Friday, 30 August 2013

A Lovely Weekend and a Country House Visit

We spent a lovely weekend this Bank Holiday, visiting relatives in Yorkshire, catching up on family news and just relaxing and enjoying each others' company.

We arrived mid afternoon on Saturday after a 4-5 hour drive with puppy in her cage in the boot, stopping to let her out to stretch her legs a couple of times.  It was good to finally get there as continuing jet lag made the journey quite a challenging one.  We spent the rest of the day catching up, going for a walk, having a lovely meal together, etc.

The following day was busy for our hosts as they were also hosting a Pony Club event on the Bank Holiday Monday and needed to get on with preparing jumps for the event.  As a consequence Other Half and I took ourselves off, leaving Little Bird to play with her cousins.  He went to take his nephew to rugby training, whilst I meanwhile, was dropped off at nearby Sledmere House and Gardens,

a local, privately owned Country House and estate open to the public, which I had wanted to take a look around for several years now.


I arrived there quite early which I was later grateful for, as it got busier as the morning progressed.  I was very pleasantly surprised to find that the admission to the house and gardens was only £8, which I thought a very reasonable amount as there was much of interest to see and enjoy in this visit.

I started my visit with a look at an introductory display telling visitors all about the history of the house and the family that still own it, through the generations.  It was very interesting and encouraged me to continue into the house and gardens themselves.

The gardens were beautiful and the view from the house of the fountain, down to the deer enclosure and beyond was fabulous. 

I wandered around the unusually shaped octagonal walled garden.  They always remind me of the infamous 'Secret Garden' and I would secretly love one myself.

I strolled around taking in the beautiful flower borders,


the wisteria walk (still under development) and the potager or vegetable garden which was started in 2010.  It was wonderfully peaceful with just a couple of other visitors in there at the same time.  I admired some of my favourite flowers, such as these lovely ragged looking monardias,


the lovely lambs ear,

some fabulously huge blousy dahlias,

beautiful collections of succulents (I can feel a new obsession coming on)

and these lovely water lillies on one of the smaller fountains plus many more.

I imagined myself lying under the canopy of this lovely old tree reading a book and enjoying the shade on a hot sunny day.

I particularly loved this little statue a girl and her pet rabbit.  So sweet.

I later wandered through the grounds and admired some of the magnificent trees. 

I spotted some beech nuts on a huge beech tree which reminded me of how I used to sit under a beech tree at my primary school and eat the beech nuts which tasted delicious.  I looked for some nuts to eat, but of the ones fallen to the ground, none were sufficiently developed to merit eating them sadly.

I wandered round to the parterre garden with it's neatly clipped hedges and topiary and brightly coloured flowers between. 

After visiting the chapel with it's beautiful stained glass windows, I ventured into the house where I wasn't able to take photographs unfortunately, but spent another hour wandering around the various rooms filled with paintings, furniture and other family possessions collected over the generations most having being salvaged when the original house was destroyed by a fire in 1911 or thereabouts.

The Turkish tiled room was exquisite and a particular favourite, covered from top to bottom with tiles shipped from the East in the early part of the 20th Century.   It reminded me of our visit to Morocco a couple of years ago.  I was told the story, by a very helpful member of the staff, of how the tiles were shipped to England on two ships and how one ship had sunk en route, and consequently only the drying off room was able to be completed.  It was incredibly beautiful.

There was also an exhibition of paintings by a couple of artists who have captured the beauty of Yorkshire's east coast and the Yorkhire Wolds (aside from David Hockney of course), one of whom I will definitely be checking the website of on my return to London.

Sledmere House, which is still incidentally inhabited by the Sykes family, is well worth a visit if you are ever in the vicinity of Sledmere, located 7 miles NW of  Driffield, or 19 miles South West of Scarborough, East Yorkshire.  The history of the Sykes family who have owned the house through the centuries is a fascinating one and although I had just a couple of hours to explore this property and it's grounds, I could easily have spent much longer here. The house also has a programme of events throughout the season which you can check out on their website

Please note that this is not a sponsored post.  I am just sharing my experience of a very interesting place to visit.


  1. How lovely to be free to wonder around these lovely gardens. I always veer towards the walled gardens, something so magical about them ( Yes The Secret Garden )
    I like herb & kitchen gardens too.

    1. Yes, it felt wonderfully indulgent and relaxing. I'd wanted to go for a while and it wasn't a disappointment.