13 Lincoln’s Inn Fields, London, WC2A 3BP
How many people have heard of Sir John Soane or know who he is? An architect born in the 16th century the son of a brick layer established himself as one of the greats of British architecture. He went on to collect many paintings, various pieces of architecture, different types of curious objects and even managed to acquire the sarcophagus of Seti I when the British Museum couldn’t afford it.
The museum is his old London home next to a nice little park in Holburn. It’s free to visit and I would recommend it is well worth it.
Hertford House, Manchester Square, London W1U 3BN
In the heart of London is another museum you can walk in for free like the British Museum or the National Gallery, but unless you have a tourist book you might not even know it exists.
Once you walk around Manchester Square you might not notice on first glance as there doesn’t look like much activity next to the hustle and bustle of Oxford Street. But you will see the banner behind the open cast iron gates to see the collection. You can join the free tour or view the house in your own time.
Once inside you will see treasures the biggest galleries in the world would love to get hold of.
This collection acquired over the years by the Marquesses of Hertford then additions added to the collection from Sir Richard Wallace the son of the 4th Marquess. In 1897 his wife Lady Wallace with no heir bequeathed the collection to the British nation.
Unlike a National Trust property the house doesn’t look lived in as there are no bedrooms, sitting room of any type. Instead you will see that it’s one big museum gallery with a weapons room, display rooms and an art collection with rooms that rivals the National Gallery.
In you go on the tour you will learn more about parts of the collection and see painting done by masters such as Sir Anthony Van Dyck, Titian, Rembrandt, Velázquez and others.
I was highly impressed with the collection and recommend everyone who have an interest in history, art or ancient weapons to have a look.