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“Very nice tour”
Review of Spencer House

Spencer House
Ranked #343 of 1,695 things to do in London
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: <1 hour
Owner description: Restored to the full splendor of its late eighteenth-century appearance, this manor house was once the residence of the Spencer family, whose famous member was Diana, Princess of Wales.
Reviewed 21 July 2013

We took our 2 teenage granddaughters to London (first time they had been there, and we only had 2 days before leaving for Scandinavia). I wanted them to see a large English mansion, and this is the one I identified. We had a very knowledgeable and interesting tour guide - we were impressed. Though there are many reproductions in the house, the story is interesting, and it's beautiful. Even two 16 and 14 year old girls enjoyed it.

1  Thank SharonSCalifornia
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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80 - 84 of 106 reviews

Reviewed 17 June 2013

Discovered this place on-line - it's not widely advertised anywhere else. Historically home to the Earls Spencer (Princess Diana's family), this is one of the very few private London mansions still standing.

It's not easy to visit - it's only open on a Sunday and you can't reserve in advance. But I think it's worth it and it has the feel that you're discovering something well off the typical tourist trail.

We were met by extremely friendly and welcoming staff in the entrance hall, bought tickets and had to come back 20 mins later as the next tour was at 11.15 (disadvantage being that they don't give you the times the tours are made throughout the day as it's subject to change.

We were given a very informative tour of around 5 or 6 rooms by a lovely and knowledgeable guide who was open to answer any questions anybody had.

The house is quite unique - basically, the Earls Spencer moved out in 1926 because it wasn't economical to live there anymore, and let the house out. During the Second World War, the earl feared the house would be bombed and so removed all the furnishings, carvings, chimneypieces etc, in short anything that could be taken out. The bare shell of the house was then used as offices. Most of the house is still in this state, however the current tenant, the Rothschild company, has restored several of the state rooms to their former glory. Most of it is an exact replica of the original (door surrounds, chimneypieces etc), because during the war all the stuff that had been taken out of Spencer House was built into their country seat, Althorp, so the originals can't be re-installed. You wouldn't notice the difference though, since the reproductions are works of art in themselves.

The tour lasts an hour and is interesting in parts, however so much time is spent on describing paintings and furniture that it feels more like an Art History or antiques lecture. It would have been more interesting to know more about Edwardian society, and what life was like when the Spencers still lived there. Instead it tended to be more about the pieces in the rooms rather than the people who lived in them.

In all, it's a very good visit, although I wouldn't recommend it to anyone who gets bored with history easily, or teenagers (one was on our tour and looked thoroughly bored!). A nice way to spend a morning, although it's a shame that all of this house can't be restored back to its former glory, because as it is it feels a bit like a museum rather than a house.

1  Thank Jimmytraveller2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 7 May 2013

Very interesting and well worth a visit, but only open on a Sunday.We had a guided tour and the guide was very knowledgeable .

Thank beth94Bedford
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 February 2013

Well worth a visit. Lovingly restored and the guided tour is very informative and engaging. Lovely views of green park from the big bay windows and it is amazing to think of the family in the past enjoying this house and using it as a residence in London. Very enjoyable tour.

1  Thank Michael O
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 December 2012

Really unusual as people just haven't heard of this little palace in the middle of St James's. In the week it is office space and on Sunday for £12 you can visit the palatial rooms (8 in total). It turns out that nothing is authentic as it was all removed to Althorp but that doesnt negate how special it is, the reproductions are works of art in their own right and the guide gives you a fascinating insight to some of the people who dine here and hire it. If you are in London on a sunday go. Only timed tickets and on a first come first serve basis.

2  Thank TourismProfessional
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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