"I always loved the house but I believe it has been remodelled, reconstructed along modern lines by one of Sir Christopher [Wren]'s innumerable imitators. Now the rooms are regular and well-proportioned and the light no doubt floods in through the modern sashes, the chimneys draw properly and the draughts are kept to a minimum. For my part I regret this enthusiastic conformity to whatever men of fashion in Europe tell us is elegant. There is something false about all that symmetry. It used to be that a gentleman's house was the history of his family, and you could see in its lines when they had been in funds and expansive, or when times were hard. Those curling chimney stacks, and corridors and eaves stacked one next to the other, provided the comfort of a sweet disorder ..."
That's a passage from Iain Pears' novel An Instance Of The Fingerpost; I like it for the image its final phrase offers, and for the idea that a house, as he describes, reveals a family's history - or did so in the 1600s, the period of which he writes. The curling chimney stacks pictured here belong to the Tudor part of Hampton Court Palace, itself the subject of remodelling by Wren.
Thanks to The Landmark Trust, you can stay at Hampton Court, either in Tudor quarters or - as we have done - more spacious Georgian ones.