Saturday, 3 October 2015

Apple Week 2015: celebrating all things apple!

Tomorrow, the 4th October, marks the start of Apple Week here at Beningbrough! Apples are in season, and we grow exactly 48 varieties of apple, with 38 of them growing in the Walled Garden, and 10 in the Orchard. We also have a special collection of young Yorkshire apples growing in the Walled Garden, including varieties like the Cox’s Orange Pippin, the Ribston Pippin and the Acklam Russet. Come down to Beningbrough between the 4th–11th October (we’re closed Mondays) to join in with activities such as apple pressing, apple short talks, and sampling the special apple–themed menu in the restaurant.

Apple pressing

Apple pressing demonstrations will be taking place on Sunday the 4th and 11th October, at 1pm and 3pm. You can see how the press is used, which varieties work best, and then try the freshest juice in Beningbrough!

Apple walks, talks and facts

Aside from apple pressing, there are many other activities happening every day throughout Apple Week. Specialist short talks accompanied by a short apple walk (each day at 1pm and 2.30pm) not only give you an insight into the varieties of apples grown at Beningbrough, but also some tips on how to grow them in your own garden. You can also walk around the Walled Garden and see if you stumble across some apple-related facts…

Apple displays, and apple and cider tastings

There will be a display of some of the varieties of apple grown at Beningbrough in the Garden Room, where you can compare and contrast the different types, and their uses. You might be surprised at how different some of the apples appear! There’ll also be apple tasting (the times may vary), and the opportunity to try some of our locally sourced cider, which you can buy in the shop.

Appley delights!

After you’ve sampled all the apple activities, head across to the restaurant to indulge in a variety of apple dishes. From strudels to crumbles, and pork belly and apple casserole to roast pork in apple sauce, there’s something from the apple season for everyone!

So come down to Beningbrough between the 4th and the 11th October (remember that we’re closed Mondays) to join in with some activities to celebrate the British favourite, the apple!

See above for a detailed programme of what’s happening everyday (or you can find a larger version here)

Click here to go to the garden page, where you can download a fruit tree plan!

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Friday, 14 August 2015

Summer school holiday activities!

Look no further for family friendly activities these Summer holidays, come rain or shine… 

50 things Fridays

(C) National Trust Images / John Millar
Every Friday this August, Beningbrough Hall will be holding a different staff led activity. This gives all children, big and small, the opportunity to tick some more activities off the National Trust’s ’50 Things to do before you’re 11¾' list, especially those trickier ones which you might not be able to complete yourself. On the 14th, it’s your chance to discover what lives in a pond, at 12pm or 2pm. On the 21st, you can go on a bug hunt, explore inside a tree, and you might even get to hold a scary beast! Again, this will take place at 12pm and 2pm.

On other days you can tick off around 35 of the list at Beningbrough so grab your free scrap book from the bothy, pick up a spotter sheet and decide where to start - build a den, climb a tree, roll down a hill and undoubtedly run around in the rain!

Explorer backpacks

(C) National Trust Images / John Millar

The learning team here at Beningbrough have put together some special backpacks full of gadgets to turn you into an explorer for the day. The pack includes bird fact sheets complete with pictures and binoculars, so that you can go bird watching and identify the different types of birds that you find. There is also a bug magnifier box, so you can take a closer look at the various creepy crawlies. The map and compass points allow you to go on an adventure, and explore different parts of the grounds and parklands here at Beningbrough.

(c) National Trust Images / Sue Jordan

The explorer packs can be borrowed from the shop, they're free with a £5 returnable deposit.

Summer fun even when it’s raining!


(c) National Trust Images / Cathy Thornton

The popular craft workshop Artrageous is running over the school holidays, with a different royal themed activity each week to celebrate the final 2 years of the Royals: then and now display. This week (beginning the 10th), you can create your very own royal costume. Next week will be making your own stained glass palace, and the third week we’ll be designing our own coat of arms. Artrageous happens every Sunday and Wednesday from 1pm- 3pm. 

Find us set up in the Hayloft above the stable shop (accessible by stairs only).

The great hall

(C) National Trust Images / Chris Lacey

In the house itself, there are a wide variety of activities to keep you entertained, even if the weather is wet. The Clarence the Corgi trail takes you round the royal themed portraits inside, and gives you quirky facts and things to do along the way. On the second floor of the house, look for the interactive computer, where you can create your own virtual family portrait! Other activities include sculpting a nose especially for a sculpture that is missing one, dressing up with gowns and masks, and a pre-school play area filled with toys and games.

