Leith Hill Place
Owned by the National Trust, and very much a work in progress, Leith Hill Place is a large house on the south slopes of Leith Hill just above Ockley. Although I have to confess a personal interest here, I have childhood memories in the ’70s of my Grandfather making homebrew in the cellar! However, it’s a long story which I won’t go into now. Buy me a glass of wine next time you see me and I’ll tell you.
Leith Hill Place has been about from at least the 16th century. The earliest reference to the house was in 1628. Surprisingly, it’s not considered a Manor house despite its enormous size! But it was classed as a gentleman’s residence.
One of the owners of the place was a gentleman named Richard Hull it was a merchant of Bristol and he was the chap who built the tower on top of Leith Hill. Holly that she buried under the tower but after his death, it fell into disuse. However, during the Napoleonic wars, it was used as a lookout tower to warn of impending French invasion.
The house passed through a number of owners before being acquired by Josiah Wedgwood in 1847. He was the grandson of the Wedgwood that founded the pottery business. Indeed, as was the fashion he married his cousin, Caroline Darwin. And yes, Caroline Darwin was the brother of Charles Darwin, author of the controversial, at the time, ‘On the origin of species’. Also, Darwin and his wife were frequent visitors to Leith Hill Place.
Leith Hill Place was also the childhood home of Ralph Vaughan Williams. And this seems to be the main focus of the house now, from the National Trust. His piano from his studies on display here. While quite unassuming, the upright piano was Ralph Vaughan Williams daily tool for trying out new musical ideas while composing.
The house itself has good internal signage with many interesting information boards including some about the rhododendron wood which is where you have to park when visiting the house. I’ve included instructions and maps at the bottom of where to park.
The grounds and especially the views from the house are stunning! On a sunny day, it is absolutely gorgeous. Spring with the rhododendron gardens is a good time too. Also, let’s not forget Autumn for a visit! I sound like I’m being paid for this but, honestly, I’m not! It’s just that the surrey hills are one of my favourite places. Check out my Surrey Hills post for more information.
There is also a pleasant courtyard area to sit in and have a cup of tea. There is also a tea area inside if the weather is inclement out. Of course, there is a tea room! No National Trust property would be complete without one… It seems to be a British compulsion, there must be tea available! And I for one am happy for it.
Where – Leith Hill Place
Leith Hill Place is on Leith hill, unsurprisingly, on the North Downs in Surrey. Parking for the house is at the Rhododendron Wood just up the road unless you are registered disabled. See the map below for the parking location.
The address is
Leith Hill Place,
Leith Hill Ln,
Dorking RH5 6LY
Parking is at Rhododendron Wood just up the hill slightly, as I mentioned earlier. If you time your visit with the Rhododendron flowering in late spring, it makes for a beautiful walk to Leith Hill Place through heavily scented and colourful wood.
Click on the map for directions
Also if you fancy a spot of lunch when you are in the area, see my Historic Pubs of Surrey List
More from the Surrey Hills
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