I recently made a visit to Belsay Hall in Northumberland with my friend Ailsa, that's her in the photo above. Ailsa works for English Heritage and loves history and castles as much as me so when she suggested a trip to Belsay I jumped at the chance. Ailsa knew I would like it especially as there is currently a Jane Austen costume exhibition on!
The costumes are the original ones from the most famous Jane Austen films, including the BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice of course and the Emma Thompson and Kate Winslet Sense and Sensibility.
Mr Darcy (Colin Firth) and Elizabeth Bennet's (Jennifer Ehle) wedding outfits from Pride and Prejudice.
Colonel Brandon (Alan Rickman) and Marianne Dashwood's (Kate Winslet) wedding outfits.
Edward Ferrars (Hugh Grant) and Elinor Dashwood's (Emma Thompson) wedding outfits from Sense and Sensibility.
Belsay is quite unlike any English Heritage site I have ever visited! It is such a good day out, there is loads to see! The main house, Belsay Hall is a Greek style mansion built in the early 1800s. Sadly the house is in need of repair now and inside the rooms are empty with very few original features or furnishings left, but some original William Morris wallpaper does remain. Because the hall is now empty it of course makes an excellent exhibition space.
Perhaps the main attraction for most at Belsay are the gardens, they are beautiful and I am so glad I took my camera so I could snap a few pics. I found it quite difficult to choose which pics to post here, so there are quite a few! but look how pretty the flowers are!
Just to prove I was really there, here is me in the quarry garden.
And if all that is not enough to keep you busy Belsay has an actual castle in the grounds!!! It is quite a small castle and you would be forgiven for thinking it is actually a folly, but no it is the original 14th century medieval castle, it seems that the family decided their castle was not big enough and made the hall in the grounds! So the castle is open for visitors to look round too.
I do love a Monkey Puzzle tree, this one was huge.
Do visit belsay if you are in the area, you can read more about the history here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Belsay and find out about the visitor information here http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/daysout/properties/belsay-hall-castle-and-gardens/