Built in the 1720s by Sir Robert Walpole, our de facto first Prime Minister, Houghton is one of England’s finest Palladian houses.
To realize his dream for a truly magnificent house that would justly reflect his considerable power and status, Walpole employed the architects James Gibbs and Colen Campbell to draw up plans for the house whilst William Kent took charge of the interiors. No expense was spared and each room was lavishly decorated using the finest craftsmen of the time. It was to become a place for political entertaining on a grand scale as well as family living.
In 1797 the house passed to the 1st Marquess of Cholmondeley after the death of Horace Walpole, Sir Robert’s only surviving son and fourth and last Earl of Orford. It remains a family home to the present 7th Marquess and his wife and children. Despite long periods of neglect when the house was put up for sale, little has changed since Walpole’s time with much of the original furniture and fabrics still in place as well as a considerable art collection.
All these years later Houghton still cannot fail to impress visitors. Each room has its own unique story and quality - whether it be the hand painted Great Staircase, Stone Hall, Marble Parlour, State bedrooms or red velvet Saloon - and begs to be explored and admired.