Must-visit Former Abodes of the Famous

Forget overpriced sightseeing tours around the perimeter gates of Hollywood’s celebrity mansions and take a drive to these houses steeped in history and culture…

Einstein’s former living room in Berne. The living conditions of the theoretical physicist and his family have been accurately recreated using furniture from the early 1900s. Photo by Gerd Kortemeyer via Wikipedia.

1. ALBERT EINSTEIN
Kramgasse No. 49, Berne, Switzerland 

Why go? Einstein stayed here between 1903 and 1905. It was here he developed the Special Theory of Relativity and began his work on General Theory. The house has been restored to the style of that period.

2. NORMAN MAILER
627 Commercial Street, Provincetown, Cape Cod, USA

Why go? Mailer used to throw wild parties here for friends such as Gore Vidal and Kurt Vonnegut. The third floor writing room remains untouched since Mailer’s death and features a ‘Bellevue’ sign to remind Mailer to keep his drinking under control.

3. THE ROLLING STONES
Villa Nellcote, Villefranche-sur-Mer, Côte d’Azur, France

Why go? During the summer of 1971 the villa became home to The Rolling Stones who recorded the seminal Exile on Main Street in the basement. Mick Taylor’s ‘Ventilator Blues’ was inspired by this airless recording studio.

Churchill’s former home, Chartwell House, in Kent. Photo by Baryonic Being via Wikipedia.

4. SIR WINSTON CHURCHILL
Chartwell House, Westerham, Kent

Why go? The gardens are spectacular, you get to see Churchill’s giant bed and the vast array of gifts (mostly ornate cigar boxes) that he was given by other world leaders.

5. JOHN LENNON
Kenwood Wood Lane, St George’s Hill Estate, Weybridge, Surrey

Why go? Lennon sold the house after divorcing from first wife Cynthia. Since then it has been said that every successive owner has sold the property due to divorce. It is currently on the market with a starting price of £15,000,000.

6. KURT COBAIN
1210 First Street, Aberdeen, Washington, USA

Why go? Kurt Cobain’s childhood home is now on sale at over $430,000 more than the house was last valued at. It might be worth it for the stenciled Led Zeppelin and Iron Maiden logos Kurt put on his former bedroom walls, as well as a few holes he made in them.

Roald Dahl’s gypsy caravan, immortalised in ‘Danny the Champion of the World’ (right), in the garden at his former house in Buckinghamshire. Photo by George Mahoney via Wikipedia. Illustration by Quentin Blake.

7. ROALD DAHL
Gipsy House Whitefield Lane, Great Missenden, Buckinghamshire

Why Go? The garden contains Dahl’s famous writing shed as well as the caravan from ‘Danny the Champion of the World’ and trees bearing James’ giant peaches.

8. COCO CHANEL
Villa La Pausa, Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, France

Why go? The building was inspired by the Cistercian convent where Chanel grew up. Such was her attention to detail that she demanded the convent’s staircase be replicated, recalling the original from memory. Famous guests included Igor Stravinsky, Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dalí.

9. BOB DYLAN
Aultmore House in Nethy Bridge, Scotland

Why go? The property can be rented for parties and wedding receptions for around £24k, but don’t expect to see Bob hanging about. The 25-acre property house features views of the Cairngorms mountain range, ten bedrooms and two cottages which can also be rented for £400 per night.

Rudyard Kipling’s 17th-century house in East Sussex has been left to the National Trust and is open to the public. Photo by Linda Spashett via Wikipedia.

10. RUDYARD KIPLING
Bateman’s Lane, Burwash, East Sussex

Why go? This Jacobean house was the home of Kipling and his wife for over 30 years. The rooms remain just as he left them, with his oriental rugs and artefact collection still on display.

11. PABLO PICASSO
Mas de Notre-Dame du Vie, Mougins, France

Why go? Picasso spent the final 12 years of his life in this home studio. It’s now on the market for a whopping $220 million, so now might be the last chance to take a look at the 35-room villa featuring a pair of swimming pools and eight bathrooms.