Major Percy Stewart founded these wonderful gardens in the early 20th century and they are dedicated to his life as an explorer who made 8 round the world tours between 1906 and 1926. The fascinating museum here shows how , and where, he travelled to. It contains artefacts he brought home with him.
The two lakes are home to a National Collection of Hardy Water Lilies and offer a wonderful array of changing vistas. The Gardens also include a Rockery, Stumpery, a Victorian Garden, Secret Garden, formal beds and natural shrubbery. In the pine forest section look for the faces carved in to the trees.
There is a café and gift shop here and on summer Sundays a brass band plays.
Admission (2014) is £4.60 with concessions and allow 4 hours for a visit. Disabled friendly throughout apart from possibly the pine forest walk.
While I stayed in York, I did five day trips in total.
My first one was to Scarborough, where VT member Colin showed me around. Scarborough is very easy to reach from York, and it is a nice seaside town with the ruins of an old castle, a pretty harbour and connections to the Bronte sisters. Picture 4 shows Scarborough harbour.
Two days later, I went to Leeds by train, again very easy to reach. I mainly went to Leeds because the author J.R.R. Tolkien lived there for a few years, but I found so much more: A likable city with great buildings and museums, and the funny and interesting owl trail! In picture 3 you can see the owl emblem on Leeds Bridge.
My third day trip was to Haworth, again for literary reasons, as this was the home of the Bronte sisters. It is a wonderful Yorkshire village and does not only offer the Bronte Parsonage, but also great walks in the surroundings moors. Picture 5 was taken during my walk to the Bronte Waterfall.
I also did a combined day trip to several destinations: I first went to Pickering by bus, then took the steam train to Goathland and on to Whitby, and in the evening took the bus again back to York. I must admit that this day trip was a bit stressful and I am not sure if I would recommend it like this, but both Pickering and Whitby are worth a trip and I really want to return to see more of those places! Especially Whitby really captured my heart with its ruined Abbey, wonderful beaches and the Captain Cook Museum. Picture 1 is a view from the jetty of the shore, the abbey and the church.
On my last day in York I went to Durham, which was another fantastic trip. The cathedral there was just stunning, and there are more fascinating sights such as the old castle that is now a university, the river and small local museums. You can see Durham Cathedral in picture 2, I took it from a viewpoint close to the railway station.
There is so much to see in Yorkshire and its surroundings, and the good thing is that the train connections are very good and many places are within easy reach and accessible by public transport. I pre-booked all of my train tickets on nationalrail.co.uk to save some money. I cannot wait to return and explore more!
Castle Howard has been the home of part of the Howard family for more than 300 years. Castle Howard is a stately home, one of the grandest private residences in Britain. Most of the castle was built between 1699 and 1712 for the 3rd Earl of Carlisle, to a design by Sir John Vanbrugh who was a “Kit Cat Club” member as was the Earl. He had in fact never built anything before. Before embarking on this project.
Vanbrugh's design developed into a Baroque structure with two projecting wings symmetrically on either side of a north-south axis. The crowning central dome was added to the design at a later stage, in fact after building had started. Construction began at the East End, with the East Wing constructed from 1701–1703, the East End of the Garden Front from 1701 to 1706, the Central Block (including dome) from 1703 to 1706, and the West End of the Garden Front from 1707-1709. The Earl used about 30 percent of his yearly income for several years during the building. After the east wing was completed he turned to the landscaping of the gardens and the west wing was not completed (or even started) when Vanbrugh died in 1726. This even though he had begged the Earl to get the work started. The house was in fact incomplete when the 3rd Earl died in 1738. Further construction finally started on the orders of the 4th Earl. However it was not Vanbrugh's design that was completed - the West Wing was built in a contrasting Palladian style designed by the 3rd Earl's son-in-law, Sir Thomas Robinson. The new wing was still incomplete (it had no first floor or roof) when the 4th Earl died in 1758. Although a roof had been added, the interior remained undecorated by the death of Robinson in 1777. The rooms were completed one for one over the following decades, and it was completely finished in 1811.
It is familiar to television and movie audiences as the fictional "Brideshead", both in Granada Television's 1981 adaptation of Evelyn Waugh's Brideshead Revisited.
It really is a lovely castle - unfortunately when we visited it poured with rain the whole day so I have no photos!!!
We arrived earlier from London than we had expected so we drove around north of York , the North York Moorsfor a few hours. This is the land that inspired Emily Bronte, James Herriot, and other writers. It was a beautiful drive and a good introduction to the English countryside
Impressive castle from 1699 (designed by Vanbrugh) and still lived in by the Howard family. It is famous for being the location where the TV-series 'Brideshead Revisited' with Anthony Andrews and Jeremy Irons was filmed and has featured in other TV-series too. The house is huge and has its own chapel. Since big castles cost money, the Howards opened up their home to visitors many years ago and even if you don't get to see it all, you can see many of the fantastic rooms with a guide and also visit the grounds. Whatever you do, don't miss the astrology fountain! There is also a Costume Museum in the old stables, showing fashion throughout history. You can see a few more pictures on my Malton page.