More fun in the Sun

(C) National Trust Images / Megan Taylor

Last but not least, there are some things that we have to play with all year round, but are particularly fun in Summer. The bikes and trikes, that you can find around the gardens are perfect for whizzing around in, and discovering hidden nooks and crannies. We also have our wilderness play area, complete with swings, climbing frame and den zone.

So there are plenty of reasons to have a family day out at Beningbrough Hall, Gallery and Gardens these Summer holidays!

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for more updates, and tweet #50Things to get involved online.

Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Shop to support the National Trust in York

Inside most of the National Trust properties, gift shops of all sizes can be found selling items from gardening tools to children’s books. However, there are also a handful of unique National Trust shops on the high street across the country, and York is lucky enough to have one of them.

These shops are great for tourists and locals alike, because they have some great gift inspiration, and they contain many exclusive items and National Trust labels. Just like visiting our properties, visiting our shops helps support the Trust in looking after the UK’s special places.

If you enjoy sampling wine, then make a note of the 9th July, and keep scrolling to find out more…


One of the highlights of the York shop is the range of items that are exclusive to the National Trust, and can only be found in our shops. 

New ranges have recently been created by designers in the head office, and have been inspired by our properties. These ranges include items such as scarves, cushions and throws.

At the moment, the York shop has a beautiful blue display that has been designed to celebrate 50 years of the Neptune Coastline Campaign. This campaign started right back in 1965 with the aim of protecting special areas of coastline under the threat of development, and to create more opportunities for people to enjoy the coast.

The blue scarves are an example of just some of the items in a new range inspired by the coast campaign.

Exclusive National Trust throws, woven in Britain.

 More homeware is also available in our shops.

Food and drink

The National Trust even has its own food and drink brands, and we sell products like preserves, biscuits and various teas. So if you enjoy eating in our cafes, you can take home some of our food to enjoy in your own kitchen.

Yorkshire Country Wines’ tasting and special evening opening

On the 9th July, there will be a special evening opening, from 5:30pm to 8:00pm, so we can host a wine tasting session with Sarah Ironside from Yorkshire Country Wines. This local business is unique in that all their wines are handmade in small batches using traditional methods. Instead of using grapes however, they use damsons, cherries, plums and many more fruits not normally associated with wine making. There will also be an exclusive discount: get 20% off if you spend more than £20 during the evening.

Outdoor and garden

The outdoor and gardening ranges are popular across the shops, you can use our York properties to inspire you in your own garden.

Gift Cards

Using the shop to buy your gift cards all year round is a great way to make a contribution to the National Trust.  

And for anyone who's feeling really organised this year, we have our own range of Christmas cards in already!

(C)  National Trust Images / Nick Meers

While you’re in the centre, take the opportunity to visit Treasurer’s House, just next to the Minster.

For more outdoors and gardening supplies, visit Beningbrough Hall and check out our on-site shop. 
(C) National Trust Images / John Millar
The address for the York shop is 32 Goodramgate, York, North Yorkshire YO1 7LG.

Tweet us @ntshopyork

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Jam or cream first?

Cream tea at National Trust properties
(C) National Trust Images / Arnhel de Serra
This Friday, the 26th June, is the first National Cream Tea Day! This event is all about celebrating the nation’s love of (and maybe sometimes even obsession with) cream teas, with the help from ambassador Frances Quinn, winner of The Great British Bake off. The National Trust properties in York are the perfect places to treat yourself to a proper cream tea this summer, but first, ahead of the occasion, I’m going to share some scone-related facts…

Generally, a cream tea is eaten between 4pm and 6pm, and is a combination of scones, clotted cream, and jam, served with a pot of tea. Traditionally associated with Devon and Cornwall, the idea of the cream tea quickly spread across the whole of Britain and the Commonwealth in the mid-19th century, and is still available today in tea rooms across the country. There is also an ongoing debate in cream tea etiquette that asks whether you should spread the jam on the scone first or the cream.

Here are some ideas of how to celebrate with a cream tea at Treasurer’s House, Goddards and Beningbrough Hall.

For an extravagant cream tea

A proper cream tea at Goddards
(C) National Trust Images / Chris Lacey
The catering team at Goddards have put on a full spread especially for this celebration. ‘Mrs Terry’s Treats’ comes complete with two finger sandwiches, a scone, jam, cream and a pot of tea for one. Like Treasurer’s, Goddards also has seasonal scones on selected days, which have included a chocolate orange scone, celebrating the chocolate-making Terry family. (Think Terry’s Chocolate Orange.) You can sit in the dining room or the drawing room, and feel at home in his house, or make the most of the summer sun and eat on the lavender terrace. If you take afternoon tea in the drawing room between 2 and 3pm as part of your visit to the house, it will be prepared as you explore and you'll be called when it’s ready - with the sound of a gong!

