5 fascinating homes open to the public London

Sir John Soane's Museum

13 Lincoln's Inn Fields


+44 (0)20 7405 2107


Sir John Soane (1753-1837) was an English Neoclassical architect. His house has been untouched since his death and is full of curiosities and surprises. The adapted interiors and their use of natural light ingeniously showcase this world class collection of artworks, sculptures, antiquities, furniture and architectural drawings and models.

Leighton House Museum

12 Holland Park Road

W14 8LZ

+44 (0) 20 7602 3316


Sir Frederick Leighton (1830-1896) was a painter and Royal Academician. His house contains remarkably elaborate orientalist and aesthetic interiors, including a two-storey ‘Arab Hall’ decorated with tiles collected in the Middle East and a top-lit upper gallery. As well as many of Leighton’s paintings there are works by the Pre-Raphaelite artists Millais, Burne-Jones and Watts.

Freud Museum

20 Maresfield Gardens


+44 (0)20 7435 2002


The Austrian neurologist and father of psychoanalysis Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) lived in this Hampstead house at the end of his life. It contains his psychoanalytic couch as well as a library, furniture, artworks, antiquities and other effects that came with him from Vienna. Exhibitions explain Freud’s life and work.

Dr Johnson's House

17 Gough Square


+44 (0)20 7353 3745


Dr Samuel Johnson (1709-1784) was an essayist, poet, critic, biographer and, most famously, the author of A Dictionary of the English Language, which took nine years to complete. His house, cosseted away in a warren of narrow City streets, is a tranquil place and a fine example of a Georgian interior. It seems apt here to offer one of his most famous quotes: “When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life.”

Dennis Severs' House

18 Folgate Street

E1 6BX

+44 (0)20 7247 4013


This Georgian terraced house in Spitalfields is a totally unique time capsule. It presents a ‘still-life drama’ told through the portrayal of ten period rooms which recreate the lives of a family of immigrant Huguenot silk-weavers between the years 1724 and 1914. It’s a special and evocative place, complete with candlelight and smells – the creation of Denis Severs, an American who lived here until his death in 1999.

part of 50 places to discover historic London

The 500 Hidden Secrets of London