During the Middle Ages, this was a wealthy, prominent monastery. Originally, it was the minster of St Olave at Galmanho. In 1068, it was refounded as a Benedictine monastery.
After King Henry VIII dissolved the monasteries in 1539, while founding the Church of England, it was abandoned. Now a ruin, it remains an interesting place to visit.
Nearby is an astronomical observatory, built by the Yorkshire Philosophical Society in 1831. For many years, it had the world's largest refracting telescope, designed by York's own Thomas Cook. In 1981, it was restored and refitted to mark the 150th anniversary of the British Association for the Advancement of Science.
When staying in York you simply must visit the Yorkshire Dales. We jave often visited the Yorkshire Moors but this was our first visit to the Dales - we missed out by not seeing it before!
The Moors and the Dales are very different and the Dales have this historical instance of small single barns in each field - a throw back to the time when fields were individually owned.
Another quaint little town near York is Knaresborough. It is a station away from Harrogate. It is a much smaller town but has some castle ruins and a nice view of the River Nidd. We were there during market day which has been held for well over 700 years now -- that's a long time! Nowadays, the market is like a small flea market with everything from dishware, to sweets to clothing for sale. England's oldest chemist shop (pharmacy) dating from 1720 is also here.
We had one dinner in Knaresborough and found a small place called Hannah's to be quite nice. There were several other restaurants and some cozy-looking pubs as well.
Harrogate is a really nice town about 30 minutes from York by train. It was famous as a spa town for its many mineral wells and enjoyed quite some popularity a century or two ago. Now there is only one bath house still operating. We wanted to enter the baths but the schedule alternates between men, women and mixed and we weren't there on a mixed gender day.
Harrogate has all the trappings of a decent sized town. Plenty of shops and restaurants as well as some historical sites such as the Royal Pump Museum. We enjoyed the one-pound store where everything is just one pound. All the other stores were far too expensive for us!
Depicted here is the original Harrogate Betty's cafe. We didn't eat here but we ate at the one in York and afternoon tea was scrumptious.
The time 1940 a Girls School must be evacuated lets put the school in Castle Howard.
Well Bliss Howard gets rid of the riff raff army. Officer burns his papers in the fire and the paper takes off up the lum (Chimney) never to be seen. It's war time the Lums are not swept chimmneys in the Castle go everywhich way, a time bomb is primed to go off.
The headmistress hears a rushing noise she gets up out of bed and opens door after door opening closing and FIRE A WALL of FIRE !
She closes the door the girls are taken to the bomb shelters and a phone call is made, they search for the number and it rings....(Except that the number for the Fire Brigade changed years ago and no one changed it. Why? Because they knew the number}....It's answerd..."Help Fire fire at Castle Howard help come quick.." Okay said the man and he put on his coat and went to help !!
The fire had now got a real grip the Older girls were told to get out the shelters and help...they smashed the windows pulled down the paintings and threw them out along with priceless books they piled them up in the Boar Garden and then.....it rained.
But where was the bloody Fire Brigade??
Realizing something was amiss someone got on a cycle and went to find a phone. They called YORK....Don't you know theres a war on? We can't just come you know we need to be told by.....them at.....
Two and a half hours later they arrive by, this time a spark lands on the dome and up it goes like a firework! What the fire did not distroy the water did.
Half the house gone (The Best & Older half) the Dome acted like a firebrake and is stopped. Then.......the sound of Airoplanes and they were german....panic fear......but the flew on by.
Luckily in 1936 a photoragpher had take lots of photos and he was still alive !
There are no plans blueprints of Castle Howard nothing, but this chap could recall where he stood and what lens he used and so very clever people rebuilt the Dome. YOU CAN'T TELL it's new. And so when they have the money some day the rest will be rebuilt too.
Leeds is the second largest metropolitan district in the UK. It is located also in West Yorkshire. A vibrant, affluent capital, Leeds complements its economic success with a lively arts, sporting and entertainment scene. New and refurbished theatres, shopping malls, hotels, galleries and cafe bars rub shoulders with stylish offices and award-winning architecture.
Very near to Halifax there is the town of Bradford which houses one of the most popular British Museums outside London: The National Museum of Photography, Film and Television, opened in 1983. There's also an Imax Cinema at that Museum. Bradford is also the home of writers Brontë Sisters and contemporary painter David Hockney.
Hebden Bridge is a lovely village located in Calderdale too very near to Halifax. Hebden Bridge, as Halifax, was the site of new textile mills when steam power arrived. The Rochdale Canal was opened in 1804 as the first canal to cut through the Pennines and Lancashire. It transformed this remote winding valley into a prosperous industrial area. Nowadays you can visit the canal through Calder Valley Cruising.
The Yorkshire Dales are made for walking. There a lot of trails. On the way you pass many sheep. There are all sorts of sheep in England, especially in the Dales. Watch out for the sheep dogs. They protect the farmer's properties rather fierce.
Whitby. This city has a small beach (sand). But more attracting are the tales full of mystery that are told about Whitby. Not surprising because the Yorkshire Moors are not far away. One story is all about Whitby Abbey (picture).
In the rocks by the beach there are fossiles to be found (low tide).