For a traditional cream tea (or for gluten free)

Afternoon tea at Beningbrough
Beningbrough Hall’s simple yet timeless cream tea consists of two homemade scones, strawberry or raspberry jam, some clotted cream and a pot of Yorkshire tea for one. People following a gluten-free diet do not have to miss out on National Cream Tea Day here - Beningbrough also offers a gluten-free scone.

For a different cream tea

Cheese scones are available at Treasurer's House
(C) National Trust Images / Arnhel de Serra
In the Below the Stairs CafĂ© at Treasurer’s House, the flavour of the scones changes depending on what’s in season. Some of the variations so far have been: cheddar, ginger and honey, cherry and vanilla, and even lavender. So, Treasurers is the place to go if you want to be surprised, and try a cream tea with a difference. (Please note that these scones are only sold separately- a full cream tea with a plain scone is also available). Treasurer's House is closed on Friday 26 but open Saturday - Thursday.

People enjoying afternoon tea at Beningbrough
(C) National Trust Images / Chris Lacey

We’d love to hear about your cream tea experiences at Treasurer’s, Goddards or Beningbrough, so tweet any feedback or pictures to us using #bestcreamtea, and the Cream Tea Society might put us on their ‘must visit’ list!

Visit the website to find out more information about cream teas on offer round Yorkshire with the National Trust. 

All that remains is to decide - jam or cream first?

Thursday, 18 June 2015

Holiday with the National Trust this Summer

Middlethorpe Hall and Spa
(C) National Trust Images / Chris Lacey
Summer has finally arrived, and we’re all starting to think about the upcoming holidays. Maybe you’ve thought about visiting a National Trust property or a few this Summer, but you might not have considered staying in one.  There are 3 National Trust-owned places you can stay at in York: the Minstergate apartment, The Victorian Laundry, and Middlethorpe Hotel and Spa. These places are unique, so they have different features that suit everyone’s ideals. Finally, in spending your holiday with the National Trust, you are helping us to keep protecting and restoring buildings and landscapes to ensure that future generations can continue to enjoy them. 

Stay in the city…

The apartment is next to York Minster
(C) Bernie Waddington
Frank Green, local benefactor of York and owner of Treasurer’s House rescued Minstergate when it came under threat of demolition in the early twentieth century, so it is thanks to him that this medieval building survives today. Built in the 14th century, Minstergate apartment is located in the heart of York, just next to the Minster and right above the National Trust shop. Complete with exposed timbers and sloping floors, you can even eat in the dining room with a view of the Minster. Once a key gateway between the urban and commercial city of York, the apartment in the centre is now just a short walk away from numerous bars and cafes, many tourist attractions, and is only a 20 minute walk from the train station. Living in a building steeped in (sometimes infamous!) history surrounding the Minster and the people who lived and worked there is the perfect way to begin a holiday in the medieval centre of York.

A country retreat…

The Victorian Laundry outside view
(C) Christina Surdhar
The Laundry Room at Beningbrough
(C) National Trust Images /J.Whitaker
If you’ve ever wondered what is would be like to live at Beningbrough Hall, now is your chance to find out. A Georgian mansion built in 1716 by John Bourchier and inspired by his time amongst Europeans palaces, Beningbrough Hall, Gallery and Gardens comes complete with walled gardens, parklands and a collection of paintings from its partnership with the National Portrait Gallery. Just 45 metres away from the hall itself lies the Victorian Laundry Room, which holds the holiday apartment on the first floor. Guests can enjoy the unique opportunity of accessing the gardens and grounds of Beningbrough outside of normal opening hours- think of it as your own private estate to explore. York city centre is only 8 miles away, so you can relax in the countryside whilst also being within easy striking distance of a city.  

Live in luxury…

Middlethorpe is an historic hotel
(C) National Trust Images / Chris Lacey
We’ve talked about the town, and the country, but this historic hotel is in a league of its own.

