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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Dr Adam White
Adam is an art historian who studied for his PhD at the Courtauld in London. He has worked at the Leeds Museums and Galleries from 1983 until his recent retirement, and has has been based at Lotherton Hall and Temple Newsam House since 1994. He is regarded as one of Britain’s leading authorities on Elizabethan and Jacobean sculpture, and is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London.
£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).
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.
There is no minimum number of clients required for this trip to run.
Maximum group size
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.