Sunday, 26 August 2012

East Riddlesden Hall

On 22 August we headed off to East Riddlesden Hall about an hour and a half's drive away. Travelling with us was Chickpea's Boyfriend.

It was raining when we arrived making the front seem dark and imposing, the stones blackened with soot from the area's industrial past.

Thankfully it's not like that inside and has the homely intimate atmosphere we prefer. It's a small 17th century manor house and one of the few National Trust properties in which you're allowed to take photos, though without flash. It was a welcome opportunity but the poor light conditions meant that few of my photos turned out well.

We took our time, reading all the information sheets and looking at the items on display. It was the first time Chickpea's Boyfriend had accompanied us and I wasn't sure he'd find it interesting wandering around old houses. However, he really seemed to enjoy it and took lots of photos as inspiration for his illustrations.

I was particularly taken with the simple flower arrangements which were placed throughout the house. I love the contrast here of the embroidered tablecloth and the rough fabric of the curtains against the wood and stone of the window.

We later found out they were the work of Mollie, a volunteer flower arranger who uses a specially planted cutting garden at the back of the grounds. These rudbeckia glowed in the dim light.

One of our favourite aspects was the interactive elements in some of the rooms. Chickpea tried out a replica bed in the Green Chamber and, in the kitchen, there were pots filled with different ingredients and spices to touch and smell.

I much prefer these simple pewter spoons to the fancy cutlery in grander houses.

While we were in the house, the sun came out, so it was back to the picnic area for dinner. I'd just laid out the food on the table when the rain returned. However, in true British style, we put up our umbrellas and carried on. Luckily the shower was short-lived and after eating, we set off to explore the gardens.

These alcoves housed the falcons used for hunting. Underneath were 'kennels' for the dogs which had just had pups.

Some areas of the garden are kept wild and natural like this lichen and moss-covered wall.

Other areas are more formal. This Chinese Spindle Tree had amazing 'flowers' which burst open to reveal scarlet seeds.

The Hall looked beautiful framed by these flowers. 

I loved the bright sunny orange-yellow of these rosehips.

At the back of the gardens behind a wall was Mollie's cutting garden and the Mud Pie Kitchen. This is part of the National Trust's 50 things to do before you're 11 3/4 campaign to get children outside and enjoying the outdoors. Not something I ever managed to achieve with Chickpea who hates getting her hands dirty almost as much as she hates insects.

Before leaving, we visited the tea shop for Yorkshire tea (me), 'deluxe' hot chocolate and shortbread. It had been a lovely day with lots of interesting things to see.

And the highlight of Chickpea's day? Yes, it was this very friendly cat. Moments later it climbed onto her lap and her happiness was complete.

1 comment:

  1. I spotted this post title when I came looking for the orchid and thought I have a look. We visited here this year, early in April and had a lovely day! It was sunny too, so the light was not bad for my photos! It was an interesting place and I loved the mud pie kitchen!