Its been a while since I've written about a Grand House in England. Today we're going to Ham House in London, a house that dates back to the 17th century, and is a short stroll to the Thames. Ham House is at Richmond in London, 200m away from the River Thames. It's a small house compared to other ones that I've written about in the past such as Chatsworth House and Basildon Park.
THE INSIDE OF HAM HOUSE
Ham house is not far from where I used to live in London. If I were to stroll leisurely the 6.5km along the Thames, it would take me about an hour or two to get here. I've been here quite a few times, but nearly every time when I arrived, the house was closed as I spent way too much time enjoying my walk along the Thames.
我以前從英國老家一般都會走路過去。 沿著泰晤士河漫步大約6.5公里， 結果每次都花很多時間在漫步，到達時多已過了開放時間。 終於有一次趕得上，馬上到大宅內參觀。 以前的公爵女主人非常有品味，又喜愛收藏大師畫家的作品。 匆匆在大宅內遊覽也能感染到這裏的氣派。 參觀大宅，我最愛到廚房逛逛。了解幾百年前沒有現代化廚具，傭工怎樣能煮出一餐給貴族吃的豐富晚餐。
One time I finally made, only just. So I quickly went inside to have a look around. I wish I could have spent more time inside. Elizabeth Murray, Duchess of Lauderdale inherited the house from her father, and she was an avid collector of master paintings. She was also known to have sophisticated luxurious taste, and that was reflected in Ham House, such as the paintings and the baroque ceiling murals.
Normally when I visit grand houses in England, I always check out the kitchen. I think it's just fascinating how lavish meals could be cooked from scratch without the modern day conveniences we have. In my opinion, the kitchen is always the heart of a house, regardless of whether its yesteryear or today.
After the House was closed, I wandered out to the gardens. Personally, I think this is the best part of Ham House. I spent most of the time strolling around the beautifully manicured Cherry Garden. This used to be the private garden of the Duchess of Lauderdale, and it has been restored to look like it did back in the 17th century. The lavender bushes were trimmed into domes and the surrounding shrubs into cones. I've never seen such a beautiful garden before. The Duchess certainly had good taste. And thanks to her, we can now appreciate the exquisite topiary.
在整個哈姆莊園內，我最喜愛戶外的花園。 櫻桃花園是當年女公爵的私人花園， 現在被修復跟當年一樣。 園藝設計非常有心思，薰衣草被剪成收一個個小圓球。 花園其他範圍還有一條樹叢隧道，和可以自給自足的 kitchen garden。
Like all other big houses in England, there's always a Kitchen Garden. This allowed people to be self sufficient as much as possible. This is one part of the wall surrounding the Kitchen Garden. Even here you can see the attention to details in maintaining the plants.
In another part of the garden is a tree tunnel. This is another perfect example of the topiary that has been practiced here for .... I don't how many years, perhaps back to when the house was first built? From the low shrubs forming a wall, to the arching tunnel created by the twigs from the trees from both sides, this is a perfect getaway from the heat in the summer.
And when you get tired strolling around the 18 acres massive gardens, you can take a rest and soak in the beautiful surroundings. Even the sculptures on the railings are an art in itself.
HOW TO GET HERE
If you're visiting London and want to come here, the easiest way is to drive. It's about 15km from Heathrow Airport and will take you about 40 minutes. If you come by public transport, you can catch the train or tube to Richmond and walk 2.5km along the Thames. From Richmond, you can also catch the 371 bus and walk 0.8km to Ham House. Both Richmond and the Thames walk are very nice. Entrance to Ham House cost £11.05 for adults and £27.60 for a family (as of Oct 2018 prices) .
到哈姆莊園最方便是開車，從倫敦希斯路機場大概15公里需時約40分鐘。 乘搭公共交通工具，可以坐火車或地下鐵到理查蒙， 然後沿著泰晤士河步行2.5公里。 不想走這麼遠，可以乘坐371號公車，下車後步行0.8公里就到。 成人門票是 £11.05，而家庭門票是£27.60(2018年10月價格)。
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