A spontaneous, scenic drive across the East Riding of Yorkshire today took us to an Elizabethan Manor house and gardens called Burton Agnes Hall.
History of Burton Agnes Hall
The hall has its roots in the Norman period and history of the hall begins in 1173 when Roger de Stuteville, one of the Northern Barons, built a manor house on the site. The undercroft of this Norman Manor can still be seen along with the Tudor Great Hall, which was built in addition to the preexisting Norman foundations and undercroft in around 1457.
Construction of the grand Elizabethan manor that can be admired in all it’s glory today began construction in 1599 when its then owner, Sir Henry Griffith, was appointed as a member of the Council of the North and chose to build a home for his family in Yorkshire instead of the midlands where he had formerly been the Justice of the Peace for Staffordshire. The hall has been in the same family, passed down through generations for over 400 years and is still a ‘lived in’ family home that is also now open for the public to enjoy and explore.
After a quick skim of the information leaflet on arrival, we headed through the gates and into the main courtyard where a huge variety of plants are on sale to the general public, all grown in the gardens of Burton Agnes. It was hard to resist purchasing some but I am running out of space in my own indoor jungle at home! So on we went to look at the outside of the hall, which is currently closed due to Covid-19 restrictions, but the kids were more than happy to run around exploring the extensive lawns and weaving in and out of the towering, ornate hedges that line the front of the house. We enjoyed looking at all of the statues that are hidden within the hedges and explored the gate house which is situated at the end of the ‘drive’.
Continuing on to the side of the hall, we found a huge water feature and spent some time watching the orange and gold Koi that were happily swimming up and down and splashing members of the public. Standing at the end of this pond and looking back up at the hall gave us an idea of how grand this attraction is and how impressive it would have been to visitors to the hall when it was completed in the early seventeenth century.
On we continued through a beautiful woodland walk which led to a wooden adventure playground and a small sculpture trail where we spotted the Gruffalo, a sure favourite, inspired by the famous Julia Donaldson book of course.
We headed back through the woodland, tummies rumbling, and made a quick stop in the Norman undercroft to have a look at the 840 year old architecture. Even though I am a prehistorian through and through, I never fail to be in awe of these fabulous examples of standing archaeology. The final place to explore was the walled garden, where extensive, well kept pathways allowed us to wind our way in and out of unusual plants, huge palms and trees full of apples! The gardens were full of beautiful butterflies and buzzing bees and it was a pleasure to walk amongst nature.
To finish off our trip, we grabbed a pizza from the outdoor woodfired pizza stand that is situated in the courtyard. In the spirit of British Summer, the heavens opened as we were eating but that didn’t put us off our delicious lunch and ice creams to finish! We were so glad to have found Burton Agnes Hall and we will most definitely be returning!