I’m still in garden mode today. That’s what inevitably comes from a visit to England. At the suggestion of two good friends a jaunt out to a rather wonderful Edwardian country estate took place. Celebrating 50 years of being open to the public, Lotherton Hall is a pleasant ride out of Leeds City Centre on the number 64 bus. Amazing how quickly you can leave the city behind and be surrounded by rolling English countryside and pretty villages. And wonder of wonders, the sun was beaming down! Gardens first, in case the weather changed its mind.
The hall was once owned by the Gascoigne family and the formal gardens were designed between 1893 and 1914. The rose terrace is overlooked by a remarkable bronze sculpture, ‘Peony Priest’. I didn’t take as many photos as I normally would because I was in excellent company, and there was much catching up to do. As well as that, a Vintage Fair had taken pride of place in the gardens. Stalls with all manner of garments, glassware, china and books filled the lawns. A little browsing and, to save the contents of our purses, you understand, it was into the Coach House for coffee (and a scone with jam and cream ).
A tiny chapel in the grounds is dedicated to St. James and dates back to 1170. It was restored during the First World War for the use of soldiers recuperating at Lotherton. The serenity must have seemed a boon to them.
Elsewhere in the grounds a Beatles Tribute Band was tuning up. Serenity destroyed, but there were lots of toe tappers. Our visit to the hall was accompanied by the familiar strains of ‘It’s been a Hard Day’s Night’. It was all I could do not to join in the chorus as I looked through the window.
The hall itself truly captured my imagination. It brings to life another era, and tells the stories of the Gascoignes and the families that worked for them, in an ‘Upstairs Downstairs’ fashion. Sir Alvary Gascoigne had a highly successful diplomatic career and this is reflected in the exquisite furniture and fabulous chinoiserie throughout the house.
I’m sure that many people would enjoy this step back in time, but the Lotherton Hall experience doesn’t end there. An enormous range of birds, many of which I have never seen before, inhabit the aviary. Moving from one compound to the next presented continuous surprises. I’m not a fan of zoos in general, but there were lots of happy children and their parents in the park.
We’d done a lot of wandering and it was time for a substantial meal. My friend’s suggestion of the ‘Crooked Billet’ pub, just 1.6 miles away, was a huge success. The proof of the pudding is in the eating, isn’t it? And surely Eton Mess can’t be fattening!
Their only son is getting married this Friday. I wish him and his bride a wonderful life together, and hope they’ll be as happy as his Mum and Dad.
More walks to share this week. Thank you all for contributing and for reading. Join me any time you like, here on Jo’s Monday walk.
I’m stealing from a master this week. I’m sure most of you will know the work of Lignum Draco :
And, just over the water, Jude focuses on what she does best- a Cornish garden :
While Margaret does her best to cheer us, with a dash of ‘je ne sais quoi’ :
This lady never ceases to amaze me with the places she goes, and the resulting photographs :
While Lady Lee has the best holidays ever :
A challenging walk from Cheryl, but well worth it, I know you’ll agree :
While Irene takes us to some stunning heights in Hawaii :
And Teabee reminds me of the beauty of English heather :
Alice’s turn to take us through some locks this week :
Drake shares another snippet of his fascinating life :
And Janet demonstrates her fondness for animals :
If you’re just feeling lazy, Sandra has the answer :
But Cathy strides on with determination in every step :
Nothing left to do but wish you all a great week. See you soon!