Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Calling all Charlottes!

People who share the royal baby's name get free entry

   ©National Trust Images / John Millar
I hope that no one is tired of hearing about the royal baby, because here at Beningbrough we have a baby-themed announcement. To celebrate the birth of Princess Charlotte, Beningbrough is opening its doors free to anyone called Charlotte this week from Wednesday 6th April – Sunday 10th April. Just bring official ID, we’ll waiver the entrance fee, and the whole of Beningbrough will be yours to explore.
'The Royal Family: A Centenary Portrait'

    ©National Trust Images / Chris Lacey

The Royals: then and now exhibition is still on. The display is a collection of contemporary royal portraits on loan from the Natinal Portrait Gallery that is not to be missed. Some of the topical portraits to look out for are a dashing portrait of prince William by Mario Testino, that was featured in Vanity Fair to celebrate his 21st birthday. There is also a relaxed portrait of Kate Middleton at the London 2012 Olympics by Jillian Edelstein. Finally, look out for a photo from the now big brother Prince George's christening, of the 4 generations of the royal family, photographed all together Jason Bell.

Two children starting the trail

Clarence the Corgi is a perfect guide for families as he takes children on a trail round the royal portraits. In the trail book they can search for Prince Charles feeding his chickens, draw their own royal family portrait, and count the number of Corgis in the giant portrait by John Wonnacott in the great hall! Take the opportunity whilst you’re here to take in the seasonal delights in the garden, especially the cherry lawn displaying the ‘Crown Imperials’ - perfect for this royal baby week.

'Crown Imperials' are the perfect plant for royal baby week

Join in with the conversation on Twitter, tweet #royalbaby to @NTBeningbrough.

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Is spring the prettiest time of the year?

Beningbrough is known for its beautiful gardens and parklands, and we have a dedicated team of both staff and volunteers that care for the plants all year round. This is the time of year when all the hard work put in throughout the year is rewarded, as it’s the springtime when beautiful flowers start to appear. We want to update you on what you can see in the coming weeks.

The blossom is flourishing on the Cherry Lawn

Daffodils and Magnolias are blooming and blossom is starting to appear, which really is a sign that spring is upon us. Right now, there is peach and apricot blossom in the glasshouse, but soon cherry, pear and apple blossom will be appearing all around the gardens. The cherry tree lawn comes into its own in spring with billows or carpets of confetti like pink blossom.

Daffodils are a sign of Spring

You might not be aware that new fences have been installed this year at the coach entrance to the Beningbrough estate or exit point if travelling by car. These were put in not just to improve the overall look of the parkland, but also because it was apparent that there used to be railing in that area. All around the new fences, bluebells can be seen growing right up to the Pike Ponds Wood, which is a perfect walk to do at this time of year. Bluebells are not only by the new fences however, they are popping up all over the Parkland. With the clearing work carried out in this part of the parkland the bulbs really are benefiting from the increased light. There are maps available at reception with a range of walks from 20 minutes to two hours.

The Bluebells are growing up to the Pike Ponds Wood

Tulips are emerging in the spring bedding display, and will continue to pop up right into the next month. Rhubarb is now in season (and as much harvest as possible will be used in the restaurant). The first glimmers of asparagus are starting to peep through the soil so look out for this freshly harvested seasonal delicacy too.

Tulips are emerging at Beningbrough

Hopefully this post has given you plenty of reasons to come and visit Beningbrough in the coming weeks, and in particular the American Garden which is wonderful at this time of year, the parkland for the bluebells and the blossom on the cherry lawn. Whilst there’s no doubt that the plants are beautiful in the height of summer, the flowers when they are just starting to emerge are not to be missed.

Magnolias are popping up all over the gardens

We also offer a free guided garden walk on Wednesdays, where a dedicated volunteer will talk about the history of the gardens, and the seasonal highlights. Alternatively, feel free to stop and chat to a gardener if you see one passing, they will be happy to answer any questions!

Blossom is beautiful at Beningbrough Hall

Don't miss our annual plant sale coming up on the Saturday 16th and Sunday 17th May, click here to get the full details.

If you fancy visiting some other great gardens in the York area, check out Treasurer’s House and Goddards House and Garden. 

Saturday, 4 April 2015

A hop, skip and a jump over to Beningbrough this Easter!


Easter weekend is finally here, and we hope that everyone is enjoying themselves and relaxing! Here’s what we’ve been doing at Beningbrough over the last couple of days…

Our favourite so far has been the Cadbury Easter Egg Trail, which turns families into mini explorers as they navigate round the house and gardens searching for clues, which eventually lead them back to base camp, and to the reward of a Cadbury Egghead.

The egg and spoon race has also proved popular; children of all ages have to balance speed with care as they try not to drop the egg. The look on their faces shows how much they are concentrating!

Just an hour ago, Artrageous was buzzing as families waited for the Easter Bunny! We’ve had some really creative decorated eggs added to the Beningbrough Royal Egg Gallery already, showing princes and princesses, and kings and queens to fit in with our royals theme. 

The Easter Bunny came and said hello to everyone, then picked his favourite egg design, by Eli. (Pictured below!)

 Lots of people came to meet the Easter Bunny in the conservatory in the house.


Come down to Beningbrough tomorrow or Monday to join in with the fun! (The trail might continue longer if we have any Eggheads left, but it’s best to ring up and check first, our number is 01904 472027).

