Wentworth Woodhouse, located near Rotherham, Yorkshire, England, is yet another huge stately home that is only a short drive from my home. Yay! Although it is massive, only a small number of its 300 rooms are open to the public. Thomas Wentworth, 1st Earl of Strafford, who was beheaded on Tower Hill in 1641, lived here. Although only a small part of the 17th-century house he lived in remains (most of what we now see was built in the 1720s by the 1st Marquess of Rockingham).
I visited with my family in August, and it is a great place for such an outing, as there is plenty for children to look at (there was a fun paper with items to look out for, which my five-year-old enjoyed).
It is sadly quite dilapidated, but visitors can see what was clearly once a very splendid great house. As I learned from reading the book, Wentworth Woodhouse: The House, The Estate, & The Family by Melvyn Jones, Joan Jones, and Stephen Cooper, some months ago, the house certainly has seen a great deal of change.
There was a wonderfully-constructed model of the great building on display in one of the first rooms. It was superb. One of the nicest rooms in the building was the Long Gallery, which is located facing the back of the house and it is now used as a venue for afternoon tea, which needs to be booked. It was full of satisfied-looking patrons, who sat at pretty tables which had Royal Albert Country Roses china and the ubiquitous tiered stands full of tasty sandwiches and baked treats. It looked so nice that I’d like to go just for that sometime. For a more casual feed, there is also a cafe on site on the ground floor.
Continuing along the route around the rooms, one can still get a sense of the splendour of the place. Some of the rooms still retain some beautiful decorations on the walls, but many rooms are quite bare. There were, however, some very striking statues throughout, particularly in the area where the largest staircase is. There are also some fine tiled floors and friezes.
The gardens, however, are quite lovely, and I was pleased to see many visitors enjoying them. I do think that the exterior of the place is the most appealing part of modern-day Wentworth Woodhouse.
The grounds are extensive: there are around 87 acres!
There is a lot of wilderness, great views from a terraced area, loads of apple trees, and a magnolia house which is to undergo some much-needed restoration work. This said, all the volunteers and gardeners we spoke with really love the place and it this devotion is wonderful and keeps the place going.
Get a load of those apples! There is a substantial amount of woodland and it’s a great place to get some exercise outdoors. We had a largely enjoyable picnic here (shame about the wasps!) and it was really nice to have such an amazing view. I don’t think you can beat a picnic with a view of a historical site! I love it.
In short, Wentworth Woodhouse is an imposing and impressive building but really needs restoration and revitalisation, which fortunately seems to be in progress. With the clear enthusiasm and devotion shown by the staff there, I can’t wait to see how the place will be in the years to come. I think it is so important to preserve these historic buildings for generations to come.
For more on the history of Wentworth Woodhouse, please visit their website.