London and South Essex is home to a number of grand historic houses that hark back to another era. Anyone with a passing interest in Britain’s varied history will find them a joy to explore, their sprawling grounds and cultural richness are the perfect distraction from everyday routine.
With the c2c smartcard you can make these days out easier. Skip the queues and save time by purchasing your tickets online or through our app. Also kids can travel for as little as £2 for an off-peak, return ticket on a weekend and you can travel from South Essex to London return from £12.70 with our online advance tickets.
Nearest c2c station: Rainham (4 min walk from the station)
Address: Rainham Hall, The Broadway, Rainham RM13 9YN
A charming and remarkably fine example of a Queen Anne house, Rainham Hall was built in 1729 by a ship’s captain, John Harle. Once a focal point for the enterprising merchant’s river trading activities, the hall and its surrounding buildings contributed to the development of Rainham Village in the 18th century.
Thanks to the generous support from the Heritage Lottery Fund, the National Trust worked hard to restore and open this hidden piece of history. The restored house and gardens reopened to the public in October 2015 after a 2 year conservation and restoration programme.
Nearest c2c station: London Fenchurch Street (35 min walk from the station)
Address: 136 Kingsland Rd, London E2 8EA
The Geffrye Museum explores the way people have lived and still live. Their collection of rooms show how homes have been used and furnished over the past 400 years, reflecting changes in society and behaviour as well as style, fashion and taste. A series of period rooms lead visitors on a walk through time from 17th century oak furniture and panelling, past muted Georgian elegance and eclectic Victorian style, to 20th century modernity and contemporary living.
Eastbury Manor House
Nearest c2c station: Barking (22 min walk from the station)
Address: Eastbury Square, Barking IG11 9SN
Described by the National Trust as an ‘important brick-built Tudor gentry house’, this gorgeous merchant’s house was commissioned by Clement Sysley during the reign of Elizabeth I. Early 17th century wall paintings and the exposed timbers create an air of profound history and wealth and the peaceful walled garden is a delight to explore – look out for bee boles resting in the alcoves.
Nearest c2c station: Southend East (7 min walk from the station)
Address: Southchurch Hall Gardens, Park Ln, Southend-on-Sea SS1 2TE
It’s not often you find a listed building in the middle of a town, but that’s exactly what Southchurch Hall is – a half-timbered, Grade I listed moated house dating back to Medieval times nestled in the heart of Southend. Home to farming families until the 1920s, it’s been listed in the Jenkins ’Top 1000 Houses in England.’ Original smoke-blackened timbers can still be seen along the roof and there’s a grand open hall reflecting life in the Middle Ages.
Not much of Tudor Britain survives in 21st century London, but there is one house that has, despite the odds, made it through the centuries escaping the great fire of London, war and the Blitz. Sutton House is a Tudor house built in 1535 by prominent courtier of Henry VIII, Sir Ralph Sadleir. Since its heyday the house has had an eclectic array of occupants from Huguenot silk weavers to squatters. Now in the hands of the National Trust Sutton House has been restored and is well worth a visit.