Facts and information
Apsley House, Hyde Park CornerThe Napoleon statue
- Apsley House, 149 Piccadilly, Hyde Park Corner,
London W1J 7NT
- Opening times:
- 11 AM to 5 PM (Wed-Sun, Apr-Oct); 11 AM to 4 PM (Wed-Sun, Nov-Mar)
- Time required:
- 1-1½ hours (approx)
- Adults £6.90; Children £4.10 (5-15); Family ticket £23.10
- Note: Opening times & prices are subject to change, and may not apply on public holidays. Always reconfirm with the venue before making plans.
- Work +44 (0) 870 333 1181
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Apsley House was designed by Robert Adam in the late 18th-century, and sits at the far end of Piccadilly. It’s prime location made it the original No.1 London – as it was the first house encountered through the old city gates.
The Duke of Wellington
This grand home was the residence of Arthur Wellesley, better known as the Duke of Wellington. He bought it from the Baron Apsley in 1817, and lived there until his death in 1852.
Despite rising to the position of Prime Minister, he is perhaps best known for defeating Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo. An annual banquet is still held at the house every 18th June to celebrate his victory. A statue outside shows him sitting on Copenhagen – the trusty horse which rode him into battle. It was cast from the guns captured from the French.
The Wellington Museum
The house now contains a fine museum detailing the Duke’s military and political career, as well as showing off his collection of paintings, porcelain, medals and memorabilia – including his own death mask.
The artwork is showcased in the Waterloo Gallery. At over 27 metres in length, it has works by Goya, Rubens, Velázquez and Murillo. There is also a three metre statue of Napoleon naked, chiselled out by Antonio Canova.
The most intriguing piece is undoubtedly that of the Duke himself, whose face has recently been discovered to cover that of Napoleon’s brother. Apparently the artist was so counting on a French victory, that he had to hastily cover it up when the news of the Duke’s came through!
If you enjoyed the Wellington Museum then you may also be interested in visiting the Wellington Arch, or his tomb in Westminster Abbey.
>> Drummerboy’s blog – Apsley House
- Drummerboy – “It’s alright if you like paintings and old antiques, and gloating at the French. But if you’re a woman or a kid then maybe not. When I went round there were at least ten kids who were fast asleep on the pink seats. It picks up a bit when you go into the stairwell. You can look up three stories as the stairs wind their way round the wall, and right in the middle is a statue of Napoleon butt naked, save for a fig leaf on his privates – two stories tall. It’s the biggest statue I have ever seen, it seemed about three times taller than me… continued.”