walk
  • Blackfriars • 8 min walk
Popular mentions

4.5
211 reviews
Excellent
150
Very good
53
Average
6
Poor
2
Terrible
0

CheekyLondon
Southend-on-Sea, UK1,572 contributions
Beautiful building and interior decoration
Sep 2021
I went here on Open House Weekend 2021. You had to book, but it was well worth the effort. This is the former office of Lord Astor, of Waldorf Hotel fame. He had this place as his offices for 40 years and then sold it, and it has since had a variety of uses since. The artefacts etc are not in place, but the fabric and interior decoration is remarkably intact, despite bomb damage during WW2. It is truly luxury at it's peak and the stained glass atrium is beautiful, as is the wood panelling throughout. Lots of interesting things observe and you can spend over an hour looking round. There is a shop and in it an interesting array of things to buy. The exterior of the building is stunning too and in a lovely location, jut off the Embankment. It was free to visit.
Written September 9, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

rebeljenn
Ruislip, UK880 contributions
Beautiful historical building
May 2021
A beautiful and historical building...visitors can browse about 5 different rooms here, including the fascinating gallery room with the wood carvings and the beautiful staircase. There is a small tourist shop inside.
Written May 25, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

lonewolf44
Kingston upon Thames, UK1,253 contributions
Stunning gothic family home of Lord Waldorf Astor
May 2021
This stunning gothic house is free to visit on its occasional open days. If you live in London, you've probably seen it if you've ever walked down the Embankment from Waterloo Bridge towards the Inns of Court. Temple Place runs parallel to the Embankment past Temple tube station. It was built by the fabulously wealthy, but cripplingly shy failed US politician, Waldorf Astor, after he emigrated to Britain, to house his family. It's something of a playground for his obvious love of Englishness. Its largely wooden interior is adorned with statues of his favourite literary, historical and political figures. The imposing grand staircase leads up to the Great Hall, where stained glass windows recreate the feel of a country house's chapel. There are guides in each room ready and able to explain what you see annd once again, THIS S FREE!
Written May 24, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Ian C
London, UK23,970 contributions
Fascinating art and architecture
Mar 2020
How often do you visit a place, a building or an art exhibition and discover later that you have missed key details? One of the joys of going back again to places where you have been before is that you discover new things that you didn't spot on previous visits.

At Two Temple Place, built in the 1890's as the estate office for William Astor, he wanted to show that, while the building was in many ways traditional in its architectural style, it contained the latest in technology. Thus, the cherubs standing at the entrance are holding a light bulb and a telephone receiver, showing the new technology that visitors would find inside. How many people notice these as they walk up the steps into the building? I have to admit that I had visited on previous years when for the annual art/design exhibition and it was only this time that I spotted them!

This year's annual exhibition which was due to run until next week before it closed due to the current health situation, drawn from museums and galleries across England, focused on seven women collectors of textiles. The work on show ranged from traditional examples in the early 18th century across Europe, through the 19th and 20th centuries to contemporary work by artists including Hiroyuku Shindo, Michael Brennand-Wood, Eduardo Portillo & Maria Eugenia Davina and Yinka Shonibare, all displayed against the historic architecture of this wonderful building - in many ways these modern and contemporary works were the highlight of the exhibition, showing a traditional craft continued into the 21st century.

Sadly the exhibition was cut short by the closure of museums and galleries across the country, but we can look forward to 2021 and next year's annual exhibition.
Written April 10, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

ClanCat
Suffolk122 contributions
Go for the building - see any exhibition as a bonus
Mar 2020 • Couples
Popped into the "Unbound" exhibition on the recommendation of a friend. It was interesting enough, though rather small. Some lovely pieces in it, and some unusual items in the small gift shop.

But we were blown away by the building! Go if you can, look at the detail, and talk to the lovely staff, who knew a lot and couldn't have been more helpful. (Big thank you to them!)

Hope to get back again in the Open House weekend to see it without the window shades that all the delicate exhibition textiles required.
Written March 7, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Clive W
Orpington1,681 contributions
Super location but underwhelming exhibition
Mar 2020
The current annual exhibition at 2 Temple Place is called “Unbound”. It is free entry, so an opportunity to view this amazing house if you have not visited before. Having been many times previously, the exhibition was of more importance to me than the architecture of the building.

The exhibition explores stories of 7 “visionary” women who collected textiles. There are also some contemporary artworks. I had not heard of these women before. On display are examples of Balkan costumes, period clothes and various textiles. I admired the altar cloth embroidered by recuperating WW1 soldiers. I did not find the other exhibits particularly enthralling or unusual. The library area was very disappointing and included a display of china which seemed out of place. I was underwhelmed by the exhibition.

When I visited there was a school party. Although the children were well behaved, the number of children milling about was distracting and obviously they created extra noise. There were also adults drawing, mainly in the Hall upstairs, so the exhibition was busy.

