Last week my Women’s Institute had a fantastic day out at Wentworth Woodhouse, near Rotherham in South Yorkshire. We had an amazing guide, full of character, who really brought the place alive, his knowledge of the history of Wentworth Woodhouse was vast. He had worked there for many years as a carpenter, so he knew the place inside out.
I have to confess that until last year when another visit was organised, I’d never even heard of Wentworth Woodhouse, but our guide informed us that many American students know all about it as the family are linked to the American War of Independence. It has been in the UK press a lot recently as it has just been sold to a preservation trust for £7 million, which hopefully secures it’s future, but it is estimated that it needs about £42 million spending on it! It is seriously big, like it has about 300 rooms!!
Wentworth Woodhouse is actually made from two houses, the oldest house is from the 17th century, when the Earl of Stafford wanted something bigger he just built a whole new house in front in the 1700’s house, it was later extended either side with new wings, and another Earl decided he didn’t have enough room so he added an extra floor on top of the whole house!! It now has the longest facade in Europe at 625′ which is about 11′ longer than when it was first built due to mining subsidence!
The interior is fascinating, it is seriously huge, I can see why they have a back marker on guided tours as you could quite easily get lost! The staircase up to the marble hall is beautiful, one of those that is a pleasure to walk up!
The marble hall is classic palladial proportions, 40′ by 40′ by 40′, a perfect cube. The marble floor is beautiful.
The house is currently open for private tours and weddings but is also used a lot for filming by BBC, Bollywood etc. Victoria was filmed here as well as at Harewood House.
The house needs a huge amount of work to restore it and it is a seriously big space to find a function for too, it’s fascinating to look around now and it would be great to return as the restoration progresses.
After the house tour we had a tour of the gardens and parkland. We walked via the ‘punchbowl’ which used to be lit by gas as a beacon! I would guess it’s about 15′ tall, I wouldn’t like to be the one chosen to light that one!
It was great to have the tour outside afterwards as it helped to make sense of the different eras of the house, looking from the outside. This is part of the older house behind the main house.
After our tour we took a short coach trip, round the corner, to Wentworth Garden Centre, which is much more than just a ‘garden centre’, the plants were gorgeous too though!! I resisted with difficulty but I want to go back once I’ve got our garden sorted!
We had a lovely lunch and then mooched round the courtyard shops before exploring the old gardens, they were beautiful, with an original bear pit, a maze planted in 2000…
an original duck house, though we did come up with a few different uses before we read the guide and found out what they were…
and an Italianate sunken garden, just look at those hostas, not a nibble from a slug in sight!!!
It was lovely just meandering down the paths…
admiring some beautiful acers.
Altogether we had a great day out, looking forward to our next trip 🙂