On a cobbled street near shiny Spitalfields, inside a five-storey townhouse, the past is a foreign country you can visit.

Step through the wooden door into the dark hallway of Dennis Severs’ House and you’re whisked back to the 18th century, to a time when the Jervises, a family of silk-weavers, lived here.

Each of the 10 candlelit rooms has been furnished and fragranced to feel as though the owners have just left – from the kitchen with a burning hearth and fresh loaf, to the ruffled sheets of the perfume-scented bedroom.

As you explore the past in silence, absorbing the sights, sounds and smells, it seems the house is haunted by another presence – the eponymous Dennis Severs, who created this ‘still-life drama’ and lived in it until his death in 1999.


» Folgate St, E1 6BX Liverpool Street (dennissevershouse.co.uk). From £5

Verdict: time machine