Wherever you are in Yorkshire, you are never far from an English Heritage property. From the coast to the Dales, the landscape is peppered with country houses, mighty castles and atmospheric abbeys oozing with the nostalgia of life from centuries passed
FADED VICTORIAN SPLENDOUR AT BRODSWORTH HALL & GARDENS
One of the more unusual attractions in South Yorkshire, Brodsworth Hall & Gardens near Doncaster offers groups the opportunity to witness the changing fortunes of a wealthy Victorian family and their servants in their beloved Yorkshire country house.
Brodsworth Hall & Gardens is no glossily restored historical showpiece in manicured grandeur. ‘Conserved as found’ in the 1980s, it is a mansion that has grown comfortably old over the years. Today, it still reflects its original opulence, but it is well worn and full of surprises. Following years of conservation, visitors can discover 150 years of family life ‘frozen in time’ through its faded opulence in the grand drawing room, the atmospheric billiard room, family bedrooms, as well as the servants’ rooms and kitchen.
Throughout the mansion, thousands of objects, fixtures and fittings – from biscuit tins, to beds and even electric fires and magazines – have been returned to their exact position.
Outside, the restored gardens have been planted as they would have been during the 1890s, and offer year-round interest including spectacular spring bulbs, scented summer roses and verdant winter evergreens.
There’s also a fern dell to discover, planted with unusual specimens and an alpine garden, which are inspired by the travels of the estates wealthy Victorian owners. Pre-booked guided tours for groups of 11–50 last around an hour and a half, including morning tours outside normal opening hours, which are available at a small extra charge. Light refreshments are available in the Victorian tearoom. It is advisable to pre-book.
LOCATION: Brodsworth, five miles north west of Doncaster, off the A635 Barnsley Road from Junction 37 of the A1 (M).
COACH PARKING: Three free spaces on site.
FROM THE DARK AGES TO DRACULA AT WHITBY ABBEY
Organisers wishing to take a group to the Yorkshire seaside resorts could schedule in a visit to the dramatic ruins of Whitby Abbey. Sitting high above the town, Whitby Abbey was founded by Saint Hilda in 657AD and became a shining light of Christianity in a powerful ‘Dark Age’ kingdom. Nowadays, it is perhaps best known for being the place where the Synod of 664 decided the date of Easter and is the inspiration behind the story of Dracula.
An indoor History Gallery reveals the fascinating background of the site through archaeological artefacts, interactive displays of personalities from its past and digital reconstructions of the abbey throughout history.
LOCATION: On the cliff top on the east side of Whitby, follow signs to Whitby Abbey.
COACH PARKING: Coach parking is available in Abbey Headland car park (charge payable). Drop-off at the front of the visitor centre or in Abbey Headland car park.
FURTHER INFORMATION: Email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.english-heritage.org. uk/whitbyabbey
3000 YEARS OF COASTAL DEFENCE AT SCARBOROUGH CASTLE Easily combined with a trip to Whitby Abbey is nearby Scarborough Castle, which for centuries has defended the shoreline from the prominent headland over Scarborough Bay.
The walls of this magnificent 12th century ruined fortress have witnessed a turbulent history, from the Bronze Age through to the Second World War. An exhibition explores key historical moments and houses archaeological finds unearthed at the site, including a spectacular Bronze Age Sword. A self-service tearoom serves a selection of snacks, and hot and cold drinks.
LOCATION: Castle Road, east of Scarborough town centre, on the headland between the north and south bays of Scarborough.
COACH PARKING: There is a designated drop-off point at the bottom of the hill, with coach parking available in Scarborough town centre.
RIEVAULX ABBEY – FOR SUMMER PLANNING 2016
English Heritage is currently transforming the visitor experience at Rievaulx Abbey at Rievaulx near Helmsley, which was one of the most powerful monasteries in Europe. Early summer 2016 will see the opening of an outstanding museum, which aims to tell the 900-year history of the site and display its nationally important collection of artefacts. With the project now underway, Rievaulx Abbey is unable to accept coaches until early summer 2016.
LOCATION: Two miles north of Helmsley on Stokesay Road (B1357).
COACH PARKING: Available from early summer 2016 and must be pre-booked.
Groups of 11 or more people receive a 15% discount at English Heritage properties (10% at Stonehenge). A tour leader and coach driver are admitted free with each group.
Free familiarisation visits can be arranged for the travel trade. Special themed tours are available for pre-booked groups at many properties. To discuss opportunities for group visits or to order a complimentary copy of the 2015/16 English Heritage Group Visits Guide, call 020 7973 3529 or email email@example.com