The Great Houses of Yorkshire

Yorkshire may contain more magnificent historic houses than any county in Britain. We visited many of best of them, including Castle Howard, famous as the starring player in the two filmed versions of Brideshead Revisited, as well as the little-known Sledmere House, a jewel-like Neoclassical masterpiece still in the ownership of its original family. Another star was Newby Hall, a glorious Robert Adam house with a core very likely by Christopher Wren. One of the highlights was a visit to the mysterious Wentworth Woodhouse, which boasts the longest façade – 650 feet – of any house in Britain. And, for the icing on the cake, we stayed at Middlethorpe Hall in York, a late 17th century house that is one of England’s supreme country house hotels.

Bramham Park | Photo by Curt DiCamillo

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The grounds at Bramham Park were a magical wonderland.

Nostell Entrance Facade

Nostell Priory | Photo by Curt DiCamillo

Some of the most magical moments were at Hovingham Hall, where Sir William and Lady Worsley kindly opened their home to us and were the best (and most fun!) of hosts. Nick and Rachel Lane-Fox hosted us for dinner at Bramham Park, their ancestral home, which has been gloriously restored. At Nostell Priory we saw some of the most luscious Neoclassical interiors in England, followed by a tour, a champagne reception, and dinner at Brodsworth Hall hosted by Kate Mavor, CEO of English Heritage. The intriguing Treasurer’s House, in the shadow of York Minster, was endlessly fascinating. At Sion Hill House, an exceptional Edwardian country house designed by Walter Brierley (“the Lutyens of Yorkshire”), we were hosted with champagne and nibbles by the erudite Michael Mallaby, who gave us a tour of his house and lusciously restored gardens. Harewood House, the home of the Earl of Harewood, wowed us with its astonishing Neoclassical interiors, followed by the somber, and treasure-filled Temple Newsam House.

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Walking through the jaw-dropping rooms of Harewood House is one of the abiding memories of my life.

Hovingham Hall | Photo by Curt DiCamillo

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I don't think there's any house in England that compare to the sublimity of Castle Howard.

Temple Newsam Chinese Drawing Room

The Chinese Drawing Room, Temple Newsam House | Photo by Curt DiCamillo