Orleans House, Twickenham 2516

Twickenham, England, Greater London

Brief Description

The riverside grounds of Orleans House are now a woodland garden. The house is gone, and only an octagonal pavilion survives from the site's original early 18th-century layout. The stables, which also remain, have been converted into a gallery.


The garden was created in 1710 to complement a house built by owner James Johnston, former Secretary of State for Scotland. The Octagon Pavilion, by James Gibbs, was added in 1716. Batty Langley also made proposals for 'improvements' to the garden. The layout was informalised in the mid-18th century.The house was later known as Orleans House after Louis Phillippe, Duc d'Orleans who lived here in exile from France in 1800-14 and 1815-17, before he became King of France in 1830. His widow returned to Twickenham and purchased Orleans House in 1852, her son owning it until 1877. The early-18th-century house was demolished in 1926/7 and the only surviving buildings are stables, wings of the main house and the Octagon, a garden room of around 1720, now Orleans House Gallery, set in shady woodlands. The riverside Orleans Gardens were originally linked to Orleans House via a tunnel under the road and were purchased by Twickenham Corporation in the 1930s.

Visitor Facilities

Orleans Gardens: Mon-Sat 7.30am-dusk; Sun 9am-dusk. Orleans House Grounds 9am-dusk. Gallery: Tues-Sat:1-5.30pm, Sun/BH 2-5.30pm (Oct-Mar 4.30pm)
  • Pavilion
  • Description: The Octagon Pavilion was designed by James Gibbs.
  • Earliest Date:
  • Latest Date:
Specimen Tree, Shrubbery
Access & Directions

Access Contact Details

Orleans Gardens: Mon-Sat 7.30am-dusk; Sun 9am-dusk. Orleans House Grounds 9am-dusk. Gallery: Tues-Sat:1-5.30pm, Sun/BH 2-5.30pm (Oct-Mar 4.30pm)


Rail: Twickenham. Rail/London Overground/Tube (District): Richmond then bus. Bus: R70, 33, H22

Detailed History

James Johnston, Secretary of State for Scotland from 1692 to 1695/6, retired from public life in 1702 and purchased a riverside site in Twickenham where he developed a highly regarded garden over the next 10 years.

In 1713 he sponsored John James in the translation of Antoine-Joseph Dezallier d' Argenville's Theorie et Pratique du Jardinage (1709).

An octagonal pavilion, designed by James Gibbs, was added to the east end of the greenhouse in 1716.

A few years later Batty Langley offered an 'improvement', suggesting that the principal view be modified by changing the groves to labyrinths, that the pools be reshaped and set within a quincunx, and that the vines be replanted as further wildernesses.

The layout was informalised in the mid-18th century, and in the early-19th century the house was for a few years the residence of the Duc d'Orleans. In the early-20th century the house was demolished and the grounds built on or abandoned, leaving the Octagon Pavilion as the only significant remainder of the riverside villa.


  • 18th Century
Associated People



  • London Parks and Gardens Trust