View of hall from gardens

We first visited this Hall about 13 years ago and really enjoyed it back then. My daughter recently requested a return visit as it was her Birthday, so another visit was in order.

Location

East Riddlesden Hall is situated just outside Keighley in East Riddlesden. It’s not that far south from Skipton on the Bradford Road.

Postcode: BD20 5EL

Entrance to Hall

History

East Riddlesden Hall is a 17th Century house which was saved from demolition in 1934. It is now thankfully owned by the National Trust and run by a team of volunteers who can share various stories about the Hall. 

The Hall itself is a Grade I listed building and was built in 1642 by a well to do cloth merchant from Halifax called James Murgatroyd. It is situated on a plateau which overlooks a bend in the River Aire, before it makes its way down to Keighley.

It is small house built on two floors and has 2 distinctive Yorkshire Rose windows. It also has a walled garden, a ruined Starkie Wing and of course a ghost or two, apparently.

Ornate bedroom

I did enquire about these on our recent visit, but the volunteer seemed rather dismissive about it saying that they were ‘out of favour’ at the moment. This made me smile, I don’t believe in ghosts anyway. 

The Hall was then extended and re-built in 1648 by James Murgatroyd and his wife Hannah. They used local Yorkshire stone which was also used in the building of other manor houses in the local area.

The Murgatroyd’s are reputedly notorious for their colourful history and were thought to be the inspiration for the Murgatroyd Baronets in the comic opera Ruddigore by Gilbert and Sullivan. W.S Gilbert often stayed at the Hall and the opera was performed there too.

Legend also has it that because the Murgatroyds indulged in profanity and debauchery, the River Aire changed its course in shame in order to avoid the Hall and residents.

Yorkshire Rose Window

The river does form a U Bend to skirt the meadow, thus avoiding the building. Family members were also to have said to have been imprisoned, fined and excommunicated for their behaviour. 

Famous Film Set

East Riddlesden Hall has also been used for various film settings such as:

Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights  – 1992 and also the TV adaptation in 2009

‘Sharpe’s Justice’ an episode from Sharpe TV series in 1997

BBC series ‘Gunpowder’ – 2017

The Hall today

You can take a stroll around the house and talk to the volunteers who are very knowledgeable on the history of the Hall.

There are some very interesting pieces to look at including an old Saxon stone found in the grounds and a very old keepsake box dating back to the 15th century.

Saxon Stone
Keepsake box

The Hall has some very quirky items and furniture to look at. It’s a relatively small house, but that gives you more time to look around and appreciate the contents.  Overall, it has a very friendly atmosphere about it.

Medieval tapestry

After a good look around the house you can visit the tea room. There is no need to pay to go into the house, as the tea room and shop are situated in a separate old building before the house. It’s well worth a visit if you’re just passing by.

Food and drink can be packaged to take out and there is seating in the historic bothy. You can also take items to the lower fields, where you can sit with family, friends and dogs. The food is delicious and reasonably priced too. Our daughter had a cheese scone which was fresh out of the oven. It was very tasty (I pinched a bit).

Inside the cafe

The Hall’s Gardens

There’s plenty to see and do in the gardens as well. You can join in with regular talks with gardeners for information about gardening techniques and how to use the various herbs that grow in the herb garden.

It’s also a great place for kiddies to explore as there are natural play areas such as, the mud pie kitchen and hobbit house. They can also hunt for bugs, go down slides and use logs to balance on.

Part of walled garden

There are many different crafts held throughout the year as well such as gingerbread making and nature themed craftwork.

In the lower fields, you can stroll along the River Aire and take in the scenery. There are plenty of picnic spots as well and an opportunity to walk your dogs. Dogs are not allowed in the house gardens though.

Wedding Venue

The Hall is also popular as a rustic wedding venue. The Airedale Barn provides a romantic setting with all modern creations such as underfloor heating and a waterfall of fairy lights.

The barn seats up to 160 guests. Also, inside the House itself, the 400 year old Great Hall can accommodate up to 30 guests for a more intimate setting. It has warm stone walls and a magnificent fireplace. Brilliant for all those wedding photos!

Large pond at entrance to Hall

Events for the diary

An open evening for the wedding experience. 

On: Sat 4th December 2021

Time: 18.00 – 22.00

A chance to experience the Airedale Barn in all its glory. Food served, live music and mulled wine. No need to book.

A walking winter trail with Percy the Park Keeper

A fun walk with Percy and animal friends. This was one of our daughter’s favourite characters when she was young and so one of ours too!

On: Saturday 4th December 2021

Time: 11.00 – 15.00

Ticket Prices: – £2.00 (all ages)

Christmas wreath making

Event takes place in the atmospheric Airedale Barn. Wreaths are made with guidance from expert florists. Prosecco provided to add to the festive feel. Wreath to take home.

Dates: Monday 6th/Tuesday 7th December 2021

Time: 18.30 – 20.30

Back view of property with Rose window

Current Hall Opening Times

Saturday and Sunday only (times will change at February half-term)

10.30 – 16.00

Also, the house is only open for guided tours during winter months.

November – February     11.00 – 14.00

Prices:

Adults – £7.70

Child – £3.85 (under 5’s free)

Family – £19.25

NT Members – Free

Future Hall Projects

Recently East Riddlesden Hall have announced a new project that will be taking place over this winter. The aim is to create a blossom tree trail in the grounds of the property.

This will be followed up by further planting in the lower fields, thus introducing a ‘wet woodland’ along the River Aire. The aim of this is to reduce the risk of flooding further downstream to other communities. The tree planting is due to start this month (November 2021) and will include a mixture of species, including cherry and crab apple. 

The project hopes to provide a focal point for visitors in highlighting the importance of nature and well-being. Whilst also enlightening the need to address the climate change issues. 

It is one of 46 similar schemes being carried out by the National Trust over this winter. It will be undertaken by National Trust Water Common Cause Partnership Rangers (National Trust and Yorkshire Water Partnership). This partnership has got together to carry out these specific ventures.

It is hoped that around 4,000 trees will be planted in total and that they will form part of the White Rose Forest. 

The trees will be a lasting memorial to all who have sadly lost their lives due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

It is hoped that the project will create a wider country park in the area, linking more green spaces for local people. It is also hoped that it will help people to understand the importance of trees and nature for their own health and well-being, as well as being very important for our future with climate change.

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