The Great Houses of the London Borough of Hounslow – Summer 2020

Since The Hounslow Heritage Guides cannot offer our walks programme at present people may be interested in some walks in the several lovely historic parks and grounds in the borough of Hounslow. We are very fortunate to have so many stunningly attractive historic houses and gardens in our borough and it is well worth planning a visit over the summer months.

Starting from East to West across the borough

Chiswick Park House

Chiswick House and Grounds

The House remains closed at present but the historic grounds which have been beautifully restored are open daily free of charge as a public park. There are wildfowl and herons on the serpentine lake and the cafe and toilets are open from 8am to 5pm for take away refreshments with lots of seats and tables available outside on the patio area. Well worth a visit and walk with Panels with maps to help orientate and guide you round the grounds. Car park (charges) just off the A4 next to main entrance to Chiswick House. (Link to Website here – opens in new tab)

Chiswick House Grounds - Heron
Chiswick House Grounds - Lake

Gunnersbury Museum and Park

While the Museum remains closed at present the large 192 acre park is open daily free of charge and the floral beds and planting are looking lovely. The Head Gardener has done some virtual tours of the gardens which are available on the Gunnersbury web site. The boating lake has new paddle boats and there are lovely walks amongst the trees around the Potomac Lake, while the fountain is operating in the horseshoe lake. It is hoped the Museum in the large Mansion will reopen with restricted hours later in August while the brand new Sports Hub and pitches will hopefully open in September.

Sadly the Cafe and toilets were destroyed in an arson attack a month ago but pop up catering facilities are now operating in different locations in the park and there is a very good ice cream vendor in the newly extended car park off Pope’s Lane. Panels with maps help to orientate you round the park.

Syon Park : Syon House and Grounds

While Syon House remains closed at present the general grounds are open free of charge and are popular with picnickers. The Capability Brown landscaped Pleasure Gardens and the beautiful Great Conservatory with its vines, water lillies and tropical plants are now open from Wednesday to Sunday each week for a small charge. Tickets must be purchased in advance for a timed entry between 10.30am and 4.30pm to enable social distancing and entry of no more than 30 people in an hour. The gardens which predate Kew as the first great botanical gardens in England are looking lovely with lakeside and Thames side views, meandering paths and walkways and a wonderful collection of ancient trees.

A new cafe has opened inn the former garden centre next to the entrance to the Gardens and House and operates from 8.30am to 6pm with tables and chairs on the outside patio area. A large free car park is adjacent. (Link to Website here – opens in new tab)

Boston Manor House and Park

Boston Manor House is closed and undergoing extensive refurbishment funded by the National Lottery over the next two years. The public Park is open daily with its range of bedding, lakeside walk and lawns stretching down to the Grand Union Canal. The cafe and toilets operated by the Friends of Boston Manor are currently closed but the car park is open.

Osterley House and Park

The National Trust having originally closed the whole of the estate have in the last month reopened the Grounds on a daily basis. These are free to access but there is a charge for the car park and for entry into the Pleasure Gardens at the rear of the House. The House itself currently remains closed but the cafe in the old Tudor Stables is open from 10am to 4pm and the toilets until 5pm. Tickets for the Pleasure Gardens must be purchased in advance via the Osterley National Trust website and are for timed entry to enable controlled access and social distancing. The Gardens and grounds generally are looking lovely and the Lakes are packed with bird life while the paths through the fields and woodland are fun to explore.