Osterley Park and House – London’s countryside?
If you thought that after having lived in London for over two years I must’ve seen it all? Well, think again. Two weeks ago I made my way west to tick off another item from my London bucket list: Osterley Park and House.
Take the Piccadilly Line from Central London into the direction of Heathrow Airport and within thirty minutes you’ll find yourself in a place called Osterley.
To be fair, stepping out of Osterley station into busy Great West Road is nothing to write home about. The airplanes flying low on their way to Heathrow Airport do not particularly add to the whole experience. Not to mention the fact that the M4 motorway – that runs between London and South Wales – is situated just around the corner.
Unsurprisingly, I was quite skeptical about this whole ‘Osterley Park and House’ business to begin with. How can it be, that at a location like this, there’s supposed to be this ‘countryside’ feel? I didn’t get it… Yet…
A world away
From Osterley Underground station it’s about 10-minute walk to the gates of Osterley Park and House. That’s where everything changes. On my left and on my right I saw golden meadows, clearly worked on by farmers. My amazement was obvious. The only aspect that didn’t fit in this picture-perfect image were the airplanes flying closely above my head.
A bit further down the lanes leading to the House, I noticed a group of people in horseback riding gear. I followed them, as they were heading closer to the entrance as well. Just in front of the large parking area they turned left onto another meadow. Sure enough, there was a flock of horses happily grazing the
countryside London grassland.
Getting closer and closer now to the House, I made a small detour towards the parking lot, as there was a group of beautiful white cows on the adjacent meadow as well.
To me it felt like I walked through some sort of portal which transported me to a different part of the country!
The House itself is situated behind a beautiful lake and was created in the late 18th century by architect and designer Robert Adam for the Child family. The reason for the construction of this house? For the Child family to entertain friends and family. Yes, really…
Nonetheless, it did leave behind a beautiful house and parkland for us to explore today.
Osterley Park and House are part of the National Trust. Therefore, entrance to the house and gardens is ticketed. At time of writing (August 2017), the standard adult admission fee is £10.90 and the standard child admission is £5.45. The ticket gives you entrance to the actual house, as well as the enclosed gardens and woodland behind it.
However, you can enter the parkland, as well as the stables tea-house, souvenir shop and second-hand book and plant shop for free.
Once I got my ticket, I entered the house like the Child family would’ve done in the 18th century: via impressive stone steps leading to the main entrance.
Once inside, it became clear that the interior has been left much like it would’ve been when the Child family lived here. Large statues, marble pillars, and beautiful paintings decorate the different rooms. Quite eccentric to say the least, especially the ‘pink room’ as I’d like to call it (but which is actually called the ‘Tapestry Room’).
The Long Gallery spans over 40 meters and is filled with the most beautiful of paintings. Mr and Mrs Child must have impressed a few friends and family members with this remarkable collection.
The State bedroom houses a bed which can be called ‘theatrical’ to say the least. An enormous golden structure, including golden borders, tassels, tapestry and even statues of angels is situated in the middle of the room. Another visitor who was in the room the same time as me posed a very valid question: ‘how would they’ve climbed into a bed as high as this one?’ Practical? No. Bragging material? Very much so.
Employees of the National Trust are walking around the house and are eager to tell more about the history of Osterley House and its inhabitants. There are also written guides in each room specifying the different details of those rooms.
Included in the ticket is entrance to the impressive gardens and the woodland behind the house. An abundance of flowers spring out near the conservatory on the backside of the house. Meadows with inviting deck chairs are excellent for picnics.
More cows can be found in the middle of the woodland. And if that’s all not enough, you can do a 1-mile circular walk around the estate and follow the footsteps of the Child family. I visited Osterley on a gorgeous day, so you bet I took in some healthy fresh air. And all of this in London, one of the biggest cities in the world.