The 4 star Middlethorpe Hotel and Spa is a double-time winner of the Visit York Awards, including Hotel of the Year and Restaurant of the Year. Located only 2 miles from the centre of York and next to York Racecourse, this William and Mary historic hotel also boasts 20 acres of gardens and parkland. It has been decorated in an 18th century style, and the furnishings of paintings and antiques make it feel more like a manor house than a hotel. Treat yourself and relax with the help of a swimming pool, sauna and a range of spa treatments. It might be old, but that does not prevent modern amenities such as Wi-Fi and flat screen TVs being present in every room.

So don’t just visit the National Trust this Summer, stay with us for a holiday. 
Visit Treasurer's House this Summer
(C) National Trust Images / Nick Meers

National Trust places to visit within…


Friday, 5 June 2015

Celebrating National Volunteers' Week

A group of volunteers enjoying a day out

This week (from 1st- 7th June) is National Volunteers' week, so we’re taking this opportunity to celebrate the contribution of our wonderful volunteers at Beningbrough Hall. The National Trust is a charity, and we really rely on the skills, time and passion that our volunteers bring, without them we couldn’t make our places so special. 
There are lots of ways to get involved at Beingbrough, from room guides to gardeners and learning support to marketing. There are lots of good reasons to volunteer at Beningbrough, like learning new skills, making new friends and improving your CV. But I won’t just sit here and dictate- I’ll let some our dedicated volunteers do the talking…

Laurence- a room guide volunteer

Room guide volunteers at Beningbrough Hall
 What made you want to start volunteering?
I took an early retirement, and went on a course that got me thinking about what I wanted to do for the rest of my life- I felt like I still had something to offer. I’ve always loved the National Trust, and it’s great as I can fit it around my railway volunteering.

Why Beningbrough?

There is so much depth here in the house as there are so many different stories to explore, for example the people that lived here, their lifestyles, the furniture and the stories that you pick up from visitors are really interesting. I‘ve had a few people who remember how the house was under Lady Chesterfield (the last person to live in Beningbrough, she was here from 1917 until her death in 1957).

What do you like about being a room guide?

I like trying to give something that I always enjoyed when I looked around places like Beningbrough- that is giving somebody an unusual story that they maybe didn’t expect. I get a great sense of satisfaction when a visitor says thank you, I didn’t actually know that. 

Tony- a Parkland and learning volunteer

At Beningbrough you can volunteer in more than one role
What have you been doing today?

Today I have dressed up as a Butler. Today we were helping bring Beningbrough to life for a group of school children. Everyone was dressed just like Victorian children or servants would have- the children love it.

So you do two different volunteering roles?

I started out just volunteering in the Parkland, generally tidying and helping out, but a few weeks ago I was asked if I wanted to help out the learning support team. They asked me if I would consider becoming a butler for the day (apparently I looked like I’d make a good one) to help out with the school group, and after a bit of thinking I decided that it would be fun to try something different.

So you enjoyed volunteering today at Beningbrough?

Well yes, I’m coming back again tomorrow!

Barbara- an office admin volunteer (on the far right!)

Staff and volunteer social events at Beningbrough

What kind of things do you do in the office?

I assist with general office tasks, for example sending out complimentary vouchers, collating comments and feedback cards, and organising group bookings.

What made you want to volunteer?

I had previously worked for the trust and thought it was an excellent organisation. I had also previously worked in admin, so I had the skills and the time to help out. I had visited Beningbrough before, and thought it was a beautiful property. 

What do you like most about volunteering?

It’s a really friendly atmosphere here at Beningbrough and I like being able to help out in a small way.

Tim- a volunteer gardener

There are lots of volunteer gardeners at Beningbrough Hall

 So how did you get into volunteering at Beningbrough?
I’d always loved gardening and I was a member of the National Trust. When I retired I had more time, and I liked the idea of volunteering as a gardener at Beningbrough because there’s a lot more variety of tasks than in my back yard at home. There’s also not as much pressure as working on a full time job, as you can just get on with the tasks that you’re given, and do as much or as little as you want, it’s much more relaxed.

So what kind of tasks do you do?

It’s mainly things like planting, pruning and tidying, just like a normal garden but on a much larger scale. I have worked on the Parkland in the past, but now we have a separate team of volunteers who deal with that.

 Hopefully this will have inspired you to think about volunteering for Beningbrough and the National Trust. We can be really flexible here, you can come as often as you want and do as much or as little as you like, you can even try out two different roles to get really stuck in. Don’t worry if you don’t really want to be front of house either, there are plenty of things that need doing behind the scenes (that’s where I like to be!).

A massive thank you to all the volunteers who gave up their time to be interviewed! 

Tweet #VolunteersWeek to @NTBeningbrough to share your volunteer stories

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.