The Idler Festival at Fenton House

Friday 13th July to Sunday 15th July

Unit price



We have teamed up with the National Trust’s Fenton House in Hampstead to bring you a three day festival of idling in July.

Michael Palin will be in philosophical conversation with Tom Hodgkinson, and there will be harpsichord recitals, calligraphy classes and lots of lounging about in the house and its beautiful walled garden.


Photo by John Swannell

Fenton is a Queen Anne merchant’s house in the heart of Hampstead village. Its elegant reception rooms and bedrooms will set the scene for Idler Academy tutors to host salons where you can drop in and ask questions over a glass of wine or a cocktail. Go on a walk with Oldie editor Harry Mount and ask him about London’s architecture. Sit on the bed in the master bedroom with Idler Agony Aunt Virginia Ironside and ask her advice. Learn about philosophers from Plato to Alan Watts under the apple trees in the orchard. Lounge on the lawn to virtuoso piano from the Penguin Café’s Arthur Jeffes.

There will be wandering minstrels, dancing lessons, beekeeping, gardening, calligraphy, ukulele and harmonica lessons, fashion in the house and the Idler Good Stuff market. Food is by Zoe’s Ghana Kitchen.  

Talks include Edith Hall on Aristotle, Fiona Sampson on Mary Shelley, Paul Kildea on Chopin’s piano, Sally PhillipsJohn Lloyd, Carole Cadwalladr, Matthew Green, Laura Freeman and much more to be announced.


Lady Binning’s bedroom, photo by National Trust

Location: Fenton House is a brick mansion with a walled garden built for a wealthy merchant in the 17th century. It houses the Benton Fletcher collection of harpsichords, 17th-century needlework, a ceramics collection featuring Chinese and 18th-century pieces, formal lawns, a sunken rose garden, yew hedges, a 300-year-old orchard and a working kitchen garden. It was given to the National Trust by the last owner Lady Binning in 1952.


Friday 13th: 6pm-9pm

Saturday 14th: 12pm-7pm followed by afterparty at the Holly Bush pub at the bottom of the garden

Sunday 15th: 12-7pm.

The Idler Festival is sponsored by:



13-15 July


6-9pm on Friday; 12-7pm on Saturday and Sunday


Fenton House, Hampstead Grove, London NW3 6SP


£90 Early Bird tickets now available

To Book

Add to basket or call 0203 176 7907


Tickets allow entry to the Idler Festival at Fenton House on all three days


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