In conclusion, visit the exhibition if you wish to see the house but do not make a special effort to visit the exhibition.
Written March 6, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

keith h
Chesham, UK706 contributions
Sumptuous Mixture of Architectural Styles.
Feb 2020
Built as the Estate Office for the fabulously wealthy William Waldorf Astor, an American of European ancestry who eventually set up residence in England & took British Nationality & gave up his U.S. Nationality.
. He chose this site for reasons that matched many of his aesthetics & engaged one of the prominent architects of the day, John Loughborough Pearson, to carry out the project. Pearson used some of the most skilled craftsmen of the period & had the luxury of a virtually blank cheque to draw from.
. The building is only open to the public whilst an annual exhibition is being held there, generally between some time in January to mid April. Admission is free.
. There is virtually no information available at the property concerning it's features, decor & history so it really is a Good idea to read such information as is available on Wikipedia prior to your visit although this deals mainly with the fabric of 2 , Temple Place & not much with it's creator, William Waldorf Astor who was a secretive & complex character.
. Of course, one can admire the building purely as a visual treat but I highly recommend buying Barbara Bryant's excellent book on 2 , Temple Place which I found to be on sale at the property . It not only contains some excellent photographs ( you can take photos yourself- no Flash allowed & most rooms are dark & some features partially obscured by exhibits from the current exhibition ) but also some fascinating facts concerning W. W. Astor & his lifestyle/ character.
. There is an old fashioned cloakroom, no lockers or attendant so best to keep your valuables to hand. You will be o. k. to carry round a small bag with you- I was requested to keep my small rucksack off my back ; a reasonable request as the place was fairly busy.There are toilets available & they are of a very Good standard, too. Also a small cafe which I did not use or even look in on. There is a gift shop upstairs in a room off the gallery at the head of The Staircase Hall.
. The exterior of 2 , Temple Place is built with Portland stone. A striking weather vane topped with a dazzling , golden coloured copper representation of Columbus's ship, the Santa Maria sits atop the building.
. Inside, for purposes of your visit you should turn right from the entrance hall into the Lower Gallery which was once divided up for business purposes into different rooms but is now one long room.
. In Astor's time, more exalted visitor's would push on straight ahead into the stunning Staircase Hall. The Staircase Hall leads to an upper gallery off of which you can access The Library & The Great Room.
. It is not my place to describe every detail of the craftsmanship on display here which would take up a lot of space but suffice to say that much of the carving & imagery reflects W. W. Astor's particular tastes in literature & his view of his family's origin's & place in the World & those historical character's that he held in esteem.
. The stained glass windows set at each end of The Great Room are particularly striking, one representing Sunrise & the other Sunset. Also, of exceptional quality is the door leading from The Great Room to the Gallery which bears beautifully executed plaques representing characters from Arthurian Legend.
. Throughout, the finest materials have been used & wrought by expert craftsmen.
Of necessity , some features are obscured by exhibits. This is of note in The Great Room where the windows all along one side are covered, making the room unnaturally dark.
. Some damage occurred to the building during WW2. Astor's bedroom has gone- After the death of his wife he more or less lived at 2 , Temple Place.
Also gone is the fireplace which stood at the West end of The Great Room, the spectacular plaster ceiling which once existed in The Library & the Marble Mantle piece, although this still exists, albeit in storage.
.
Written February 29, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

FinchleyLass
London, UK77 contributions
Spectacular interior wood carving
Feb 2020
This place is only open to the public during special exhibitions. (Otherwise it is hired out for events). I really wanted to see the spectacular wooden interior so went to see exhibition Unbound- textiles collected by women collectors past and present. Interesting but quite a small space when there are lots of visitors. I inquired about the building itself as there were no leaflets around or information. I was informed that one could book a tour but kind volunteer explained a little of the building's history and the carvings on the impressive landing (scenes from Shakespeare plays) and stunning stained glass windows (Sunrise and Sunset). Showed me a book in the shop with history. The main hall upstairs and wood carvings throughout are breath-taking. Cloakroom- you hang up your own coats and can leave small bags at your own risk. No room for cases. Cafe has a limited supply of food but there is with very little seating. A seating area at other end of corridor. Not good to carry food down the corridor. Apart from that, well worth a visit. It's free.
Written February 21, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

balibob
london332 contributions
some good, some needing much improvement
Feb 2020
Very interesting exhibition, but dire lack of info about the house itself and its history. I could find NO posters of leaflets, and very few staff in house to ask. When we did find someone, they were well knowledgeable on the fabulous history and details of the interior itself. Where are the audio headphones??
Written February 13, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

B R
Haarlem, The Netherlands40 contributions
Fascinating house
Jan 2020
I went to the Unbound exhibition, which was interesting, but what really fascinated me was the house itself.
The exhibition is good of you are into sewing/materials etc.
So whatever the exhibition in future, go anyway, if only to see the buikding.
Written February 8, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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