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“Great experience now a tourist trap”

Dennis Severs' House
Ranked #203 of 1,658 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.
London, United Kingdom
Level 4 Contributor
27 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
“Great experience now a tourist trap”
Reviewed September 19, 2013

I visited this house 40 years ago and was guided through by Dennis, entranced by his story of the family who lived there and the ever-present reminders that their ghosts could still be in residence.
On a recent visit all had changed. You paid your money and were simply told to look around. All there is to see now is a collection of junk and a police force of attendants heavily enforcing a no-talking rule. One way of preventing negative comments, I suppose.
Our original visited lasted an hour. The recent one was over in 20 minutes and much of that was spent forcing one's way through the over crowed rooms.
The organiser's get out is that "you either get it or you don't. I didn't. But they do get the over-priced entrance fee
GF London

Visited September 2013
13 Thank GFForsdyke
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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541 reviews from our community

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English first
Level 3 Contributor
13 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed September 9, 2013

This is a truly unique visitor attraction - a house full of smells, colour and atmosphere. There are no waxwork models, plastic pieces of fruit or explanatory notices. The idea is that an 18th century family have just left, leaving everything as it was - half-drunk glasses of wine and cups of coffee. You won't find anything like this anywhere else. Just a shame about the pedantic notices telling you how to experience it, to stop being 'shallow' and start 'imagining' - go, enjoy and experience it however you want to.

Visited September 2013
1 Thank Saffidon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brighton, United Kingdom
Level 2 Contributor
7 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
“You either get it or you don't.”
Reviewed August 27, 2013

The house is full of still life details and quirkiness. The atmosphere of walking into a family home, where the presence of people is elusive yet glimpsed in small details and sounds, was something I did not quite get. This was because on our booked up evening visit the rooms at times were so crowded it was impossible to gain a sense of what it was all about. Despite the web site stating Monday nights are pre book only, visitors were allowed in on the door. The constant repetition of the stern rules of the house being drilled out to the next set of visitors was a distraction. The house is worth a visit but at half the price we paid. Our visit was £14 per person but if you visit on a Monday lunchtime only £7 per person. I felt we had been cheated and probably looked down upon as tourists who were not worthy of the artistic experience. The leaflet which we were handed at the end to read made me quite livid - this was not a house for the 'bored company director's wife' what about the company director's husband? Such misogyny! We are also told not to pigeonhole the experience into museum or heritage experience, [quite a lot of do nots] but I have been more entranced and emotionally involved with many museums etc than I was with this very silent house.

Visited August 2013
11 Thank 851eliza
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney, Australia
Level 6 Contributor
322 reviews
106 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 151 helpful votes
“old house milked for all it is worth”
Reviewed August 19, 2013

you need to book in advance to visit this house and pay when you book. then you meet at the house with a person who tells you that silence is to be observed inside the house if you are to 'get it' then you are let to visit the house on your own,, along with a large number of other quiet visitors, not being able to share your impression with any of them.
the display is crowded and very dusty, not at all in keeping with what initially was the intention of Dennis Sever which was to show how he and people before him lived in the 18th century. the current people who run the visits are trying to give the visits an air of mystery which simply does not work and you are left feeling you have been tricked and milked.
after all the amazing houses and palaces you can visit for free or a much lower entry fee around London, this is one visit I would not recommend

Visited August 2013
6 Thank Claire C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Canterbury, United Kingdom
Level 3 Contributor
14 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Unforgettable experience,you breathe in the very fabric of the house.....”
Reviewed August 18, 2013

Truly breath- taking, the smells, the heaviness, the atmosphere - the very philosophy of its idea and concept. It`s not a museum, but I felt - a privilege to be allowed to wander from room to room in silence and absorb it all in. It is unique and an experience which I would like to repeat again at some later point. It remains firmly in my mind since I left.

Visited August 2013
1 Thank anchan777
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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