Thursday, May 26, 2016

In LOVE with LONDON: Visiting Osterley Park and House

Calling all Jane Austen lovers . . . have I got some pictures for you!  I can't wait to tell you about Osterley Park and House just outside of London.  I'm about to get my British-lit nerd on, so watch out. I was able to visit this estate during my recent visit to England.  Osterley Park and House is so close to London and it's got much of the charm of that large estates in northern England boast of.  Plus, I spotted rooms from Osterley House in the newest TV series by Julian Fellowes, called Doctor Thorne.

I can't wait to give you a tour of this beautiful historical estate!  You can easily take the Underground to this home (and it is short mile walk from the station).

This is what you see when you first walk in.  Such a beautiful room full of elegance and grace.  This room is in Doctor Thorne in the very first episode.  Watch it and see!  You can watch Doctor Thorne for free with Amazon Prime.  It's another good British drama that is like a mix of Downtown Abbey, Jane Austen, and Elizabeth Gaskell.

Osterley House offers self-guided tours complete with listening devices and headphones.

The grand ceiling as you walk up the staircase.  One thing I learned in England--you gotta look up!  The ceilings are not just there to cover your heads . . . they are works of art.

I love the colors of this room.  Above the mantel is a portrait of the family that lived here.  The Child family.

This is the family that lived at Osterley Park every summer . . . yes, just for the summer.  They had a real home somewhere else if you can believe that.  They only had one child, a daughter, to share all this wealth with.  The Child family were successful bankers.  There is actually a very interesting story about how this house and property was passed down through the ages, as told by the tour guides and caretakers.  The daughter pictured here was actually disinherited, as I understand, for marrying someone whom her father did not approve and eloping.  Oh, the British drama!

This is the dining room.  The stucco walls are so fancy and they helped so that the room did not have a permanent smell of food.

This is my favorite room:  The Long Gallery.  It's 130 feet long and has windows overlooking the garden front.  This is where they would have held dances, played games, and stayed inside during bad weather.

The lovely view from the windows . . .

Can't you just picture Elizabeth Bennett dancing with Mr. Darcy here?

This is the Drawing Room, where they ladies would drink tea after dinner until the men rejoined them after they had their strong drink.  This is the place to place cards or play a musical instrument.

Even the doorways are fancy . . .

Oh, the tapestries!  I learned about tapestries in England and how expensive and valuable they were.  We saw them in all the fancy places.  These were all woven by hand on vertical looms and took four years to finish (seriously!!).  The chairs and sofa were upholstered to match.  Oh boy, matchy matchy . . .

This is the State Bedchamber.  It is quite the expensive bed and requires steps just to get on it.  This room was supposed impress more than actually be used.  The Child family never actually slept here.

And let's not forget the people who lived and worked downstairs.  Just like Upstairs Downstairs, Osterley House has the servants area and kitchen down below.  Not much down here to impress, but it's very interesting to see how the many servants lived and worked just to keep house for 3 people.

The kitchen where the meals were prepared.

The Servants' Hall where the household staff ate their meals.  Not quite as grand.  After seeing all this, I truly understood why my ancestors left England during these times.  My ancestors were not the rich ones.  They were the ones who had to serve and spend their life in the same status, without ever being able to become something more.

A cute little secret door I found behind another cabinet.

The gardens at Osterley Park are beautiful as well.  I wish I had more room to show you all of it.  Here is the Garden House.  I'm sure many gentlefolk took a stroll through these quiet groves of trees.

Well, there's your grand tour of Osterley Park and House.  I highly recommend this home for someone visiting London, especially if you don't have time to go out further and visit the other more famous Jane-Austen-type homes.  This home does not disappoint.

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