I had heard so much about Yorkshire's magnificent Harewood House, but never had a chance to visit until recently when I decided to spend a day at this historic and picturesque place. And I certainly wasn't disappointed.
Perfectly situated in the heart of Yorkshire - between Leeds and Harrogate - Harewood House is one of the treasure houses of England. With over 200 acres of stunning parkland, there is so much to see and do at this beautiful location.
On arrival, driving through the scenic grounds, we were greeted by friendly and efficient staff who directed us to the car park. Even on a busy Sunday afternoon, there was plenty of parking available. I was accompanied by my husband and two very excited children aged six and three. As we walked around the site, the children soon discovered the adventure playground - an area where youngsters can enjoy hours of fun sliding, swinging, climbing and spinning to their heart's content, while adults sit on nearby benches soaking in the atmosphere. With a zipwire, swings and slides, aerial walkways and climbing nets, my two were having so much fun that they didn't want to leave!
We eventually made our way to where the alpacas and goats were and the extensive bird garden, which is home to over 40 species of rare and exotic birds from around the world. The kids soon discovered the penguin pond and feeding the penguins was the highlight for them.
It was a sunny day so we continued to explore the grounds and it was pleasing to see the whole estate so well kept. In fact, almost immaculate.
After all this we were quite hungry and so we decided to take a break at the courtyard cafe and enjoyed tea and cakes. There was also an outdoor pizza oven in the courtyard with delicious pizzas freshly made to order. However, you can take a picnic as there are plenty of benches and scenic places to sit out and eat, plus parked ice cream vans. There is also a terrace tearoom, which boasts breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside.
Moving on, we now wanted to have a tour of the interior of the state house and we were very impressed by what we saw. Designed by architects John Carr and Robert Adam, and built between 1759 and 1771, it boasts art collections to rival the finest in Britain. Once you step inside the luxurious house, you are amazed by the architecture, classical paintings and incredible furniture, not to mention the jaw-droppingly stunning ceilings showing an excellent example of intricate craftsmanship. Knowledgeable tour guides are always there to help and give you an insight into the history of the state rooms. If you are visiting Harewood House, a tour around the opulent house is a must.
Next we ventured into the courtyard gift shop, which offers a handpicked collection of fridge magnets, keyrings, locally produced food and drink, books, jewellery, stationery, toys, garden essentials and homewares - this was a good way to end our memorable day trip to Harewood House and a delight to see the children choosing souvenirs.
We absolutely loved our day at Harewood House and will definitely be back. It's fun and educational and there is so much to see and do for families. Plus, it's all very good value for money as you can be doing something enjoyable all day long. And if you fancy a boat trip, look no further... there is a ferry, which carries 12 passengers sailing across the lake to the Walled Garden.
So, if you haven't visited this place, you must plan a trip here over the summer and you won't be disappointed.
To find out more about opening times, log onto: https://harewood.org/visit/
For more information and ticket prices, log onto https://harewood.org/visit/tickets/
And to experience glorious Yorkshire like never before, log onto https://www.yorkshire.com/