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Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Beningbrough Hall and Gardens

Beningbrough Hall and Gardens near York is a stunning red-brick Georgian stately home maintained by the National Trust, which houses a large collection of 18th century treasures including over 100 portraits loaned by the National Portrait Gallery with seven new interpretation galleries. It has one of Britain's finest baroque interiors and amazing cantilevered stairs, exceptional wood carving and unusual central corridors which run the length of the house. As well as the fantastic house, the property is surrounded by stunning gardens and parkland, as is typical of stately homes. Beningbrough has a working walled vegetable garden from which the produce is used in the restaurant, so you can see and then taste the crops they produce.




Beningbrough Hall, was built in 1716 by John Bourchier Yorkshire landowner to replace his family's previous home on the site. He employed William Thornton to oversee the construction, however the actual architect at Beningbrough's is not recorded and despite investigations by the National Trust it remains a mystery. There is however a suggestion that it may have been Thomas Archer.

Bourchier was a wealthy landowner and was also the High Sheriff of Yorkshire between 1719 and 1721, however he died at the age of only 52 in 1736. The estate passed down through the Bourchier family for over 100 years, until in 1827 the estate eas passed to William Henry Dawnay, the future 6th Viscount Downe, a distant relative. He died in 1846 and left the house to his second son, Payan, who was High Sheriff for 1851.

However over this period the house and gardens had become quite neglected, prompting fears that it may need to be demolished. But the estate had a turn of good fortune, when in 1916 Enid Scudamore-Stanhope, Countess of Chesterfield, bought it and immediately set about its restoration, filling it with furnishings and paintings from her ancestral home, Holme Lacy.

In common with many similar estates the property was used by the government during the Second World War when it was utilised by the RAF. Lady Chesterfield passed away in 1957 and in June the following year estate was acquired by the National Trust in lieu of government death duties.


Bumble bee by the Lavender

The planting schemes focus on herbaceous perennials, and long borders are packed with hostas, alchemilla mollis, lavender, astilbes and various other traditional garden plants to great effect. they have fantastic leaves on the hostas, successfully keeping the slugs away. 


The gardens near to the house are more formal, with parkland beyond the immediate areas. This formal pool surrounded by clipped box balls and well tended lavender works particularly well. The planting in the grounds do follow a fairly restricted planting palate and a little more diversity would be beneficial. However everything is very well tended.
Water droplets on alchemilla mollis
Beningbrough Hall and Gardens are located very close to York and the Holiday Inn Hotel in York which would make a good base to stay. It is located just next to York Racecourse and has recently won a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence award. We spent a long weekend in York and explored not just the Beningbrough Hall and Gardens but also many of the other sites in York itself. There is so much to do such as vistiting York Minster or the Jorvic Viking centre. York is pretty well connected by road and rail from elsewhere so although it was quite a long way to travel for us it wasn't a difficult journey. If you want to stay further afield then the Crown Plaza in Leeds is within an easy drive of the gardens which would give you a great base for shopping!

The Hall and Gardens are well worth a visit! Hope you have a great time  

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