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Leighton House

Hidden Gem to National Treasure

Leighton House  is currently undergoing a major restoration and refurbishment project. This is the third phase of an award-winning master plan that commenced in 2008, aimed at completing the restoration of the historic house and creating new facilities and resources to sustain it through the 21st century.

Perrin Wing supporting the historic house to create an enhanced visitor experience, courtesy of BDP architects.

More public space and access for all

The project focusses on the two unsympathetic additions made to the east end of the house in the twentieth century, long after Leighton’s death. Through Hidden Gem to National Treasure, these additions are being transformed, allowing for:

  • Disabled access to all public parts of the building.
  • The recovery and restoration of the original architecture lost in later additions.
  • Improved visitor facilities, including a new café, shop, toilets, cloakrooms and reception.
  • New permanent displays on Leighton, the history of the house and the Holland Park Circle of neighbouring artists’ studio-houses.
  • The first contemporary artwork commissioned for permanent display, Oneness, by Shahrzad Ghaffari.
  • A new gallery dedicated to the display of drawings and works on paper.
  • Purpose-built collection and archive store.
  • A dedicated suite of Learning spaces in the basement of the historic house.
  • Leighton’s entrance hall and winter studio to be reintegrated into the sequence of historic interiors, completing the presentation of the house as he left it.

The creation of these new facilities has minimal impact on the historic fabric of this unique building and, in fact, will take the pressure off the historic house, allowing it to be better preserved and cared for into the future, whilst  providing a richer and more fulfilling visitor experience.

Architects:  BDP

Project Managers:  Gardiner & Theobald

Principal Contractor:  Quinn London Ltd

Quantity Surveyors:  Jackson Coles


Digital montage of the view from the garden showing the new staircase rotunda, courtesy of BDP architects.

It is an incredibly exciting moment for Leighton House. We are witnessing the final phase of a master plan that commenced in 2008 and which will transform the museum and the experience we can offer our visitors. Thank you for supporting this journey, we cannot wait to show you the ‘new’ Leighton House and celebrate together.
Daniel Robbins, Senior Curator

Project funding

The £8 million project has been made possible thanks to a community-focused partnership between The Friends, the National Lottery Heritage Fund and the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. The support of The Friends and the National Lottery Heritage Fund will allow for the restoration of the historic fabric, the creation of new displays, learning spaces, offices and a new collections store. The Royal Borough, as caretaker and landlord of the house, has contributed to the project from its capital reserves, funding essential maintenance works, including improving toilet facilities, creating additional cloakrooms and, for the first time, making the museum accessible to all, thanks to a new lift and staircase rotunda.


Lottery acknowledgement


Get involved - The Friends

The Friends played a key part in the capital fundraising for Hidden Gem to National Treasure, securing large grants from trust and foundations and gifts of all sizes from individuals. We are incredibly grateful to all of these organisations and individuals for their continued support - with their help, we are finally able to provide the house with much-needed new facilities, reducing  the pressure on the historic fabric while transforming the visitor experience.

Although the capital fundraising is over, The Friends still need your help. The charity continues to fundraise for essential conservation work to be carried out to the permanent collection, the presentation of the new displays, the redesigning and replanting of the museum's unique garden, the fit out of the new Learning Centre spaces and the acquisition of historic furnishing and artworks that replicate Leighton's original collections.  And of course, all contributions help the museums grow their exhibition and learning programmes, ensuring visitors continue to enjoy these extraordinary houses and their collections at their best.


Donate Online Now

All donations are received by The Friends of Leighton House,  registered charity number 1153591.

Get in touch

To discuss a donation, enquire about direct bank transfers or find out how to contribute to a specific project please get in touch with:


Claudia Camus Garrido, Development Officer


Telephone: +44 (0)20 7361 3788