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“It's Filthy and Very Overpriced”

Dennis Severs' House
Ranked #299 of 1,793 things to do in London
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: Dennis Severs' House offers a glimpse into 18th-century (Georgian-era) life in England.
Reviewed November 21, 2012

You wait for ages outside in the rain and eventually pay £10 to a very abrupt man on the door, and step into what is supposed to be a great experience. It is not. I should be, the idea is great and it has great potential. I found it very difficult to see a lot of the items as it is very badly lit. I understand that there is only candlelight and an odd gas light, but there are still large 'black zones' including the stairwell. I now think this is done so the visitor cannot see just the extent of the grime that is there. You are expected to think the owners have just nipped out, OK they might have, but 100 years ago, and it hasn't been cleaned since. The residents would not have lived like this, everything would have gleamed, they were VERY houseproud. There is so much what can only be described as absolute junk in there, loads of broken stuff just lying about, again they would not have lived like this. Look up on the bed drapes, they are like everything else completely covered in dust and cobwebs.
I think the owners/trust who run this property should go around in the near future and take a proper look. It needs some time and money spending on it, and it will once again be a great experience.

15  Thank Lovestravel555
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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"silk weavers"
in 25 reviews
"sounds and smells"
in 19 reviews
"art installation"
in 17 reviews
"unique experience"
in 36 reviews
"monday lunchtime"
in 8 reviews
"living museum"
in 7 reviews
"spitalfields market"
in 16 reviews
"step back in time"
in 20 reviews
"liverpool street station"
in 6 reviews
"evening tour"
in 6 reviews
"from room to room"
in 11 reviews
"sound effects"
in 7 reviews
"entry fee"
in 6 reviews
"brick lane"
in 6 reviews
in 77 reviews
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470 - 474 of 602 reviews

Reviewed November 17, 2012

So much detail in this house, room by room unfolding another layer of beautiful fascinating history. The rooms show us how the cooks and servants lived and worked, how the master, his wife and children would have lived, as though they have just popped out of the room momentarily from the bedrooms, playrooms, study, sewing room, kitchen, day rooms etc. I was here at Christmas and returned recently with friends and we had a fantastic experience. Each room "smells" of the time, the kitchens have fresh cinnamon buns straight out of the over, the smell of burning wood, whiskey in the drawing room, oranges in the play room, different scents from objects add to the sense that you are living in the history not merely a spectator, from the walls and beyond you can hear the feint sound of clocks, footsteps people whispering and laughing, or snoring as you aproach the bedrooms. A WONDERFUL EXPERIENCE well worth a visit in London

2  Thank Clare M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 16, 2012

Having thought about it for years but never booking a visit, we decided to try it this time in London. We booked a "Silent Night" visit at 6.30pm. You are met at the door and given a very brief intro before being let loose among the candles,furnishings and unfinished meals in this house, not far from the bustle of Liverpool Street station and all the offices around. This house is another world. It was created by an American artist who settled in London and "recreated" the atmosphere of living in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. There are about ten rooms to wander through and soak in the experience. There are no labels to read, no background info - just the atmosphere to experience and enjoy. We found it fascinating and rewarding. When done you are released on the street again, No museum shop or cafe to visit. You have time to reflect on what you have seen. What you are not told is that there is a book about the house which can only be bought in the house if you ask for it, and this is a memorable souvenir.

2  Thank Norwegian11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 11, 2012

Looking for something unusual to do in London? Tired of the crowded tourist spots? Love art and history, as well as philosophy and puzzles? If so, then the Dennis Severs’ House is an experience you won’t want to miss. The house has been wonderfully restored, and Mr. Severs furnished it in true English style with wonderful hand-me-downs, market finds, and boot-sale treasures. Book an evening tour, and prepare to take a candlelight journey back in time to another century. The house is a time-capsule that you can actually explore.

In a recent trip to London, my Art-historian son and I wanted to experience this unusual attraction. Tickets were easy to book online. When we arrived at our reserved time of 6:30 PM, Mick met us at the door, and led us inside. A brief introduction was given, and then we were off to explore the house on our own. No talking allowed…just observing and listening. No lights allowed…just flickering candlelight. No 21st Century conveniences to be found—just a “collection of atmospheres.” [No photos allowed either!]

As Dennis Severs once described it, the house is a “still-life drama.” It helps if you read through the website before you arrive, as you’ll get a sense of what it’s all about. We took our time touring through the house, and really had an enjoyable evening. As you go through the house from room to room, you either “see it”—or you don’t. You either “get it”—or you don’t. We don’t want to spoil the mystique, so the description stops here!

Mick [who lives there now] was a gracious host, and quietly answered questions when we finished. The book, The Tale of the House in Spitalfields, written by Dennis Severs, is sold at the house. Be sure to ask for one before you leave, as they weren’t on display during our visit. The book makes for great bedtime reading, and is a wonderful memento of our visit.

If you book online, be sure to take along a print-out of your payment in case there is a mix-up about having paid in advance. I'm glad I had my copy with me.

2  Thank GMB54
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed November 6, 2012

It's not for everyone, but if you do "get" it, you're going to love it. Check the website: if you are intrigued, then go; if you are expecting a museum-like display, or can't go 30-45 minutes in silence, or don't understand the point of it, then don't. Beyond that, I'm still processing the experience of visiting this, and it's difficult to verbalize. Bring your imagination and an open mind.

4  Thank VRMurphy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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