Beningbrough is a red brick Georgian mansion built in 1716. In the house are paintings from the National Portrait Gallery. The original furniture and paintings were sold to pay death duties. Rich baroque interiors are enhanced by the intricate carved wood door surrounds, staircase, and ceilings. The carving was painted when it was the fashion to do so, but fortunately the last owner had it stripped clean of paint.
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The south lawn, thought to have been a formal garden at one time, was redone as open land to allow for views of the water meadows. In the 1970s formal gardens were added on the east and west ends of the house. In the east garden the colour blue is the theme. Scented lilies and a fountain adorn this garden. The west garden is in the knot garden style with dwarf box hedges and bright low plants.
The walled garden once provided vegetables and fruit for the house. All that is left of the original is the alley of pleached pears (now planted with herbs). There are vines in the glass house dating from the mid 19th century. The walled garden was heated with a series of pipes and flues that run through the hollow walls. Fires were built by the gardeners at night to protect peaches and other fruit subject to frost damage.
The south border and American garden are planted with trees and vines. The double border shows the most colour in the garden with bush roses, irises, peonies, and bulbs. The main border contains hot colours that flow into more subdued ones. There is a Portuguese laurel with a circumference of 258 feet.
The laundry courtyard is planted with iris, globe artichokes, bergenia, and trained on the walls are Morello cherries. Pollarded oriental planes and fruit vines flank the restaurant in the Victorian laundry courtyard.
Extras are a wilderness play area, a potting shed with old garden tools, and a ha-ha surrounding the garden. A conservatory was built c1900 to grow scented flowers.
Beningbrough Hall and Gardens
Beningbrough, York, 3 miles west of Shipton, Yorkshire
Tel. 0 1904 472 027
Open: grounds, shop, restaurant: a few days in Feb (check NT website for exact dates); March-end June, Sep-Oct, Sat-Wed, 11am-5.30pm; July-Aug, Fri-Wed, 11am-5.30pm; Nov-3rd week Dec and second week Jan-end Jan, Sat and Sun, 11am-3.30pm; house, Sep-Oct and March-end June, Sat-Wed, noon-5pm; July-end Aug, Fri-Wed, noon-5pm; galleries open weekends year round
National Trust property; wilderness play area; shop; restaurant; audio guides for house; parking
Exterior Hall and lawn/garden photos by Barbara Ballard; Hall walled gardens by Stephen Robson courtesy the National Trust