We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“An absolute hidden gem”

18 Stafford Terrace - The Sambourne Family Home
Ranked #167 of 1,790 things to do in London
Certificate of Excellence
Attraction details
Reviewed 25 May 2014

We were received by Mrs Sambourne, who apologised for opening her own front door; the family had just returned from being away for a few days and were all still "at sixes and sevens". And so the tour of the Sambourne's house, family and time, started from there.

While "conventional" tours of the house are available, we opted for one of the "costumed" tours, where an actress showed us around the house, in the character of Mrs Sambourne. The house itself is almost a perfect recreation of a period daily home, contemporary to the time of Arthur Rackham, Oscar Wilde and the Arts and Crafts movement. Hours and hours have been spent on the interior itself, and the contents, to ensure that the house is both accurate and well maintained.

But what makes the house come to life is the love with which the house is presented on the tour. The skill of the lady who played Mrs Sambourne was in her ability to engage us in what felt convincingly like a lady introducing her home and her family to not so well known visitors.

The house itself is in immaculate condition, and an outstanding representation of homes of this period. The William Morris wallpaper, the chinoiserie and the the contents of the house are perfectly presented, and perhaps most interesting, the house offers a rare insight into the life of the domestic staff and the mechanics of running such a household during this period.

This is not a grandiose tour through centuries of shirty, This is a charming, intimate and engaging presentation of family life during a period of massive change in the UK. Perhaps because of this, I have to rank it as one of the absolute best museum experiences in years. While booking a place on one of the tours is pretty much a requirement, we had no problem getting a place.

In the end, I recommend Mrs Sambourne and her beautiful home unreservedly - an absolute hidden gem.

4  Thank Alexander D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Write a ReviewReviews (107)
Traveller rating
Traveller type
Time of year
All reviews
"victorian era"
in 14 reviews
"costumed tour"
in 15 reviews
"short film"
in 6 reviews
"introductory video"
in 4 reviews
"actress playing"
in 4 reviews
"late victorian"
in 3 reviews
"house interior"
in 2 reviews
"william morris wallpaper"
in 2 reviews
"family life"
in 2 reviews
"kensington high street"
in 3 reviews
"step back in time"
in 4 reviews
"their lives"
in 2 reviews
"holland park"
in 2 reviews
"take photos"
in 2 reviews
"on display"
in 2 reviews
in 15 reviews
in 8 reviews

56 - 60 of 107 reviews

Reviewed 18 May 2014

It was raining in London... Nothing new there. Big museums were overflowing. So we decided to look for something small and we found 18 Stafford Terrace. We had a wonderful tour with the Lady of the House, played by a beautiful and funny actress. It is all beautifully preserved and you can feel that the house has been inhabited until recent times.

2  Thank 504Jnac
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 May 2014

We had reserved our spots on a tour before leaving the states, but on the appointed day, we were chagrined to find ourselves running late. When we called, the staff was so kind and helpful, letting us know we could join the tour several minutes late, and they would show us the introductory video at the end instead. Someone even came out and met us near the tube station to help us find the house! We visited on a Saturday (May 3rd) for the costumed tour. "Mrs. Sambourne" was an excellent performer, who drew us in and kept us entertained (paying special attention to a young girl in our group), while giving us insights into life during the era, and the life of her "husband," Punch cartoonist Linley Sambourne. We thoroughly enjoyed the tour. Well done.

2  Thank Jwriter
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 May 2014

***Note that Sambourne House will be closed June 9 - Sept. 12, 2014.

Booked a reservation for the 11:15am tour on a Sunday in late March 2014. This was done via email prior to leaving for my trip. No deposit or credit card # was required for the reservation. They trust that you'll pay when you get there (how refreshing!).

Arrived a bit early so was able take a good look at the facade of the house. Noticed that the separate entrances for guests and servants were emblazoned onto the wrought iron fences. It was a lovely Spring morning so the local streets were lined with trees and flowers in bloom. Residents were out walking their dogs in their Sunday best.

For the tour, you enter through the basement door. They check you in at the desk and then put your belongings right behind the desk. It's recommended that you take out valuables and carry them with you. Space is tight in all areas of the house so keep that in mind.

Once everyone has paid up, you're shown into the next room to watch the intro video. Nice touch that David Linley makes a brief statement. It was a reminder that this house has a connection to the Royal family.

The tour itself was very enjoyable. Sensory overload. This was the regular, non-costumed tour, and the guide was quite knowledgable and gave interesting antecdotes about the family and servants.

Especially loved the "fish tank" fountain although it has a leak and is no longer in operation. Look out for it in the rear window on the staircase landing. The bathrooms were also a highlight. It was funny when all 13-15 of us were crammed into the upstairs bathroom with the door closed! The guide was showing us all the pictures displayed on the walls.

The entire time I kept wishing I could tour this house on my own. Just so that I could take my time looking at everything (similar to how they do it at Sir John Soane's). Depending on the people in your group, you may never get a chance to see certain things in the house. Luckily, most people in this group understood the concept of taking turns standing upfront.

Highly recommend a visit combined with a stroll around Holland Park and the park itself. I had considered also doing Leighton House that same day, but it would have been too much.

5  Thank offtolondon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
See more reviews
Reviewed 5 May 2014

I was unaware of this house until quite recently. But what a find! Thanks to members of the Sambourne family, the house interior has remained unaltered since its creation by Linley Sambourne, who lived her from 1875. Hence, it is a perfectly preserved Victorian interior. A video in the basement sets the scene for your visit, prior to the very good value guided tour (£8 - £6 concessions).Sambourne was a relatively poor artist (compared with Leighton, who lived less than half a mile away) but he managed to create a fabulous interior, according to the fashion of the time, on a relatively modest budget. The rooms are all very full, in the Victorian style, so that moving around the drawing room would have involved considerable twisting and turning. Every room is absolutely crammed with pictures, either his own pen and ink drawings (his main employment was drawing a weekly cartoon for Punch) or photographs of other works of art (he was a keen photographer). . In the drawing room an expensive Japanese wall paper was used, but to save money, they didn't paper behind the pictures! There are so many pictures that they must have saved a great deal. And he was not averse to buying chipped display plates, which would have been much cheaper. It was at a meeting in this house of his granddaughter with Sir John Betjeman, Sir Nikolaus Pevsner and others in 1958 that the Victorian Society was founded. Victoriana had been out of fashion since the death of Queen Victoria, and someone needed to safeguard the national heritage.

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

Travellers who viewed 18 Stafford Terrace - The Sambourne Family Home also viewed


Been to 18 Stafford Terrace - The Sambourne Family Home? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing