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“A joyless experience”
Review of Ham House

Ham House
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 2-3 hours
Owner description: Splendidly preserved 17th-century house and gardens.
Richmond, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
12 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
“A joyless experience”
Reviewed April 3, 2013

The arrival did not bode well, greeted by a van selling tickets (no concessions!) just inside the gate. This dim, poorly lit house is shameful. Although recently opened the house looked and felt grubby as if it had not been cleaned for a couple of seasons. The labelling and information for items of interest was non existent. No information boards about the house or the people who lived there and why, and no route to follow through the building meant people were just aimlessly milling around.
An exhibition of costumes from 'Anna Karenina' should have been stunning, but the dresses had been put on incorrectly sized dummies, had not seen an iron since the film was made and no attempt had been made at lighting. It was amateur.
The excuses given were not based in reality, someone from NT should visit Syon House and Kew Palace to see how it should be done!
I had been considering joining the NT, but if this is the standard to be found at such a significant house I will rejoin English Heritage instead.

Visited April 2013
Helpful?
6 Thank AFBofKEW
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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west molesey
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Lighten up.”
Reviewed April 1, 2013

It's a lovely house and although I'm all for conservation and preservation, most of the rooms were so dimly lit it was hard to make out the items we were looking at.

Helpful?
1 Thank wendystef
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Twickenham, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
3 reviews
“Lovely spot but cafe needs improvement”
Reviewed March 29, 2013

NT members for 14 years. Living in Twickenham we have been popping down to Ham house maybe once a week on average, almost feels like our back garden and the boys are growing up with this beautiful spot on our door step. Although the house is worth seeing, as a regular one goes there because of the garden setting. Always felt it a shame the gardens wouldn't stay open til 6 in the summer as it prevents so many people from going there during the week after school, and even on the weekend it's a shame to have to leave so early in the afternoon. Cafe was always a bit of a week spot. If one can't sit by the fantastic kitchen garden because of the weather one has to put up with the orangery which is not cosy and dated. Cakes mostly your bogstandard sponge cake, we have been hoping for years things would change with time. Only a couple of simple traditional sandwich options, well made though, and usually a few decent warm meal choices in traditional NT fashion, quite ok, often using estate grown ingredients which is great. As a coffee buff I am extremely fussy with my drink and up to recently the cafe managed to make a drink really well. With the New Year a couple of things have changed and I have been feeling the NT ought to know it's not ok. Firstly the NT has switched from Coca Cola to Pepsi which is simply not a good idea! Worse, Ham House got rid of their coffee machine and replaced it with an instant coffee maker. No more choice as to the strength of one's coffee and worse, no chance to get a decaf at all! Now this is a bad marketing move. As for us, we have only have been to HH once this year as didn't fancy going knowing I cn't get a decent coffee (plus questionable cake etc). And this goes for all the people I know. Even more people including us will be either bringing their own, M&S or Pret or other goodies, or will go for a coffee first or after when going there. If we were around for Easter we would usually do our own egg hunt there, but will go to Polesden Lacy instead this year. I know I will get a decent drink in a great setting. We visit PL on a regular basis as it's not far at all and for us one of the best NT places for many reasons. The coffee deli at PL is a good example for HH to look at! In the present economic times and a dependency on regular local customers/members from London's affluent Borough of Richmond one would assume HH would need to be more in touch. The present situation won't encourage new membership.

Visited February 2013
Helpful?
Thank Alexandra G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bracknell, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
42 reviews
19 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 44 helpful votes
“Ham House”
Reviewed March 22, 2013

Ham House is a little bit of tranquillity by the Thames in the Hamlet of Ham near Richmond in London, England. I visited the house in March so the early spring flowers were out but nothing else so the garden look a little bare but it was March and what I had expected. Being a National Trust property I am sure the gardens would be full of flowers in the summer.

I have been a member of the National Trust for many years and so I am a little biased but I enjoy the history, architecture and gardens of the properties in their care.

Ham House is a lovely example of a 17th century house that has changed little but there have been a few updates and extra building work from when the house was first built. The gardens are great for children to run around in and outside of the gardens there are some park lands. Inside the house there are lots of fragile items and history so it is better to go around without the children so you can stop and take in the house and talk to the very knowledgeable room guides. If you have to have the children with you the Trust have tried their best to cater for younger users by having a game they can play whilst going around the house. It is a counting game counting certain items in each room to help them keep interested whilst you learn the history of the house.

Talking to a room guide in the kitchen they were saying that at times during the summer there are baking demonstrations that the visitors young and old can get involved with to show how the kitchens were used in times gone by.

Ham House also has a shop selling and assortment of items like cookery books, sweets, CD's etcetera and there is a café. The café has hot and cold drinks and hot, locally sourced, made by them food, these are the specials of the day and change daily. There are also sandwiches, crisps and fruit. For those who just want a quick top up they have some gorgeous cakes to suit all tastes.

All in all I had a lovely day out even if it was a very cold day and to protect the history within the house they do not turn the heating on so if it is cold out rap up warm as it will not be sweltering inside.

Visited March 2013
Helpful?
Thank Saaby665
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Beautiful buildings”
Reviewed March 21, 2013 via mobile

Absolutely stunning. Thought that I would not like it. But once I got there, I was blown away by how beautiful it is and the grounds that Ham House sits in. The displays are a lovely part of an era in human history. Well worth a visit.

Helpful?
Thank Martin S
This review is the subjective opinion of an individual traveler and not of TripAdvisor LLC nor of its partners.

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