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“Quite simply brilliant”

Dennis Severs' House
Ranked #203 of 1,599 things to do in London
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: Dennis Severs' House offers a glimpse into 18th-century (Georgian-era) life in England.
Level Contributor
51 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 68 helpful votes
“Quite simply brilliant”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 7, 2011

I have just come back from visiting the Denis Severs house which I've been meaning to do for years but have never quite made it - and what a joy it was. It was like stepping into a time warp, the early 1800s warts and all.

The house is so atmospheric it's difficult to describe, all I can say is GO!

I was absolutely amazed in reading the negative reviews. The man who greets you at the door is lovely. At £7 it was a bargain. You are politely asked to walk silently round the house to absorb the feel of it (and not disturb other people). The staff are unobtrusive and just quietly keep an eye on things. It's dark and gloomy because it's lit by candles. It's supposed to be a lived in house, not a museum so you won't find labels, guided tours, explanations, neatness, tidiness or any kinf of well ordered, sanitised displays.

And yes, part of the house looks derelict, it's the whole point!!

Loved every minute, and I'm going back whenever I can.

Visited November 2011
2 Thank Monkeyno9
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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516 reviews from our community

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New York City, New York
Level Contributor
46 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 49 helpful votes
“Immersive, moving, wonderful experience”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 6, 2011

Within five minutes of being in the Dennis Severs' House, the experience took over...I became one with the game and realised that this was unlike anything I had encountered previously.

What a brilliant concept! Not for everyone, and the house motto of "you either see it, or you don't" is spot on. Those who are open to the concept of a bit of tableau vivant (sans the actors) will appreciate a visit, and take away a very gratifying memory to cherish. The sights, the smells, the sounds - all help to transport the visitor, and help him believe that his hosts have simply left the room, and may return at any moment, only to find him snooping amongst their belongings! (I almost felt guilty being in the bedrooms, hehe!)

The docents must have thought me a bit strange for the Cheshire Cat grin on my face the entire time I was in the house, but I could not help it! I would highly recommend the Dennis Severs' House to anyone looking to experience something slightly unusual and wonderfully enchanting!

Visited October 2011
Thank hismissusNewYork
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
119 reviews
76 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 66 helpful votes
“An Incredible Recreation of a Townhouse"”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 12, 2011

We visited the house for a candle light tour and found it very atmospheric and informative. The cats were very welcoming but rather demanding for ear rubs! The smells of the fire, food, candles and drinks brought the whole thing to life. It was easy to believe the family had just left the room. I would like to go again in daylight, to see all the tiny details we must have missed in the gloom!

Visited October 2011
1 Thank oggrocks
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kendal, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
267 reviews
66 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 223 helpful votes
“Living history”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 11, 2011

Wow, this place is amazing. I suppose I would describe it as a museum, but a museum like no other. There are no segregated areas, no spot lights, no display cases and no arrangement of exhibits into neat displays. It’s as though someone has invented a time machine to whisk the visitor back to a critical moment in each room. You should take time for your eyes to adjust to the gloomy light of candles, so that you can observe the clutter, the smells and sounds and the subtle and humorous clues so that you piece together a human background story. The clues to the lives of the occupants draw you in emotionally so that you almost feel their joy of an anticipated celebration or pain of a discovered secret.

You need to book ahead a visit time and you will be met at the door and given a brief introduction on what to expect. Severs house is part of a terrace row lined with historic style street lamps. The view from the outside is remarkable because of the contrasting background of rising city skyscrapers (it reminded me of the scientist’s cottage in Fritz Langs’ film Metropolis). Each room inside is set in a different period and it’s as though the occupants had just stepped out for a moment. There are real fires burning in the grates, the only other light comes from actual candles. There is half eaten food lying around, glasses of wine and cups of tea left causally on ledges, piles of letters and a cat which looks so at home among the furnishings.

I gather that the contents of the house are regularly changed to match the current season. Severs is not suitable for children and because of the cramped conditions, visiting times are staggered for a limited number of guests and you will be in and out in well under an hour. It is a little expensive given that your visit is time limited but in my view it is well worth it for a unique experience of a living history.

Visited October 2011
1 Thank MaffUK
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Manchester, United Kingdom
2 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Atmospheric place; shame about the rude person at the door”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 18, 2011

The house is a wonderful experience, a very different musuem - it did really feel as the inhabitants had just left. I would have gone back again - however, my visit was jaded by the rude gentleman at the door who spoke to everyone as if they were a bunch of schoolchildren, in a very patronising tone and told everyone to hurry up paying their money. The gentleman seemed to want to turn people away, rather than invite them in.

Visited September 2011
1 Thank Andrea246
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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