Sunday, 10 July 2011

Osterley House and Park

Osterley is on the way to Heathrow Airport and is accessed by the Piccadilly Line on the London Underground. Coming out of the station turn left and left at an intersection and proceed until the park. The property is a National Trust site and there is a lot to do. There is a shuttle golf buggy from the car park to the House and Stables.

In the grounds at Osterley
The grounds are very attractive with a lake, willow trees and a striking image of the house itself which was designed by Robert Adam (the visit was inspired by a tweet mentioning that Robert Adam had been born on 3rd July).  Robert Adam also designed Kenwood House and this is well worth a visit you're in the Hampstead area, accessible by bus number 210.

There is a designed audio tour for the visually impaired and this was freely available and the operation of it was explained. Some rooms were closed for filming otherwise the audio guide makes you independent, though the guides and volunteers are there to help with the usual question “Which room is this?” 

On my peripheral vision I could make out much of the designs on the staircase, the White Library and some of the state rooms.  The only room which foxed me was the tapestry room and it is coincidental that this was designed by Boucher.  It may be that the fabric of the tapestry doesn’t allow any clear lines.  There are no obvious obstacles if the audio tour is followed.  The controls are fairly easy to understand and if for example an instruction is given press the red button the guide actually tells you where the button is.  I found this method of audio tour very accessible and there were options in learning more about the house itself.  Robert Adam and the Childe family who owned it.  I visited this house in the late 1970s and it was in a sorry state, but it is now fully restored and the guides and volunteers are very knowledgeable about the house and though I got lost a couple of times, I would recommend this audio tour.  IT can be stopped fairly easily and you can always chat with the volunteers who may have some extra information on the history and objects in the house. 
Afternoon tea at the Stables at Osterley
There are facilities in the stables for meals, teas and coffees. There is a shop, video display, separate gardens and a gallery.  If you are a plane spotter, you can detect all the different aircraft as they are quite low on the approach to Heathrow Airport.  The sound is quite interesting if you are sitting in the middle of the courtyard of the stables, as the echoes give a nice sound picture – though I’m not very good on the difference between a Boeing and an Airbus. 

This is a pleasant place for a visit and many thanks to all the National Trust and Osterley volunteers. Carol has been insistent that I visit on the Bank Holiday Monday in August 2011. On this occasion the guides will be in costume for the Ball. While tempted I can only say that other Robert Adam buildings are available and who knows?