Harewood House is the family seat of the 8th Earl (David Lascelles) and Countess (Diane) of Harewood in West Yorkshire. Until I visited, I thought it was just another ‘abandoned’ heritage property and did not realise that it is still in use and also managed by Harewood House Trust! This neo-classical Georgian manor was built between 1759-1771 for Edward Lascelles, 1st Baron Harewood. Edwin became the stepfather of the scandalous Lady W[orsley] (Seymour Fleming) when he married her mother in 1770. A portrait of Seymour in her red riding habit by Joshua Reynolds hangs in the Cinnamon Drawing Room of Harewood House.
In 1922, Mary, Princess Royal and aunt of our current Queen Elizabeth, married Henry Lascelles. In the 1930’s, they moved into Harewood House; one of the rooms is Princess Mary’s Drawing Room and bears M’s in her honour.This connection partly explains why there are lots of family photos in the Main Library with The Queen, Princes William and Harry, and Catherine (The Duchess of Cambridge). Only the main floor (State Rooms) and basement (Below Stairs) are open to the public leaving the second storey for the family’s private use. Architecture lovers to the State Rooms will love Robert Adam’s ceilings in every room (except in the State Dining Room). Below Stairs comprises the Vegetable Scullery, Pastry Room, Old Kitchen, Servants’ Hall, Still Room, Steward’s Room, Terrace Gallery and Terrace Cafe Tearoom, and HRH The Princess Mary Display. Children and adults will enjoy the Bird Garden and Farm Experience through the Courtyard. Be sure to check the schedule so you can watch the penguin feeding and learn more about the animals in the farm. Period dramas filmed inside and outside the House include Lost in Austen (2009), Death Comes to Pemberley (2013) and, of course, ITV’s Victoria S1-2 (2016-Present).
ITV’s Victoria Costume Exhibition (24 March – 29 October 2017)Of the hundreds of costumes designed by Rosalind Ebbutt (and by James Keast), only 11 dresses are on display in three rooms (one room is Below Stairs), 6 of which are Victoria’s (portrayed by Jenna Coleman). I had been hoping to see more of Victoria’s dresses, in particular her wedding gown, but I suppose some are still being worn for S2 (which is currently being filmed at Harewood House and elsewhere). *Unless otherwise specified, the dresses below are designed by Rosalind Ebbutt. Queen Victoria Duchess of Sutherland / Lady Harriet Sutherland (portrayed by Margaret Clunie) – She was the sister-in-law of the 2nd Earl of Harewood’s son, William S. Lascelles. Lady Emma Portman (portrayed by Anna Wilson-Jones) – She was the daughter of the 2nd Earl of Harewood and had met the then Princess Victoria in 1835 at Harewood House!
Tickets: Freedom Adult ticket costs £16.50 or £18.15 with Gift Aid at the door / 10% discount if bought online / 50% discount if bought at the door with a bus 36 voucher
Hours: State Rooms, Below Stairs, Terrace Gallery, Terrace Cafe: 11am-3:30pm
Gardens & Grounds: 10am-6pm
Bird Garden, Farm Experience, Courtyard Cafe: 10am-5:30pm
Recommended time at Harewood House: I spent less than 4 hours but definitely needed 5 hours to explore the State Rooms, Terrace, All Saints’ Church, Bird Garden, and Farm Experience – and the Walled Garden, which I didn’t have time for! By the way, I found out too late that there’s a Harewood Castle ruins!Getting to Harewood House
- Take a direct train (Virgin East Coast) from London to Leeds (ca. 2.5 hours). Train fares range from £22-53+, depending on how far in advance you book.
- From Leeds, walk 10 min to a bus stop (consult Google Maps) to catch Bus 36 to Harewood Arms. Bus 36 comes every 15 min from Monday-Saturday, and every 30 min on Sundays. Day ticket (return trip) costs £4.40. Be sure to ask for a voucher. The bus will announce the stop to get off for Harewood House. Takes 20-30 min. P.S. There’s wifi on the bus and it’s very comfortable!
- Once at the main arch, call the number for a shuttle on the board – otherwise it’s a long walk to the house!