Things to see and do

Things To See and Do

Grand Grecian Hall

Go indoors and immerse yourself in the architecture of ancient Greece in Belsay's Greek-revival mansion. Inspired by a honeymoon trip to Athens, the unfurnished Pillar Hall is at the centre of the house. Wander through the closely spaced ionic columns and enjoy the beautifully light atrium.

Explore the family bedrooms with their original fireplace grates and spectacular views of the magnolia terrace. Wallpaper from the 1800s still hangs with its original floral prints.

The hall was built from rock carved from Belsay's very own quarry. The Middleton family lived in a Jacobean mansion wing of the castle, before they moved into the newly built Belsay Hall on Christmas Day in 1817.

Enchanting Gardens

Lose yourself in the vast 40 acre Grade I listed gardens. Follow through ravines cut out of rock to discover the jurassic-feeling Quarry Garden. Inspired by Sir Charles Monck's travels, the Quarry Garden has its own microclimate which means all sorts of exotic plants grow here.

We have one of the biggest collection of rhododendrons in the country. You'll find winter flowering varieties in the Quarry Garden and a stunning display in the Rhododendron Garden during late spring.

Enjoy year-round seasonal interest in the formal Yew Garden and Magnolia Terrace. And if you're feeling energetic why not take the Crag Wood Walk?

Medieval Castle

Power up 56 spiral stairs to marvel at the view from the top of the 14th-century defensive 'pele tower' at the top of the ruined medieval castle. The castle was built as a refuge at a time of Anglo-Scottish warfare but it was also designed to impress.

Explore the maze of rooms and keep your eye out for rare traces of elaborate medieval wall paintings. In the manor house style wing you can still see the old cooking range and fireplaces.

The whole ensemble here is the creation of the Middleton family over more than seven centuries. The estate was owned almost continuously by the family from the 13th century, when Sir Richard de Middleton was Lord Chancellor to King Henry III.

Tea and lemon cake in the Victorian tearoom at Belsay Hall

Victorian Tearoom

Once you've worked up a hunger from all of that exploring make your way to the tearoom, in the hall's original kitchen.

We serve hot lunches and lighter bites like soups, sandwiches and sweet treats. There are hot and cold drinks to quench your thirst too. Our stotties really are the star of the show - we recommend trying the bacon and blue cheese.

Lots of our ingredients are locally sourced and our scones are made right here in the kitchen by our chef. Highchairs are available if needed.

The Yellow Wallpaper

Until 16 Sept, follow the solitary voice of Turner Prize winning artist Susan Philipsz as you explore the rooms of the hall. Inspired by The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman and the Border Ballads, this new sound-based installation evokes a mysterious atmosphere within the empty rooms.

Take in the dark lyrics of The Unquiet Grave as you wander the library and first floor rooms, and listen out for voices emanating from the chimney flues. Then make your way to the cellar to hear The Shallow Sea. The spectral overlapping sound of Philipsz's voice reinforces a sense of 'unquiet'.

Philipsz is interested in the relationship between sound and architecture. This is the first time she has created a new work for a historic building.

The Yellow Wallpaper has been commissioned by English Heritage, with funding from Arts Council England, and the Arts and Humanities Research Council. The work forms part of Mapping Contemporary Art in the Heritage Experience. Image credit: Colin Davison.
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