“ Address: Beningbrough / York / North Yorkshire YO30 1DD / England „
Beningbrough Hall near York is a National Trust property and one we frequently visit as its about 6 miles away from where we live so we can either cycle there if we are feeling healthy or drop by in the car.
The property is 8 miles north west of York, 2 miles west of Shipton, 2 miles south east of Linton-on-Ouse (A19) from both the north and south on the A19 it is signposted and the you are directed in via Linton-on-Ouse. The road will take you in one way and out another exit so just be warned as you often see drivers looking a bit bemused at the end of the road junction about which way to go. That said it is signposted. It is also on a cycle route from York itself with again clear cycle path signs. The national trust website does say that a bus service goes near to the House i.e. Linton-on-Ouse but you would then have to walk up to the house.
There is a small car park, which at busy times of the year is jam-packed. Parking then occurs on the grass sides at the front of the house and it is not uncommon in the summer especially if there is an event on at the hall to see both side of the driveway to the house double-parked. For the energetic souls who cycle there is cycle stands to attach your bike. For the disabled there are about 5 parking bays.
About the property and our experiences
Beningbrough Hall is a bit special in my opinion not because there are outstanding antiques and interiors it has but because they work in partnership with National Portrait Gallery to display more than 100 famous paintings (Portraits that its) as well as seven interpretation galleries with hands-on activities.
When you get to Beningbrough and have sorted out your parking you enter the property via one of the old coach buildings and pay your entrance fee or in our case flash our national trust membership cards. If you have cycled or have bags you want to store they have 9 lockers and you can ask for a key to put your cycle helmets panniers etc in. these are big lockers and we have always managed to get one and fit comfortably 3 cycle helmets and a pannier into them.
You then are faced with the choice of what to do first there are several options here you can either go straight along the path to the house or make time to look around the various sections of the grounds.
At the beginning there is a walled garden. This area as the name suggests is a walled area. Within there are two grassy areas that are enclosed by vegetable and fruit patches. Between the walls and the footpaths there are further vegetables and fruit patches and tree including a lean too green house. The two large grass areas have several benches for you to sit on and enjoy the garden. We alongside other families often have picnics or play games on the grass. The national trust provide a game for the children which is a Little Tikes outdoor jigsaw type of thing that they can make blocks and hide outs with. Incidentally all the fruit and vegetables grown at the property are then used in the café at the property for you to eat delights include soup cakes etc.
The walled garden will take you onto further areas of the garden, which includes a very short woodland walk and pond, then onto the grassy and tree area at the back of the house. You need to watch children in this area because if they go of to explore amongst the long grassy they may disappear down the Ha Ha! Families for playing cricket, throwing a Frisbee or a ball or for a picnic often use this grassy area at the back of the house. At the sides of the house there are two small-enclosed areas, one of which has a wonderful pond with loads of goldfish. This area is very popular with young children watching the fish and I had to stop my son trying to get into the pond with them several times. In this area there is also some wicker furniture seats so you can sit and watch the world go by.
If you go round the side of the property you can either walk to the front on the property and the entrance to the house or take a path to the children's adventure play ground. The courtyard here itself hold a couple of out buildings with exhibitions on laundry and farmyard equipment. These are more suitable for adults to look at, as they are not interactive.
The adventure playground is in my opinion more aimed at children older than my toddler as the wooden castle swings slides are a bit big for him to climb on and I think the bigger children would trample him under foot. There is a couple of toddler swings though but he soon gets bored with that.
The house itself is a Georgian mansion with some baroque interiors. The hall in some rooms has no electric lights, which in my opinion gives it a more ambiance and a historical feel as you go round. As in common with a lot of trust properties you can leave large bags and pushchairs at the door as you go in and be given a tag to identify yours for collection. As you walk around downstairs you are taken around the house to various rooms including bedrooms and dressing rooms. Then same that you can navigate is quite wide and disable visitors can access the house by the lift available and this goes to all the floors. At the top of the house there is a playroom for children that has chairs, jigsaws, sensory equipment, fun mirrors colouring in. I hadn't realised this area existed till we were told about it by one of the helpful guides and my son had great fun playing in there. There is also some interactive museum bits here for example related to sculpture you can feel the differences in stone, marble and plaster sculptures for the weight and texture. Though I never have used them I am aware that you can pick up a free audio guide to the house to take around with. Most rooms have a guide in them or close to the room and they are a fountain of knowledge about the exhibits in that particular area and have always been very helpful and friendly when I have asked them a question. If you like guided tours of places they generally organise these on a monthly basis and it is worth checking the National Trust website for when these are on.
There is also two out buildings one showing what the gardener would do at different times of the year. The other provides some activities for pre-school children upwards for example information about wildlife around the Gardens and pictures to colour in.
As with most national trust properties there is a café severing food all day. You can eat either inside at the café or if the weather is good there are tables outside all of which have parasols for shade. Again the access for both disabled and pushchairs is great and it is all on one level. Service I always find to very slow for some reason. But they do have a good choice of cakes for afternoon tea and the odd time we have had a bit of lunch the soup has always been delicious. They provide highchairs, which are always very clean, and the cups and plates they provide for children an again clean and made of tough durable plastic. At present they are running a loyalty scheme for hot drink for you to get your ticket stamped to collect a free drink. The prices are very similar to most National trust properties for food and drink e.g. expect to pay £4.50 for a drink and a piece of cake person. They also have open during the summer months an ice cream kiosk that sells local ice cream and ice-lollies.
There are toilets at Beningbrough hall these are always clean and tidy and have a plentiful supply of toilet roll. Be warned though the way of getting water is very modern it's a wave your hand in front of a sensor fountain for hand washing and you often see people struggling to see where the water taps are. There are disabled toilets to. The baby changing area is lovely and one of the best I have ever been in there is a nice table height baby changing area with hand washing a comfortable chair if you want to breast feed your baby some where discreet. The baby changing also has a mobile to try to keep your little one still whilst you change their nappy.
You can also borrow to go round the house a hip seat for a toddler or do what I did have your toddler on reins and use the lift rather than the stairs for ease of use.
I have never been to some of the evening musical events or dining events that run there but we have been to the Hall on days where there has been classic car rallies and these have been well organised and great fun and admission is the same as the normal price.
If you want you can get married and have a small reception at Beningbrough at times when the property is closed to the public. I have no idea what this would be like but thought I should include it in the review in case some one was interested in it.
The hall is closed every Thursday and Friday. (It is open Friday's during the schools summer holidays though)
During the winter months of November to March it only opens on a weekend. Generally during March it opens up during the week Monday- Wednesday at some point
The hall opens at 11 am but closes depending on the time of year between either 3.30pm and 5.30pm
Fax: 01904 470002
WebPages: http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk and searach for Beningbrough
Gift Aid Admission (Standard Admission prices in brackets)
Summer: £8.40 (£7.60), child £4.20 (£3.80), family £20 (£18). Groups (£7.30).
Winter: £5.50 (£5), child £2.60 (£2.35), family £14 (£12.50). Groups (£4.40). Reduced rate when arriving by cycle. Special rates and exemptions for school and community groups free to National Trust members
A great place to visit for both the house and gardens. In the summer months the gardens are full of families playing games and parents trying to wear the children down so they sleep at night!