Sad to be leaving our Staithes cottage, we were also mighty excited to be seeing Son again after his week at camp. We left in good time for the drive to Harrogate, our plan was to collect him and then spend the day at nearby Harewood House.
Our journey was good, we arrived to find a rather exhausted looking boy, very obvious at first glance that sleep (and washing) seemed not to have featured too highly on his agenda. The most important thing though was he’d had a great time. No surprises for me at this pick-up (I’ve been through it before) and I brought fresh clothes in an attempt to make him a tad more presentable for our day out. The lack of sleep I could not help with.
Harewood House was one of those places I had long planned to visit but never quite got around to it. We were early birds and arrived an hour or so before the house itself opened.
The coffee shop was in full swing so refreshments and a chance to study the map and plan our day was most welcome. There is a lot to see and do here, we didn’t want to miss any of it. We also managed to see the penguins being fed.
The house is beautiful and very impressive. Built in the 18th century for Edwin Lascelles, the first Baron Harewood, I love that it is still home to the Lascelles family. We had a wander outside and around the formal gardens.
Son also had a look in the Upside Down Shed – it turned out to be a camera obscura.
We headed Below Stairs first. The servants quarters and kitchens always intrigue me the most in these big houses. Plenty to see and do, we learned about how the servants lived and ran the house.
I never fail to be impressed by the bells. How did they ever tell the different rings for the different rooms and remember them – they all sound the same to me.
There is a fascinating exhibition about Princess Mary, eldest daughter of King George V and aunt to our present day Queen. She married Henry Viscount Lascelles and when he inherited his father’s title, moved to this house where she lived for over 30 years.
We learned about her life before and during her time at Harewood and saw many personal items on display. I found it fascinating. Son was more focussed on finding a quiet spot to sit and snooze. The week of no sleep was most definitely catching up with him.
Upstairs the house is grand and impressive. The whole place is full of rare Chippendale furniture, stunning artwork and very ornate rooms. There are family touches and photos too though which remind you this place is still a home.
The friendly guides in every room were wonderful. All lovely, all keen to chat and point out things of interest, they gave the impression they really loved their job and this house.
Son and I were taken with the dolls house – a fully working miniature, even the clock keeps accurate time and every book in the little library can be read with a magnifying glass.
We discovered more royal photographs and more information on the royal connection.
An intriguing bed, apparently the most expensive ever commissioned was on display. Made by Chippendale, he never made another like it. It was slept in just once by the then Princess Victoria when she visited in 1835 before her coronation.
A fan of the TV series Victoria, I was excited to see the costumes from series 1 on display. Parts of this were filmed at Harewood House, I read about the different episodes and got to see the dresses up close – a highlight being the stunning coronation gown. I loved this, Husband and Son not so much.
Family pictures everywhere and even a photo of William and Kate visiting was on display.
We strolled through these ornate, elaborate and gorgeous rooms taking in all the opulence. Son just about managed to stay awake….