Wonderful selection of world-famous houses including Harewood & Temple Newsam
Spectacular gardens such as Newby Hall
Marvellous opportunity to see the work of both Robert Adam & Thomas Chippendale at their best
Some truly magisterial medieval ruins at Fountains Abbey & elsewhere
Hotel set in handsome estate village of Ripley
North Yorkshire has spectacular scenery
Yorkshire, England’s largest county, has an unrivalled group of magnificent houses and gardens. Some have been open to the public for decades, if not centuries. Several of those included in this tour will be visited outside of normal opening hours, while others are not open to the public, thus giving us a more leisurely series of visits when we can enjoy their treasures under ‘connoisseur’ viewing conditions.
Our framework will be the architectural development of the country house together with the surrounding landscape and garden. Equally important will be the evolution of decorative design in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, culminating in the career of Thomas Chippendale, England’s most famous furniture designer. Indeed, we are particularly fortunate that James Lomax, the world’s leading expert on Chippendale, has agreed to co-lead several of our private visits and his unrivalled knowledge will surely add burnished lustre to our discoveries.
Yorkshire born Chippendale exercised astonishing influence on his contemporaries, partly through The Gentleman and Cabinet-Maker’s Director, the first text of its kind solely devoted to the furniture and furnishings of eighteenth century interiors in England, resulting in his illustrious international reputation today. It is appropriate that one of our major visits will be to Temple Newsam House near Leeds, a stunning building, which contains one of the best series of historic interiors in the country and it is the home of The Chippendale Society and where many pieces of his furniture are displayed.
Three other magnificent houses also have wonderful interiors (particularly the work of Robert Adam at his most inventive), marvellous contents and some of Chippendale’s finest pieces - Newby Hall, Harewood House and Nostell Priory, all of which we shall visit when closed. Other private visits include, from an earlier period, Markenfield Hall, a rare survival of a romantic, moated medieval manor house, and in total contrast, a recently designed classical country house by noted Yorkshire architect Francis Johnston, hardy ever open. Landscapes and gardens will include wonderful landscape parks at Studley Royal and some truly innovative modern planting at Newby and Scampston.
Our base will be the charming village of Ripley at the comfortable 3* Boar’s Head Hotel. The village and our hotel are part of the Ripley Castle estate, the seat of the Ingilby family. Ripley is about ten minutes drive from Harrogate and sits in unspoilt dales countryside.
Day by day
- Day 1: Sunday 18 July
- Participants should arrive and check into The Boar’s Head Hotel in Ripley in the late afternoon. We meet formally for our first visit when we go by coach in the early evening to Markenfield Hall, the home of Mr Ian and Lady Deirdre Curteis, who will be our hosts for a private visit and a Welcome Cocktail Party. For once, the term “unique” is a justified description as this is the finest example of a moated fourteenth-century house in England – a haven of romance and peace! We return to The Boar’s Head for our first group dinner.
- Day 2: Monday 19 July
- Newby Hall, the home of the Compton family, is remarkable by any standard. This very fine house contains superb furniture, decorative arts and sculpture. The internal decorations include a series of rooms created by Robert Adam at the height of his powers. Then there are the famous gardens, which we will have time to explore. Our private tour of Newby will include coffee and lunch. A short drive will take us to one of the county’s historic landscape parks, Studley Royal, one of the finest water gardens of the eighteenth century. It also features a historic medieval ruin, Fountains Abbey. We return to our hotel and the evening will be at leisure.
- Day 3: Tuesday 20 July
- Harewood House is one of England’s finest mid Georgian country houses. Designed by local architect John Carr and altered in the nineteenth century by Sir Charles Barry, there are a series of superlative state rooms by Robert Adam, and it contains the most important collections of furniture by Thomas Chippendale (who grew up nearby at Otley) still in the rooms for which it was designed. The house is a must for any enthusiast and we shall enjoy a connoisseur’s private tour. After some free time for lunch, not included today, we continue to Nostell Priory, designed by James Paine with additions by Robert Adam. It too has some exceptional furniture, above all pieces supplied for the house by Chippendale. Nostell is a National Trust house and we shall visit when it will be closed to the public. We return to our hotel and there will be a group dinner that evening.
- Day 4: Wednesday 21 July
- We drive south to Leeds where much of our day will be spent at the magisterial Temple Newsam. Built during the Tudor and Jacobean periods, its interiors were constantly updated so that it has a remarkable series of state rooms from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Even more remarkable are the amazing contents which have been acquired over many decades to complement the interiors. The furniture includes stellar pieces, including many by Chippendale and the house is the headquarters of The Chippendale Society. We have lunch in the house and mid afternoon we return to Ripley where you will have some free time to explore the village, and time allowing, you might want to visit Ripley Castle? The evening will be free.
- Day 5: Thursday 22 July
- Scampston Hall is a late Georgian gem, the seat of the Leggard family. Very much not open to the public, we shall have a guided tour when the house’s fine collection of paintings and furniture will be shown to us. We then continue to the estate’s Walled Garden, justly famed for its innovative planting which was masterminded by Piet Oudolf. We continue to a nearby Private House, again very much not open to the public, designed in the modern classical style by the renowned local architect, Francis Johnson (who died in 1995). The commissioning owners have kindly invited us to lunch after which we will be shown the house and its notable collection of equestrian art. We return to our hotel and we have our final group dinner in the evening.
- Day 6: Friday 23 July
- On our final morning we will travel to just outside Harrogate where we visit the RHS Garden at Harlow Carr, which should be at its best in July, after which our visit will formally end.
- Price: £1,935 per person
- Deposit: £275
- Single Supplement: £65 (Single Room)
£170 (Double Room for Sole Use)
5 nights with breakfast at the 3* Boar’s Head Hotel in Ripley
3 dinners & 3 lunches with water, wine & coffee, all local transfers, entry fees & gratuities, the services of Tom Duncan & James Lomax
Travel to & from Ripley, 2 dinners & 2 lunches
Weather Conditions for Yorkshire in July are:
Average Temperature between: 12oC - 22oC / 53oF - 71oF
Rainfall: 81mm / 3.1inches
We do expect a reasonable level of fitness. For full details see our frequently asked questions.