Geordie bank holiday: Seaton Delaval Hall

I’m back up in the North East for the bank holiday full of procrastination and fear of failure for the upcoming paper I’m due to give at the forthcoming DRHA conference. I’m finding it very hard to talk about a project which is still in progress. However in full work avoidance mode I’m making the most of my time oop north. Friday saw Howick, Seahouses and Bamburgh. You cannot beat Northumberland for its beaches or its fish and chips. Bamburgh is simply breath taking.

Today (Sunday) I went to Seaton Delaval Hall. For years when I was younger we would drive past this outstanding hall, and I would wonder what on earth it was like inside. Seaton Delaval Hall was designed by Vanbrugh and has quite a long and varied, some say, raunchy past with rumours of royal mistresses, terrible fires and visits by Katharine Hepburn. All this history came into jeopardy in 2008 when there was a risk of a private sale. A massive campaign was launched to save Seaton Delaval Hall, after lots of fundraising the Hall finally became the newest member of the National Trust family and is now open to the public. And boy I’m glad it has been saved; because it’s a brilliant place to visit.

The formal gardens are beautiful and so colourful, despite it being blowing a gale! The colours whipping round in the wind making it all the more vibrant, it’s a hidden gem which I wasn’t expecting at all. The facade of the Hall is spectacular and then you go inside and you see what fire, disuse and disrepair can do to a beautiful building; but this is accompanied by the volunteers who clearly love this place, their enthusiasm and generosity makes it what it is. And being the nerdasaurus museo that I am, I was enthralled not by the sculpture, the masonry, or the box hedges and rose garden (as great as they all are) but by the leaflet. Not forgetting the matching volunteer fleeces. genius. A striking pink print image of the hall with a welcome mat and a simple statement: “play a part unfolding the colourful story of the National Trust’s newest place. Enjoy your visit!” love it.

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