It started out as a bad day and ended up being a fantastic day. We had planned for weeks to go to the Carlisle horse races. Being typical Cumbrian weather it rained and rained. Enough that the horse races had to be cancelled. 😦 I felt pretty grumpy – had really been looking forward to this. Anyways, this left us with a dilemma.. What should we do today? As our English Heritage cards are quickly coming to an end I thought I would have a quick look at their website and see if there was anything a reasonable driving distance to go explore. I quickly discovered Belsay Hall. Not really looking at what it had to offer we jumped in the car and headed over to Northumberland.
As luck would have it the rain stopped and the clouds disappeared leaving us with brilliant weather to explore Belsay hall/ castle and gardens!
(Spot the blue sky?!)
The Hall was very interesting to explore. Although not furnished you can get a real feel for what it used to be like.It was designed with a lot of greek inspiration. The hall is much bigger then you would expect when walking up to it. In the basement they have lots of old cellars with concrete “furniture” if you can call it that. They used to store all their wine/beer in. While walking through the endless cellars it gets rather goood echoes. Up to a 7 second echo! So shouting out gets to be rather fun down there. All the rooms are absolutely huge throughout the hall but my particular favourite was the library.
It might not look super special without the rugs, and books which used to fill the room but its sheer size and all the built-in shelves is whats breathtaking to me. See the light shadows on the floor? That’s the other side of the library with huge windows overlooking the gardens. What a view!
Th gardens throughout Belsay are great. We visited in March so I can only imagine how brilliant they must be come June time! They have such a variety of plants. The garden is in bloom pretty much year round. What a clever garden they must have had!
The winter gardens..
There is a really lovely walk to get to where the castle is. I think it’s called the Quarry walk or gardens you go through. It has a tropical sort of vibe and is it very sheltered throughout. If you need to go to the toilet make sure you go before you start the walk down to the castle as there is currently only one set of toilets on the entire grounds!
After this lovely little walk you will find yourself at the castle.
Which to me looks lovely, but there is nothing completely amazing about this castle. Once you’ve been around 50+ castles they do tend to become a bit the same. If you are visiting with small children keep them close by as there is a sheer drop (it does have signs warning you of this.)
My overall summary is there was a lot to see and do! We didn’t try out the cafe but can say it certainly smelt good! Staff where very pleasant. As was our entire visit. I actually enjoyed it so much I hope to return again soon so my husband can join. If the weather is nice there are a lot of spots for picnics so pack some food and drink! I can tell as the weather gets better this will be a busy place! If visiting in the summer time I’d guess try to get there for opening that way you might beat off some of the crowds!
I have an odd obsession with monkey puzzle trees!