Hyde Park Corner
London W1J 7NT
LT Travel Zone 1
Standing alone at Hyde Park Corner is the magnificent Apsley House, once the London home of the first Duke of Wellington and his descendants. Wellington’s defeat of Napoleon made him a British hero and Apsley House is sometimes referred to as the Wellington Museum.
This Regency House is now run by English Heritage and is open to the public as a museum and art gallery, although His Grace the 8th Duke of Wellington still uses part of the building as a part-time residence. Apsley House is a fine example of the English aristocratic town house dating from the late eighteenth century. It was originally built for Henry Bathurst, 1st Baron Apsley, after whom the house is still named.
Number One London
Locally, Apsley House was known as Number One London from the time when it was the first house after passing the tollgates at the top of Knightsbridge. The Hyde Park Tollgate marked the beginning of the Bath Road on the west side of London. These toll gates dated from the mid seventeen hundreds – only a few still survive, mainly on small country bridges across rivers and streams. See articles Batheaston - Bathampton Toll Bridge and Swinford Toll Bridge in this website.
Upon entering Apsley House the visitor is enveloped in an atmosphere of stately calm – a welcome change from the frantic pace of Hyde Park Corner. Inside is an incredible collection of nearly 3,000 paintings, sculptures, works of art fashioned in silver, porcelain and porphyry, swords, batons and orders. Much of the collection consists of gifts from emperors, tsars and kings honouring Britain’s greatest military hero but there are also personal items such as Wellington’s portable dressing case.
In the entrance hall the visitor is surrounded by busts of King George III, Prince Albert, the 1st Duke of Wellington himself as well as Alexander the Great and a statue of Eros.
Tour of Apsley House
The tour of the mansion commences in The Inner Hall – this was once the entrance hall to the house before the addition of the west wing in the late 1820s. During the tour, the visitor will see many wonderful pieces of art such as Rauch’s small bronze statue of Prince von Blucher on a granite pedestal. Blucher was the Duke of Wellington’s ally against Napoleon. This statue is a copy of a monument by the same artist which was at Breslau (now Wroclaw – Poland).
One of the jewels of the collection is the colossal marble statue of ‘Napoleon as Mars the Peacemaker’ standing at the base of the impressive principal staircase linking the ground and first floors. This statue was originally commissioned by Napoleon. With Napoleon's downfall, it was presented to the 1st Duke of Wellington by the Prince Regent, later King George IV.
Wherever the visitor looks, there are wondrous works of art, great palatial interiors and sumptuous furnishings. It is hard to name a favourite room; however, one would be remiss if The Waterloo Gallery was not taken into account. This room appears to have been created by The Duke of Wellington to accommodate the annual Waterloo Banquet. What an exquisite room - seven pairs of mirrored window shutters reflect the glittering central chandelier, torchères and doors covered in gold leaf
The visitor must, however, not miss the State Dining Room and its glittering centrepiece. This silver and silver gilt service was presented to Wellington in 1816. It has figures representing the four continents paying tribute to the united armies of Portugal, Britain and Spain. This is a part of a 1,000 piece setting!
All in all, Apsley House is a ‘not to be missed’ London attraction.
Plan Your Visit
As this is a heritage residence, disability access to the house is limited Web: Apsley House/ Access
Opening Times & Admission Costs
Contact & Further Information
+44 (0)2074 995 676
TfL Fare Zone 1 Transport for London Journey Planner
To find the best way for getting to Apsley House, visit the TfL Journey Planner, link above.
- By Underground
|Hyde Park Corner station||Piccadilly Line|
Hyde Park Corner station
Take the exit to Apsley House
- By Bus
Route Nos: 2,8,9,10,14,16,19,22,36,38,52,73,74,82,137
Google Maps - Apsley House