* Prices may differ from that shown
~~~~~~~~~ Introduction ~~~~~~~~~ For most people under the age of sixteen the start of the school holidays is a joyous time filled with fun and adventure. For those of us who look after these people it can be a long six weeks. If you are like us then you will be forever searching for new and exciting ways not only to occupy your little treasures, but also something that offers you some sort of enjoyment and reward too. A day out at Newby Hall could be just the thing. ~~~~~~ Location ~~~~~~ Newby Hall is situated just 2 miles from the A1 in North Yorkshire, taking the Ripon exit and following the brown tourist signs for Newby Hall. For those of you with Sat Nav, entering the postcode HG4 5AJ will take you to the doorstep. ~~~~~~~~~~ Opening Times ~~~~~~~~~~ Open 1st April - 27th September 2009 Tuesdays-Sundays, Bank Holidays and Mondays in July & August Open 11am - 5pm (House opens 12 noon, last admission 4pm) ~~~~~~~~~~ Brief History ~~~~~~~~~~ The Estate dates back to the thirteenth century, but the current family can trace their ancestry back to 1748 when William Weddell took up residency. Over the generations there have been many additions and alterations to the original house, but it was not until the current occupier's Grandfather arrived in 1921 that a garden was visualized. He began with the now trademark herbaceous borders which are set in perfect symmetry in front of the house stretching southward towards the river Ure. Either side of this, formal gardens were created, separated by hedges of Yew which over half a century has expanded to cover twenty five acres of land. In the later half of the twentieth century came some further layout improvements which both helped to cater for the growing demand from sightseers and also secured some privacy for the family. Moving the main residency to the North wing and switching the car park to a more central position meant that the family could enjoy the North part of the house and gardens beyond in peace, while visitors were free to explore to the South side of the house and the gardens as well. The house is now owned by Mr and Mrs Compton, and has featured in many TV films and period dramas over the years, most recently during March 2007 ITV's adaptation of Jane Austen's Mansfield Park was filmed entirely on location at Newby. ~~~~~~~ Getting In ~~~~~~~ When you enter the estate you are guided along a single track road, which meanders through fields of sheep dotted with trees and wild fowl in a very picturesque English country setting. After a surprisingly long meander you are finally rewarded with the kiosk(s) to pay. On busy days such as sunny weekends and Bank Holidays expect there to be up to four staff manning the kiosks to take payment, but even so long queues can form, my advice is to get there early if you can. All the usual forms of payment are accepted and prices are as follows: House & Gardens 2009 Prices Adult £11.00 OAP £10.00 Child/Disabled £8.50 Family (2+2) £36.00 Family (2+3) £39.00 Group Adult/OAP £9.50 Group Child/Disabled (15 or more paying visitors) £7.00 Gardens Only Adult £8.00 OAP £7.00 Child/Disabled £6.50 Family (2+2) £27.00 Family (2+3) £32.00 Group Adult/OAP (15 or more paying visitors) £7.00 Group Child/Disabled £5.50 If you plan on visiting the Estate more than a couple of times in a year then it is worth considering a season ticket which gives full access to all areas and 10% discount in the shops. The prices are as follows: 1 Adult £43 1 Adult & 1 Child £54 1 Adult & 2 Children £65 1 Adult & 3 Children £76 (For each additional child thereafter add £11) 2 Adults £86 2 Adults & 1 Child £97 2 Adults & 2 Children £108 2 Adults & 3 Children £119 (For each additional child thereafter add £11) Newby Hall also accepts Historic Houses Association members free of charge. This is our preferred method and I cannot emphasise enough how invaluable this card is. I hope to review it soon. ~~~~~ Parking ~~~~~ There is ample parking on a grassed area close to the main entrance of the grounds. There is also an even closer gravel area for disabled parking and coaches. Toilets are also conveniently placed here which are essential after any length of car journey with children. ~~~~~~~~ Information ~~~~~~~~ To get access to the main grounds proper there is a rather modern entrance Pavillion which also serves as an Information point. There are staff here who will happily provide any advice on what to do and see during your visit. A large map as well as other helpful visual guides are provided around the walls. ~~~~~~~~ The Gardens ~~~~~~~~ The plants around the garden can be appreciated right throughout the growing seasons, and we have enjoyed different spectacular displays at various times of the year. There are too many amazing areas to mention here but a few of my favourites begin with the herbaceous borders which majestically stretch out from the house itself. Either side of this brings a vast array of different areas of foliage, some formal settings but others are mysteriously informal and deliberately overgrown. Another great example of this can be seen from the train trip and lies close to the river in a Westerly direction. There are a selection of pools and water features with various statutes and aquatic decorations, leading to winding pathways, which lure you into a further area of rocky undergrowth with a distinctly Mediterranean feel about it. This area culminates in a stone based pergola with natural looking twines and ivy. ~~~~~~~ The House ~~~~~~~ Here, I have to confess that I cannot give you a first hand review of the house and what it has to offer, for the simple reason; I have never been inside it. The grounds for this are that I have two young children who have no interest in such things. From what I hear though, there is a spectacular sculpture and tapestry room which contains pieces brought back from Europe around 1765. Another highlight is the Regency Dining Room dating from the 19th century containing Chippendale furniture, porcelain and fine paintings. ~~~~~~~~ Places to Eat ~~~~~~~~ The main restaurant offers an extensive menu to cater for all tastes and appetites. The food is locally sourced, fresh and home made. It is also fully licensed so that you can enjoy a beer or glass or wine with your meal. There are kids' meals and packs