Syon House derives its name from Syon Abbey, a medieval monastery of the Bridgettine Order, founded in 1415 on a nearby site by King Henry V. The Abbey moved to the site now occupied by Syon House in 1431. It was one of the wealthiest nunneries in the country and a local legend asserts that the monks of Sheen had a Ley tunnel running to the nunnery at Syon. In 1539, the abbey was closed by royal agents during the Dissolution of the Monasteries and the monastic community was expelled. In 1541 and part of the following year, Henry VIII's fifth wife, Catherine Howard, was brought to Syon for her long imprisonment. In February 1542, she was taken to the Tower of London and executed on charges of adultery. Five years later when King Henry VIII died, his coffin was brought to Syon on its way to be buried in Windsor. After the closure of the abbey, Syon became the property of the Crown for a short time before coming into the possession of the 1st Duke of Somerset. He then had Syon built in the Italian Renaissance style before his death in 1552. In 1557 it was proposed to return it to its original purpose as an abbey, but this idea was short lived. Syon was acquired in 1594 by Henry Percy, 9th Earl of Northumberland (1564-1632), and has remained in his family ever since. Syon House's exterior was erected in 1547 while under the ownership of the 1st Duke of Somerset. Syon's current interior was designed by Robert Adam in 1762 under the commission of the 1st Duke and Duchess of Northumberland. The well known "Adam style" is said to have begun with Syon House. It was commissioned to be built in the Neo-classical style, which was fulfilled, but Adam's eclectic style doesn't end there . Syon is filled with multiple styles and inspirations including a huge influence of Roman antiquity, highly visible Romantic, Picturesque, Baroque and Mannerist styles and a dash of Gothic. There is also evidence in his decorative motifs of his influence by Pompeii that he received while studying in Italy. Adam's plan of Syon House included a complete set of rooms on the main floor, a domed rotunda with a circular inner colonnade meant for the main courtyard, five main rooms on the west, east and south side of the building, a pillared ante-room famous for its colour, a Great Hall, a grand staircase(though not built as grand as originally designed) and a Long Gallery stretching 136 feet long. Adam's most famous addition is the suite of state rooms and as such they remain exactly as they were built.
Syon Park borders the Thames, looking across the river to Kew Gardens and near its banks is a tidal meadow flooded twice a day by the river. It contains more than 200 species of rare trees. Although the park and lake were designed by Capability Brown in 1760, their character today is nineteenth century. The circular pool has a copy of Giambologna's Mercury. The park and the house in the background were painted from across the Thames by J. M. W. Turner c.1802-10 in the painting Zion House, Isleworth and in two capriccios in 1805. The Great Conservatory in the gardens, designed by Charles Fowler in 1820's and completed in 1827, was the first conservatory to be built from metal and glass on a large scale. Only assistance dogs are permitted in the House and gardens. Syon House has stepped access (8 stone steps in total) to the Great Hall, a few stairs on the principal floor and a large staircase up to the bedroom floor. Syon House does not have a lift, however it does have a stair climber. They unfortunately do not have any ramps for access for motorised scooters or wheelchairs into Syon House. The Visitor Centre and Great Conservatory are accessible for wheelchairs and scooters. The Undercroft, the Courtyard and bedroom floor have no disabled access. There is an accessible toilet in the block in front of Syon House. Additional accessible toilets are located in the Refectory Café in the Garden Centre. Please contact them prior to visiting if you require additional information regarding access and facilities. The house and gardens are open from 16th March to 30th October.
Location : Syon Park, Brentford, Middlesex TW8 8JF
Transport: Gunnersbury (District Line) - 237 or 267 bus to Brentlea Gate bus stop . Ealing Broadway (Central Line) - E2 bus to Brentford Holiday Inn. Boston Manor (Piccadilly Line) - E8 bus to Brentford Holiday Inn.
Opening Times: Wednesday, Thursday,Sunday + BH 11:00 to 17:00.
Gardens: Daily 10:30 to 17:00.
Tickets: Adults £12.00. Concessions £10.50 Children £5.00.
Gardens/Conservatory: Adults £7.00. Concessions £5.50 Children £3.50.
Tel: 020 8560 0882