Harewood House

Harewood House

Open today from 1000 until 0600

*Harewood House is now closed until January 5th 2020*

Last week we visited Harewood House, just outside of Leeds. As a lover of history, my ideal weekend is spending time visiting a stately home and, in the past, we have bought annual membership for a particular house or for English Heritage.

Stately homes offer so much nowadays with a range of activities as well as special days, festivals and conventions. Over the Christmas period, we saw a wonderful television show on the BBC with Mary Berry visiting Harewood. I was struck by the impressive preparations being made to celebrate Christmas. So last weekend we made the forty-minute trip to see Harewood for ourselves.

Harewood is steeped in history. It was originally built in the Eighteenth Century for a very wealthy plantation owner Edwin Lascelles, the first Baron Harewood. As money was no object in its building, the landscape was designed by Capability Brown. The house has an impressive collection of art treasures including family portraits by Joshua Reynolds, John Hoppner and Sir Thomas Lawrence, as well as a collection of Modern art.

When we arrived at Harewood, we were struck by how much there was to do. This is a place where you need to spend several days to appreciate everything it has to offer. The House is incredibly impressive and when we went, there was a special exhibition on, which took as its inspiration, the dreams of Princess Mary’s two young sons at Christmas time. The exhibition had been designed by the set designer Simon Costin and it was magnificent, with a giant wicker Pan and elements of classical stories and childhood wonder at the festive period.

The most impressive room that we visited was The Gallery. The room is an incredible size being 76 feet by 24 feet and an incredible 21 feet high. We were told by the knowledgeable guides to make sure that we looked at the ceilings. In doing so, I was reminded of the Sistine chapel in Rome. The ceilings depict the exploits of Greek Gods and Goddesses and are unique in their intricacy. The room also features many furniture designs of Thomas Chippendale – the younger – as well as a wealth of Renaissance art work. It is one of the most imposing rooms in a stately home that I have ever seen.

There is so much to see in the house. Harewood is staffed by many volunteers who clearly love the house and their enthusiasm for the place is infectious. There were many interactive exhibits such as trying on of period costumes and laminated copies of Twentieth Century magazines to flick through. You could easily spend all day there. I am partially disabled, and I was struck by how helpful and kind all the staff were in ensuring that I was able to move around the grounds without any inconvenience. There is a shuttle bus that runs services between the Main House and the Grounds and other attractions to help those of us unable to walk any long distance. Throughout our time we were treated as though we were the only visitors to Harewood. Even the shuttle bus driver was kind and accommodating and told us what to see. It is rare to meet such genuine hospitality where nothing is too much trouble. penguins The grounds have a farm where you can feed the animals as well as a walled garden, a Himalayan garden and a bird garden.

We loved seeing the penguins and Harewood offers you the chance to help feeding them. There are several shops in the grounds and they sell a wide range of beautiful gifts including scarves, teas, biscuits and most importantly Harewood Gin. Throughout the year there are many activities and events such as music concerts, art exhibitions and a food and drink festival. The price for a year’s membership is exceptional value for money. We also enjoyed a very decadent afternoon tea in the Billiard Room. It was the perfect way to end our visit.

Recommended by ELISABETH BASFORD with children ages - Sun Feb 10 2019

Activity Type

  • Museums and cultural activities
  • Open farms, safari parks and zoos
  • Parks, walks and outdoor fun
  • Pubs with gardens or play facilities
  • Restaurants and food
  • Outdoor activities
  • Indoor activities


Sandy Gate Harewood Leeds West Yorkshire England United Kingdom LS17 9LE
Adult price:
Child price:
Infant price:
Other price:


  • Good food for parents
  • Pram/Wheelchair accessible
  • Has a childrens menu
  • Baby changing available

Opening Hours

  • Monday 1000 - 0600
  • Tuesday 1000 - 0600
  • Wednesday 1000 - 0600
  • Thursday 1000 - 0600
  • Friday 1000 - 0600
  • Saturday 1000 - 0600
  • Sunday 1000 - 0600


There are 1 reviews for "Harewood House"

Recommended by Emma with children ages 2 and 4 on Fri Nov 22 2019

A Night at the Mansion: Christmas at Harewood. What a truly magical treat! The magic starts as you head down the driveway with deer in the field and lights guiding your way. There are huge trees outside the house with its big welcoming front doors and even more welcoming team inside who are only too happy to help and make your visit feel special. The Night at the Mansion feels like such an intimate peep into the magic of the mansion when it comes to life after dark. Singing statues, gossiping paintings and little people living throughout the house. It is captivating and such a different Christmas experience, created by artists, the artistic element is beautiful. This is not just for little ones, but us grown ups were spellbound too. The house is beautifully decorated with stunning trees and wreaths on every door with the added magic as you work your way through the house and down the stairs. Don’t forget to watch out for the fairy too! The sounds and music throughout the house just add to the magic, as does the delicious smell coming from the cooking demonstrations! I am so going to try making the traditional Chelsea buns! Outside the house there are lights through the terraced garden and along the pathways, the whole grounds just have a beautiful festive glow about them. Carol singers in the courtyard, wood fired pizzas, decorations in the trees all just come together for a wonderful Christmas feel. There is also the Bird Garden with the fun penguins, flamingos and a great variety of birds, a few non birds have sneaked in too, namely goats and alpacas. This is all overlooking the stunning lake! We love seeing the birds and particularly liked chatting to the macaws! Just in itself the bird garden is a lovely visit! There is a walled garden further around the lake which you can hop on the little boat to take you across and back, a lovely thing for little ones to do! There is also an adventure playground which caters for little and bigger kids, if they haven’t walked far enough around the grounds then this is perfect! The festive menu in the courtyard cafe was really excellent, serving children’s meals (high chairs are available) and also lots of different and indulgent food (you have to have Stilton at Christmas!), reasonably priced, so fresh and very delicious. And importantly, a great selection of delicious homemade cakes. There is also a smaller cafe on the Terrace behind the house serving drinks and light snacks. A few other practical things, there are toilets everywhere-the car park, the house, near the gardens, the courtyard.... the grounds are also suitable for pushchairs with paths and ramps for access. We have had a brilliant day, the Night at the Mansion is really magical-totally different and very clever, we loved it! The house is decorated beautifully with so much attention to detail and the finishing touches! The rest of the grounds are nicely lit and we came away with a warm festive glow from a beautiful Christmas experience.

Christmas at Harewood: A Night at the Mansion (Saturday 23 November – Sunday 5 January 2019) Closed Christmas Day and Boxing Day 

Save 10% when booking online | Family £46 (based on two adults and two children) | Adults £17.50 / Child £9

Further information www.harewood.org/christmas @HarewoodHouse #harewoodchristmas

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