Located just to the north of Leeds, Harewood House is a fascinating treasure trove of art and design, set in a countryside idyll of gardens and parks. It makes a great getaway for all the family.
The work started with Edwin Lascelles, First Baron Heywood, a wealthy plantation owner. Construction began in 1759. He employed artisans whose names have since become legend: John Carr the architect, interior designer Robert Adam, furniture maestro Thomas Chippendale and the great gardener Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown. You’ll be able to see many examples of this work on your visit. Their efforts have been topped up over time with portrait paintings by Reynolds, Gainsborough, Lawrence and Richmond and many other exquisite artefacts.
You will find Italian Renaissance paintings collected in the early 20th century including works by Titian, Bellini, and Tintoretto. There’s also a mysterious allegorical painting by El Greco, which guests are welcome to interpret as best they can. The Chippendale furniture pervades the entire building and includes some really grand pieces such as the Mars and Minerva Commode, but connoisseurs speak highly of Chippendale’s smaller, more functional pieces which can be found in abundance too. Edward Lascelles competed sportingly with the future George IV in the collection of French and Oriental ceramics, and the house boasts one of the best collections of Sèvres pottery in the UK.
Capability Brown’s work was of course outside, and guests are strongly encouraged to wander among the vast acreage surrounding the house. Brown’s original work is maintained by famous contemporary gardener Trevor Nicholson. Spaces to explore include the Terrace, the Lakeside Garden, the Himalayan Garden and the Walled Garden.
Parents are advised that an adventure playground can be found on site along with all the required amenities, and perhaps most excitingly, a Bird Garden, where you will find real live penguins, mina birds, and other amazing creatures. There’s even a boat you can hire that will take you on a tour of the lake.