Home to the Wallace Collection, Hertford House sits grand and stately just back from the road on Manchester Square and feels like a hidden palace in the centre of the city. As soon as you walk in, you’ll be hit by the smell of freshly brewed coffee; at the back of the house, a large glass roof spans an inner courtyard, over a vibey restaurant.
Within the main building, carpets are deep and plush, and various ornate clocks chime on the hour. A grand sweeping staircase leads up to the first floor, where stern paintings of earls and frolicking nymphs stare down at you. The collection was bequeathed to the nation by Lady Wallace and represents a curiosity, packed as it is with vases and paintings and fifteenth-century armour.
The art is magnificent, with nine works by Rubens, five by Rembrandt and two Titians. That British stately homes are so full of Ancien Régime paintings owes much to the vast number of revolutionary sales after 1789, when impoverished noblemen flogged what they had in order to survive.
When Is the Wallace Collection Open?
Daily 10am to 5pm. Free.
How To Get To the Wallace Collection?
Bond Street (Central and Jubilee lines) is the nearest tube station.
Listing generously provided by Eleanor Ross, author of London’s Museums and Galleries, Exploring the Best of the City’s Art and Culture (published by Frances Lincoln), which can be purchased online here.