Updated: Aug 12
Hi guys, today I am bringing you a review of a place rather than a book! However I think this place warrants a review as it is such a lovely place to visit. We have family in Leeds and for my mother in laws birthday we took her out for the day to Harewood. This is such a beautiful setting and it is easy to spend a full day here, it appeals to individuals and families alike.
When you first arrive, the first place you encounter is the children's adventure playground, this is a great space for children up to the age of 14. There are obstacles to climb, tunnels, rope bridges and great slides! A little further on there is another play site with swings and a rope climbing frame. It has plenty to keep children occupied which for us is great as we have a very energetic 5 year old who loves to run around and climb. So after a drive of over an hour before arriving to Harewood this is a welcome pit stop before exploring the rest of the grounds!
In the courtyard you have a gift shop, second hand bookshop and a cafe with lots of seating. There is quite a big menu and plenty on offer for children also. They offer hand made cakes and treats which is always a winner! Through the courtyard is the entrance to the small farmyard space, I don't remember this from our last visit a few years ago so it must be a newish addition. There were guinea pigs, rabbits, goats and pigs, as well as an alpaca! I have to say i was a little worried about the guinea pigs and rabbits with the amount of red kites they have in the area but i guess the area is too populated for them to swoop down into!
There used to be a large bird aviary area with lots of different exotic birds homed there, unfortunately the estate have had to make the sad decision to re-home all the birds as they can no longer commit to the upkeep and maintenance of the birds and the area. This is a shame as the birds were so lovely to visit, however it is totally understandable especially in todays climate. For now the area is cordoned off to the public as the estate are reorganising the area to become a natural woodland walk instead, where there will be an abundance of local wildlife, and trees and flowers. I look forward to visiting that when it is open to the public. The penguins were still there however and they are as cute as ever basking in the sun!
You can still walk around the area to reach the lake, this is a gorgeous walk as there are lots of paths veering off with beautiful foliage and greenery. There is a buddhist monument, a ' Stupa' built in the area near their Himalayan gardens. This area is gorgeous, very peaceful and beautiful in the sunlight. It is customary to walk around the monument three times clockwise for good luck so me and my son did just that. We then went off to explore the Himalayan gardens and found some fantastic stepping stones, they were very tall and quite far apart so it was a challenge for his legs to get across but he managed it!
The lake is huge and stunning, you can walk around it to the other side where there is a walled garden and a small teahouse, or you can get the ferry across the lake. (free of charge) We walked to the teahouse area and then took the ferry back, it was quite something as it didn't feel like we were moving at all yet we managed to glide across the lake perfectly! There were some lovely picnic benches to sit at while enjoying some treats from the teahouse, we had drinks and ice creams which was just lovely while looking out over the lake. We even had a few ducks join us hoping for some scraps.
The red kites were visible when we were in the walled garden, they came down very low, hunting for some lunch no doubt, and it was great to watch them gliding above our heads. I would love to see one of them land..... maybe something for the next visit!
Upon getting the ferry over we walked back to the adventure playground area for my son to have a last little run around. The walk back up from the lake is very steep however they offer a free shuttle bus to take you up, you just ring the number on the board and they come to collect you. This was an extremely efficient service and also free of charge which was brilliant. My mother in law took advantage of the service and it was a great help.
That was the end of our trip, it was a lovely day in gorgeous surroundings, the sun certainly helped. There were still many parts that we didn't visit, including the house itself, and so we will have to see them next time. We have experienced the Italianate terrace on a previous visit and the flowers there were stunning. I highly recommend it if you want a lovely day out with the family. Tickets are priced at £14-£18 for adults and £8-£10 for children. You can upgrade to membership for £47.50pp there are also further discounts for couples and families. If we lived in Leeds I would certainly make use of the membership as its a great day out for us and the little one.
Have you ever visited? Or has this post inspired you to add it to your must go to places? Let me know in the comments!