Inside Harewood House

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….

42 thoughts on “Inside Harewood House

  1. What a splendid finale to your week in Yorkshire. We visited about twenty years ago but you’ve reminded me that I should return sometime. It was so nice to see personal touches such as photos dotted around and not just be set out as a museum piece. Hope you’ve had a good, family half term break if it was this week Joy.

    • We thoroughly enjoyed our visit here Marion, there is so much to see and do, our son was as I said completely exhausted but we still enjoyed it all. We’ve got a 2 week half-term so another week school free is rather nice. We’re mid kitchen renovation though – not so nice as it looks like a bomb has hit our house but fingers crossed it will be worth it!! Hope your weekend is going well – we’re trying to make the most of the sunshine today…

  2. This reminds me strongly of Longleat. I loved it very much, the mansion, the garden, the zoo, and the safari park. Thank you for sharing Harewood House. What a precious place!

    • We were very early arriving here that day but it definitely paid off. We had the Below Stairs area all to ourselves and there were just a few people exploring the main part of the house – perfect!!

  3. The library! Amazing! (And the dollhouse!) What a dream. I just spent ten minutes pretending I live there. Love to see your young son is growing so tall… how does that happen so fast? My Miss G is doing the same…

    • There’s just something about doll houses that I can’t resist – this one was especially splendid!! He turned 14 in September and seems to be changing and growing so much – time goes by too fast. How old is Miss G?

      • Oh my goodness – old enough to keep me so busy that I missed this for a month! She will be 12 next spring, and it seems like 5 minutes since she was 2. The world is her oyster, and we are her event planner/chauffeurs! Keeps us on our toes, but it is the very best kind of life. Keep sharing your travels – they are little highlights in my days!

  4. Harewood House is a stunning stately home, and the gardens are in a league of their own. I visited a few years back (how time flies!) and thoroughly enjoyed it. Nice to see that they’ve made a feature out of the costumes from the TV series Victoria – my visit pre-dated that!

    • We really loved it too – the perfect mix of indoor and outdoor things to do. The Victoria costumes were so interesting to see, I think they’re only there for a limited time but that was good – it forced us to get a move on and visit.

      • It really is, and it has something for all ages to enjoy too. Nothing like a temporary exhibition to make you commit to a visit!

    • The costume exhibition was what spurred me on to visit, it’s only for a limited time and I really wanted to see it. I’m glad it did though, there is so much to see and do at Harewood and we had such a great time Hilary.

  5. Thanks for sharing this! There were so many places that I didn’t get to visit when I was living in England, which I very much regret now, as I’ll probably never get another chance to do it, but these posts have given me the opportunity to see what I missed.

  6. Wow, amazing! I smiled thinking your son could’ve used the bed there since he was so tired from camp! 😜
    My son is that way too every time we pick him up from camp especially they have a big party on their last night!

  7. I used to visit here a lot whilst growing up Joy – we were living in north Leeds at that point not too far away. I remember the bird garden – wonder if that’s still there? I remember all the story around the royal connection too and touring round the stately rooms – hard to believe it’s someone’s home! The costume displays really caught my eye and my granddaughters would adore that doll’s house! 🙂

    • The bird garden is still there Rosemary, we had a walk around there too. The doll’s house was just amazing, my son and I studied it up for ages, there’s something so compelling about dolls houses I always think!

      • Yes I’m on the look out for a wooden one for my granddaughters for Christmas Joy (from my daughter and son in law but they are very busy with work so I’m going to locate one!). I still have the old doll’s house that my girls had when they were little, set up here for our granddaughters! 🙂

      • Children always love doll’s houses Joy! Am very happy as managed to get a lovely wooden house today as a specialist toy shop. I thought I was going to have to send off for one from a company that make them in Queensland but then found the exact same one in this shop so saved on the postage and packing. It was hard to restrain myself there were so many lovely things in that shop – I’ve bought some cute furniture to go inside the house so hope the girls love it as much as I do!!!

  8. Oh lord this is an impressive estate! I am currently writing down a list of not-to-be-missed astonishing British Mansions (being inspired by Pride and Prejudice mostly, even though it’s a different “time”), apart from Harewood House could you recommend 2 other similar places you liked?

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