Syon is one of the last great houses in London which is still lived in by a member of the aristocracy. It has been in the family of the present owner, the Duke of Northumberland, for more than 400 years. The park land, which is also home to the Syon Park Hilton hotel and children’s indoor play area Snakes and Ladders, never closes. Syon House, the Gardens and the Great Conservatory close for the winter and reopen in March.
Image above: Syon House
Built in the sixteenth century, the House came to the family of the present owners in 1594. It started life as an Abbey. The foundation stone was laid by Henry V in 1415, and over the next century the Abbey reached a position of influence and importance, with close links to the Tudor dynasty. It became a great centre of scholarship, with a very fine library.
There were close links between the Abbey and Henry VIII, Catherine and Mary, but the religious order fell foul of the king’s decision to dicorce his queen and create the Church of England. One of the priests, Richard Reynolds, was executed for treason in 1535, and Syon was one of the last religious communities to be dissolved.
Syon then passed to Edward Seymour, Duke of Somerset who initiated the process of transforming the Abbey complex into a grand private house. In 1594 Syon passed by marriage to Henry Percy, the 9th Earl of Northumberland. It has remained the seat of the Dukes of Northumberland ever since.
Normally, during the summer season, Syon House is open on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Sundays and Bank Holiday Mondays from middle of March to the end of October.
Image above: Lake and gardens
The Gardens, created by Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown in the eighteenth century, are open daily in the summer season. He redesigned the gardens, getting rid of the formal layout which had previously been there and creating more naturalistic views characteristic of the English Landscape movement
Tickets available to book online. HHA, RHS and Season Tickets don’t need to book, just show your passes on entry.
Image above: Syon Park Great Conservatory; photograph Jennifer Griffiths
The Great Conservatory, within the gardens, has been used as a location for music videos and film shoots, including the 1967 Dudley Moore – Peter Cook version of Bedazzled and John Boorman’s first feature film Catch Us If You Can.
Syon Park Trout Fishery
Syon Park Trout Fishery, which offers easily accessible trout fishing for novices and more experienced anglers, is open to season ticket holders only.
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