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Great Houses of Yorkshire - Architecture, collections, gardens, history

A dazzling mix of grandeur and exquisite detail: from the majestic sweep of Capability Brown’s parkland at Harewood, to Edward Burne-Jones’ stained glass in the chapel at Castle Howard.

Flourishing gardens are an unsung feature of many of these houses. We visit those at Harewood, Wentworth Woodhouse and Castle Howard.

Most are still occupied by the families who built them, giving us the chance to consider them as homes, as well as monuments.

Historic and beautiful York is our base throughout the trip.


  • Harewood House ©Harewood House and Lee Beal.
    Harewood House ©Harewood House and Lee Beal.
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Yorkshire is a county that has never been short of ambition, and it is an attribute perfectly encapsulated by its stately homes. In the 18th century in particular it was the scene of house-building on a heroic scale, with three projects matching the grandest designs not just of the south of England, but the rest of Europe. This trio – Harewood, Castle Howard and Wentworth Woodhouse – is the focus of our trip; but there is time too for three smaller houses of immense charm, at Sledmere, Burton Agnes and Nostell Priory. Together, they leave an indelible impression of brilliance – not just in their architecture, but in their art, furniture and interior design.

Day 1

We meet at York Railway Station and leave by coach at 1.30pm for Harewood – a masterpiece of 18th- and 19th-century Neo-Classicism. Its art collection includes work by Gainsborough, Reynolds, Turner and Titian. Dinner together in York.


Day 2

After a lecture, we drive to Wentworth Woodhouse, with its extraordinary 600ft long front. In 2016 it was rescued from dereliction by a private trust. In the afternoon, we continue to the Palladian Nostell Priory, home to an unmatched collection of Chippendale furniture.


Day 3

Sledmere is a charming 18th-century country house painstakingly restored after a fire in 1911. Burton Agnes Hall, described by Simon Jenkins as “the perfect English house,” is an Elizabethan marvel which been home to 15 generations of the same family. Dinner together in York.


Day 4

Castle Howard (aka Brideshead). Sir John Vanbrugh’s exuberant confection of pilasters, statuary and dome is one of Europe’s finest Baroque houses, and our tour includes a walk to the Temple of the Four Winds. Return to York Railway Station by 4pm.


£940 per person sharing in a double room

£1,205 for one person in a double room

Flights are not included.


Accommodation and meals

The hotel: Novotel York Centre (4 star). Included meals: daily breakfasts and two dinners (with wine).


Getting around

We will be on foot for extended periods during the trip, exploring the interiors, parks and gardens of these magnificent houses. A good level of fitness is required.


Guaranteed departure

There is no minimum number of clients required for this trip to run.


Maximum group size

27 participants.


Joining and leaving the trip

Trains are not included, you make your own way to and from the starting and finishing point of the trip. York is well connected by rail, the journey from London take less than two hours. It is a short ride from the station to the hotel by taxi or bus (line 7). More information can be found on York’s official visitor information website. Please note CTC does not arrange international or domestic travel.