Free to visit areas of Leighton House
Searching for a day out in London that doesn’t break the bank? There’s plenty to explore and discover at Leighton House which won’t cost you a penny. With times a little tighter for everyone, we’ve rounded up everything that’s free to see and experience at the museum, from free exhibitions to free walking tours.
For access to the historic house, you will require a ticket (prices start from £11), however, a new Pay What You Want scheme available on the first Monday of each month between 10am-1pm (excluding Bank Holidays) offers the possibility of a free visit to the historic interiors of Leighton House.
Leighton House is open Wednesdays to Mondays, from 10am to 5:30pm (closed on Tuesdays)
Sambourne House is open Wednesdays to Sundays, from 10am to 5:30pm (closed on Mondays and Tuesdays)
Pay What You Want
We want everyone to have the chance to explore our museums, which is why we're introducing a new 'Pay What You Want' scheme. See inside the historic interiors of Leighton House on the first Monday of each month between 10am to 1pm and only pay what you want – that means you can pay above the standard ticket price, the same or nothing at all! Tickets are available at the door only (advance online booking on PWYW days is not available). Please note the offer is not applicable for group bookings and it excludes Bank Holidays.
Beyond the stunning interiors of the historic house, there is even more to explore in the new spaces, which are free to access throughout the museums opening hours…
Free exhibitions: The Tavolozza Drawings Gallery
Created during the transformative project, Hidden Gem to National Treasure, the Tavolozza Drawings Gallery at Leighton House provides a brand new exhibition space specifically designed for the display of drawings.
Through a rotating programme of free exhibitions, this new space will showcase rarely seen works from the museums expansive collection of 700 sheets of Frederic Leighton’s own drawings, as well as works by other historical and contemporary artists.
Currently on display until 19 February 2023:
Walking through the new wing of Leighton House (which is free to visit, independent of the ticketed historic house) a series of display cases and exhibits showcase the remarkable history of artists of the Victorian era.
Introducing Frederic Leighton
Learn more about the fascinating character of Frederic Leighton and his role as an artist, public figure, traveller and collector, through our introductory display case which takes pride of place in the museum’s new reception.
Also on display and free to see are Leighton’s spectacular pair of 10 metre wide frieze paintings Music and The Dance, and a newly conserved bust of Leighton by sculptor Thomas Brock.
Leighton’s Athlete Wrestling with a Python
Giving new prominence to Leighton’s work as a sculptor, a newly commissioned bronze cast of Leighton's celebrated sculpture Athlete Wrestling with a Python can be found on display at the base of the museums new helical staircase.
This exhibit, together with the works on display in the museum’s new reception, invites everyone to discover and experience the creative output of one of the Victorian eras most prominent artists.
William De Morgan ceramics
Finding a new home in the museum’s new De Morgan Café, a glittering series of William De Morgan ceramics are now on display and free to explore, alongside an informative panel about the artist.
Donated to the museum in the 1920s, the collection includes designs inspired by Islamic motifs as well as De Morgan’s signature revival of lusterware.
George Frederic Watts frescoes
Also on display in the café space, are two recently conserved frescoes by Leighton’s Holland Park Circle neighbour and lifelong friend, artist George Frederic Watts.
Originally painted on the walls of Little Holland House during Watts’ years living there, the works were saved when the house was demolished in 1875.
The Holland Park Circle
Continuing the story of the artists of the Holland Park Circle, in the museum’s newly created basement space, you can discover original works of painting, sculpture and metalwork by this eclectic group of nineteenth century creatives.
Also free to watch and enjoy in this part of the museum is an introductory video about Frederic Leighton and the Holland Park Circle.
With the completion of the Hidden Gem to National Treasure project opening a new chapter in the story of Leighton House, the museum has welcomed a series of new commissions to the new wing – all free for you to enjoy!
Oneness by Shahrzad Ghaffari
Have your photo taken with contemporary artist Shahrzad Ghaffari's spectacular mural, Oneness.
Decorating the walls of the museum’s new helical staircase which stretches across three floors, this soaring 11-metre high mural explores universal themes of love, knowledge and cultural fusion.
Continuing the unique legacy of Leighton House as a centre of cultural fusion, a new commission of Turquoise Mountain furniture showcasing the highly skilled craftsmanship of Syrian artisans, is also on display in the museum’s new reception and café.
Anhaar by Sara Choudhrey
Crowning the newly created Learning Centre at Leighton House, a newly commissioned triptych Anhaar (meaning rivers in Arabic) by Sarah Choudhrey, echoes Leighton House’s connections with the Middle East.
Also on display in the Learning Centre are other original artworks gifted to the museum by artists who have led workshops with Leighton House, as well as a rotating gallery of student artworks.
Free to visit year-round, the newly landscaped garden at Leighton House is a peaceful oasis to escape the hustle and bustle of London.
Bringing art outside, don’t miss Thomas Brock's impressive 1881 sculpture 'A Moment of Peril’.
Café and Shop
The new De Morgan Café and Shop at Leighton House are both free to visit - without the need to pay entry to the museum’s historic house. Whether you want to window shop for gift ideas or indulge in a little treat – the choice is yours!
Just around the corner, the gift shop at our sister museum, Sambourne House, is also free to access with its own selection of Sambourne inspired books, homeware, fashion items and more.
Free activities and learning opportunities
Artists Houses Walking Tour
Learn all about the unique community of artists studio-houses which grew up around Leighton House in the late nineteenth century on one of our weekly free Artists Houses Walking Tours!
Stream for free with YouTube
Discover a world of free online talks, creative art workshops and more on our museums YouTube channel.
Donations: Help to support our museums
All donations, big or small, to The Friends charity help to ensure the preservation of Leighton House and Sambourne House. From conservation works to providing materials for learning workshops, find out more about what your donation could achieve.