Talliston House & Gardens – Great Dunmow, England - Atlas Obscura

Talliston House & Gardens

An English artist has turned an unassuming ex-council house into a time-lost house of mystery. 


Once an ordinary house in an ordinary street, Talliston has been transformed into a wonderland of unique and inspirational locations.

Behind an arched oak door set in a thicket hedge lies Talliston House & Gardens. With a name that means “the hidden place,” this once ordinary house hides thirteen rooms, each set in a different time and place. Begun in 1990 and 25 years in the making, the project has taken one of Britain’s ordinary homes – a three-bedroomed, semi-detached, ex-council house in Essex – and transformed it into a wonderland of inspirational locations including a medieval tower and Cambodian treehouse.

Part interior design project and part artistic installation, this private house is the creation of author and artist, John Trevillian and a team of craftspeople and volunteers. Using traditional techniques and authentic items sourced from around the globe, we have created something from nothing, or perhaps more accurately, something incredible from nothing special. It is Talliston’s outward normality that is its magic; it is truly somewhere extraordinary within the ordinary.

While keeping the original layout and function of the original house, Talliston is now set out as a spiraling path leading from the front gate up to the attic room. By walking the labyrinth of the house, you find yourself leaving the present, and entering the past. And then – by moving from room to room – you leave the past and enter the future. Step from a Moorish bedchamber into a 1920s study, or from a New Orleans kitchen into a Victorian retreat – all just by opening the house’s many doors and seeing what lies behind them.

Yet the essence of the house is more than how it looks; it is also how it sounds, smells, tastes and feels. Every location has a story woven into it, and while images of the house are astonishing, Talliston is not designed to be a place viewed in photographs or picture books but instead to be experienced.

Know Before You Go

Talliston House & Gardens is located 9 miles from Bishops Stortford, 4 miles from the M11 and 1 mile northwest from the A120. An hour from London Liverpool Street to Bishops Stortford, then 15 minutes by taxi. 7 miles from London Stansted and 35 miles from London City airports.

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