Post a comment on Facebook at or tweet us @NTBeningbrough with #EasterEggTrail to get involved online.

Check out Goddards and Treasurer’s House in York to find some more National Trust Easter-themed activities.

Thursday, 2 April 2015

Don’t let the wet weather dampen your Easter holidays

The weather hasn’t exactly been feeling very spring like, and everyone is hoping for better weather in time for the Easter weekend. Whilst Beningbrough is known for its beautiful walks through the gardens and parkland and wilderness play area, there are still plenty of activities to get involved with if the weather is not bright and sunny. You don’t have to worry about entertaining everyone at home on a wet and windy day……..wrap up, put on your wellies and come and play.


This Easter weekend decorate an egg and put it in the gallery. The Easter Bunny will arrive in time to pick a winner (around 3pm) each day for a special prize. £1 per egg and entry but there are free crafty options too.

As well as the special Easter Artrageous happening this bank holiday weekend, there will be a number of extra activities starting from the week beginning the 6th. On the Tuesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, there will be a drop in from 11-4pm, with colouring options and the chance to make something creative. On the Wednesday and Thursday from 1-3pm, there will be a led session where families can continue to decorate an egg (without prizes this time) for a small charge plus a free option. The Artrageous crafts take place in the Hayloft room, which is only accessible by stairs.

Clarence the Corgi

To celebrate the arrival of the new portraits for Royals: then and now, there is a predominantly indoor trail for kids led by Clarence the Corgi, where you can search for Prince Charles feeding his chickens, paint a royal portrait of your family, and count the number of corgis in the giant portrait in the Great Hall!

Getting in the Picture

(c) National Trust Images / Chris Lacey

In the upper levels of the house, there are also a number of activities for families to get involved in. On the 2nd floor, the Getting the Picture room features a virtual portrait computer; it takes a picture of you face then turns you into someone who has had their portrait done from a long time ago. You can also experience being a sitter, and choose your background, props, and pose of course! In Turning Heads, you can explore portraits and find hidden details, feel the different types of materials used to create sculptures, and even make your own nose for a sculpture that is missing one. The Pre-School Portrait Playroom now has new games and some new hand puppets.

Cadbury Easter Egg Trail

(c) National Trust Images / Rob Stothard

Of course, the main event this Easter is the Cadbury Easter Egg Trail, which is indoors and outdoors so perfect for a British spring! It’s up to you how much you do; everyone will still get a Cadbury Egghead at the end. Trails cost £2 and have been designed to suits all ages…big kids too. Beningbrough’s is building on the royal theme and would suit any young Prince or Princess. 

The trail may continue into the 2nd week of the holidays, but we recommend that you visit in the four main Cadbury days over the long weekend to be sure of an Egghead prize. Otherwise, if you’re coming after the bank holiday especially to do the trail do ring us to check if it’s still running; eggs have been known to run out quickly! 01904 472027.  

We’d love to hear about your visit and see your pictures. Join in on twitter @NTBeningbrough with #EasterEggTrail or on

Other places nearby include Treasurer’s House in York city centre who are also running a Cadbury supported trail and Goddards House and Garden; as the former home of the Terry family they’re celebrating all things chocolate and Terry inspired as part of ChocFest.

So whatever the weather – we've planned a great family day out this Easter with the National Trust in York. 

Monday, 23 March 2015

National Butchers' Week 2015

Monday is the start of National Butchers’ Week. This event is all about celebrating local, independent retailers and highlighting the benefits of buying from these butchers, which are: an improved range of products, a more personal service, and convenience as they are often located on the high street. But why are Beningbrough telling you this? We want to introduce you to our local butcher…

R&J Yorkshire’s Finest Farmers and Butchers


Based in Ripon, R&J Yorkshire’s Finest were established in 1978 by Rob and Jo Atkinson (hence the name R&J!) Both Rob and Jo came from farming backgrounds, and have extensive knowledge in the meat industry. Although it started out as a small business, their flavoursome meat has allowed them to supply many restaurants across the region, and their son Ryan has been influential in the expansion of this family business. They have been supplying Beningbrough for many years, but are now also supplying the National Trust throughout Yorkshire and the North.

Leisure for livestock


All their animals graze freely in open pasture, and are fed on a natural diet- there’s no intensive farming in sight. Quite apart from this being much kinder to the animals, it also enhances the flavour. 

But how does this make a difference at Beningbrough’s restaurant?


© National Trust Images/ Chris Lacey
This means that when you buy a meal at Beningbrough, you know that the meat is of the highest quality and best possible taste, and the animals have been treated to the highest welfare standards. Buying from local producers also reduces the food miles as the produce doesn’t have very far to travel, which is better for the environment.

Of course, meat is not the only ingredient used in our restaurant. Vegetables are equally as important, and seasonal produce grown in our walled garden is harvested, which is then used in our restaurant.


© National Trust Images/ John Millar

Come along at Sunday lunch time to try our roast, which alternates between pork and beef, and uses R&J Yorkshire’s Finest special Vale of York Pork... We look forward to seeing you there!

Click here for full details about Beningbrough’s restaurant, including opening times.

Tweet using #butcherisbetter to get involved with National Butchers’ Week online.

Images supplied by R and J Yorkshire's Finest unless otherwise stated.