Beningbrough Hall

In preparation for the summer holidays I always check the special events that are planned at National Trust properties around the North East and Yorkshire. As we are National Trust members, these events are normally available at no extra charge and feel like a free day out. Beningbrough hall really caught my eye - it looked like a gorgeous property just outside of York and when I read they were exhibiting contemporary portraits of the Royal family in conjunction with the national portrait gallery, I knew we could not miss an opportunity to visit.

We were planning on taking our children with us, however at the last minute my in-laws asked if they would like to visit their caravan for a few days. To be honest I jumped at the chance of a child-free visit as I don't think we have ever had the chance to visit a national trust property without our children. Our three year old in particular can get irritable pretty quickly so it was nice that we were going to be able to take our time looking around the hall together instead of taking it in turns to supervise Jack.

Beningbrough hall is certainly stunning. We started our morning with a walk around the gardens - I must admit when we watched some children playing cricket together on one of the lawns I did think my children would love it here and that we should have brought them - there's always next time though. The garden's were beautiful with lots of pretty flowers and places to sit and really take in your surroundings.

After our walk, we entered the house and galleries. To my disappointment photography inside the house is not allowed. This is expected though I guess. There are free audio guides should you wish or you can just wander at your leisure as we did. The portraits are spread over three floors and contemporary pieces stand next to older more traditional portraits. We absolutely loved this exhibit. 

This portrait of the Queen by Chris Levine is just so beautiful. It has been displayed on a light box and looks as if the Queen is moving. The photograph was taken as the Queen was resting between shots and I think it shows a different more human side to her. I love that she's wearing her crown too!

Steve's favourite piece was this painting by Nicky Phillips which shows the two Prince's having an informal moment whilst on duty.

I won't ruin the whole exhibition for you but there is also the chance to see a stunning photograph of Princess Diana in vogue magazine, Andy Warhol's interpretation of the Queen and the first official portrait of Prince George on his christening day and more. If you love the Royal family then I promise you will not be disappointed with this fantastic exhibition which continues until November 1st 2014.

It turns out, our children would have LOVED this property. There is an interactive zone on the top floor of the hall which allows children to use touch screen computers to design their own portraits which can then be emailed home. Plus, there is a fantastic outdoor play area complete with swings and dens and even a small play room with toys in one of the upstairs rooms.

There are a few options to stay for something to eat and drink at Beningbrough hall - this picture shows the entrance to the walled garden restaurant which looked lovely. There is also the option to bring your own picnic or even visit the on-site farm shop which is about a 15 minute walk from the house for a spot to eat.

We thoroughly enjoyed our trip to Beningbrough hall and will definitely visit with the family again soon. 


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