available, which again are all good wholesome food. Expect to pay a little bit extra for this food than your average café prices, but then again the extra quality does justify this in my opinion. There are toilets (disabled also) and baby changing facilities next to the restaurant. There is also a kiosk which serves ice cream and lollies next to the miniature railway, offering a selection of soft drinks too. ~~~~~~~~ For the Kids ~~~~~~~~ Newby Hall is an ideal place for children. We always have a great day here, as they genuinely welcome children, not just tolerate them. There are many attractions so I shall just briefly explain each. ~~~~~~~~~~~ Miniature Railway ~~~~~~~~~~~ For those of you who like to know these things the gauge is ten and a quarter inches. There are a couple of little steam trains running together during busy times and again long queues can form here. There is a station where passengers embark and disembark. Other highlights of the fifteen minute trip include a short tunnel, bridges and a fast highlighted tour of the south of the stunning gardens along the river side. The carriages are small, enough room for one person on each side and open to the elements, so hold on tight to the little ones. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Adventure Playground ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ This is a fantastic playground, or to be more accurate two fantastic playgrounds, one for the toddler age group with swings, climbing frames and other interesting apparatus, and a second for older children which includes more demanding activities centred around an island of adventure surrounded by a moat with peddle boats and a fantastic rope powered raft. There are other climbing frames and rope bridges to challenge even the most agile little pirates. ~~~~~~~~~ Sprinkler Area ~~~~~~~~~ This is a relatively new addition to the playground area. It is difficult to describe but lets just say that to fully appreciate this area your kids should be prepared to get wet! Basically there are a number of little holes in the ground which seem to randomly squirt water up out of them, much to the delight of any child who happens to be near by. ~~~~~~ Shopping ~~~~~~ The shop is situated cleverly at the exit and you have to go through it to get out. There is a good selection of literature on sights around Briton including Newby and the local area. Also, a good range of interesting children's toys, as well as other ornamental goods can be found here. Once out of the shop and before the car park, there is a small but interesting plant sale area. There are various flowering plants, shrubs and trees available to purchase here. I cannot comment on the quality of these plants as I have never bought any, but they look pretty enough. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Woodland Walk and Sculpture Park ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ This area can be accessed from the gravel car park in the opposite direction of the Pavilion entrance. The walk through the woods takes about half an hour at a leisurely pace, and depending on the timing can, and often does include an exhibition of sculptures form a vastly varied range of artistic backgrounds, all carefully and tastefully set to blend in as naturally as possible with the woodland background. The pieces can almost always be purchased, and there are usually great gasps at some of the prices tags attached to certain 'works of art'. ~~~~~~~ Picnic Area ~~~~~~~ To complement the extravagant eating area of the restaurant is the extensive but more basic picnic area. We tend to use this facility a lot, as a trip to Newby can be expensive, so saving a few pounds at lunch time is greatly appreciated. This area can be found opposite the main car park and has quite a number of wooden tables, or if these are full the grass and a blanket serve just as well. Again the toilets can be accessed quite easily here. ~~~~~~~~~~ Disabled Access ~~~~~~~~~~ The estate caters well for disabled access with numerous facilities throughout. The one area where access is limited is on the bottom of the woodland walk, where there are steps unsuitable for wheelchairs or indeed buggies. There is an alternative route which avoids this area though. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Further Information ~~~~~~~~~~~~~ For further information about Newby Hall I would recommend visiting the website at; www.newbyhall.co.uk. Also by telephone on 0845 4504068 The address is: Newby Hall & Gardens, Estate office, Newby Hall, Ripon, North Yorkshire, HG4 5AE. ~~~~~~ Summary ~~~~~~ There are few places that I can take my family for the day that I know will almost guarantee enjoyment and keep my children captivated for hours, but Newby Hall is one of them. Judging by the crowds of like minded people who seem to flock here, we are not alone in this sentiment.
This is only my opinion on the gardens at Newby Hall as I fear my youngsters may have trashed the actual Hall had they have been let in!!!! Newby Hall is a private residence, open in part to the general public. The gardens make for a fantastic day out for children and adults alike. There are 25 acres of gardens to go at, initially created in the 1920's but continually updated. We've had 2 visits during this year's summer holiday's and still not covered the whole area. The picnic area at Newby Hall is actually situated outside of the gardens, but is fenced in to prevent lively children escaping their parent's sight...very useful...and is also very well equipped with large trees (for shelter from the rain!) and picnic tables. The children's Adventure Garden is split into two parts, one side for the younger visitors (suitable up to age 7/8 IMO) and the other side for children with a sense of danger as there are expanses of water hidden among shrubs and rushes (ie a toddler nightmare!). The Adventure Garden includes a paddling pool, HUGE sand pit and baby/toddler swings, a pirates fort, climbing frames, pedalo boats and swingboats. A miniature railway takes a route through the gardens alongside the river, but at an extra £1 per adult. All in all a fantastic day out. Newby Hall is open 1st April to 30th September, Tuesday to Sunday inclusive plus Bank Holidays. Gardens open 11am - 5.30pm and the House is open 12 noon - 5pm. Website: www.newbyhall.com