Friday, 4 August 2017

Happy day at Harewood House

My birthday fell on a Sunday this year and I knew that I wanted to have a proper day out with my husband on the Saturday, with a family do on my birthday. We decided to pay a visit to Harewood House, situated between Leeds and Harrogate and about an hour's drive from us. Harewood was built in 1759 by Edwin Lascelles and he was determined to surround himself with glorious things. He employed craftspeople such as Thomas Chippendale (furniture), Robert Adam (interior design) and Capability Brown (gardens) to make this happen.

The Terrace, built in the 1840's.
See more here.
In the Himalayan garden.
It is a fabulous spot. You can visit the house, gardens, walled kitchen garden, parkland, lake, small farm and bird garden which has an active conservation programme. There are plenty of places to sit and relax and take in the scenery. If you are lucky you will see red kites flying over the estate as they have had success with the birds there. We watched them wheeling and playing for quite some time. I spent much of my time on the visit considering what it would have been like to live there in the 1800's and reflecting on the huge chasm that there was between the lives of the rich and the lives of the poor.

The lakeside garden.
We were lucky that Yorkshire supplied us with one of it's rare but wonderful sunny days so we made the most of it exploring the whole estate.

We decided to have a look around the house first and tried not to be put off when a hoard of Brownies made it inside just in front of us. Luckily they were less bothered about soaking up the atmosphere and details then we were so they got ahead pretty quickly.

Ready for a tour?
The Old Library which had a display of etchings
done by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.

A magnificent bathroom belonging to Princess Mary's dressing room.
Princess Mary was Queen Victoria's great granddaughter.
Bathroom ceiling and light
A section of amazing hand painted wallpaper in the East Bedroom.
You can see more of it here.
The State Bedroom, the bed was made by Chippendale.
Princess Victoria slept here on a visit in 1835.
The Spanish Library. The bookcases hide secret doors for the servants to go through.
The Yellow Drawing Room
The ceiling of the Gallery 
The State Dining Room
The Music Room with the stunning Axminster carpet designed
by Robert Adam.
Such sumptuous interiors! Even the carpets, wallpapers and ceilings are amazing. You can see that money was no object.

After touring the upstairs rooms you can have a look around below stairs. There is a massive kitchen such as you see in Downton Abbey and a room especially for cleaning and sorting the produce that comes in from the gardens.

I always like looking at the bell indicator boards in big old houses. I like seeing what all the rooms were called.

More bell boards.

There are also several exhibitions on within the house. I particularly enjoyed the Plaster Bust Re-imagined by Kathy Dalwood.

Miss Egypt
Miss London Town
The artist casts found objects in plaster and moulds them together to make these reinterpretations of Victorian busts. I found them fascinating, looking at all the individual elements and such a clever idea.

The other exhibition is the subject of my next post. It involves costumes...


  1. What stunning rooms! I think my dream house would be on a much smaller scale, but if it could have secret doors and a stream with steps like that, I'd be very happy :)

    1. I do like a secret door, they seem very Enid Blyton to me! It is a stunning house.

  2. What a lovely house. The colours seem much lighter and airier than in a lot of stately homes. I'm glad you had such a lovely day out for your brithday.

    1. It was very nice and bright in there, so colourful and pretty.