The Arts Society Wensleydale visit Newby Hall.

Newby Hall outing 

If you were organising an outing for the Arts Society, you would be keen for all the arrangements to run smoothly.  Imagine the nightmare scenario if, on the day of the trip, the only road to the place of the visit was closed for resurfacing.  No advance warning, no alternative route, no way of letting people know before they came across the road closed signs.

This was the problem that faced Ros as the organiser of the trip to Newby Hall. But she kept her cool and handled the whole thing with aplomb.  After an hour of driving round in circles most people did manage to pluck up the courage to ignore the closure signs and intrepidly press on to reach the Hall.  And calmed and soothed by Ros, the frustration and stress was soon forgotten as we explored the delights of the Hall and the beautiful grounds.

We had not only one but two guides who shared the privilege of taking us round the house.  Their knowledge of the history of the house, the family and the amazing art works was truly impressive. And they had a fund of anecdotes and stories which kept us well entertained.  Did you know that origin of something “costing an arm and a leg” is thought to come from the fact that having a full body portrait of yourself (ie with arms and legs)was much more expensive than just a painting of your head. 

We saw marbles from ancient Rome, goodies collected from various Grand Tours, mirrors that at the time were larger than any others previously made and cost a small fortune.  But the Hall has a very homely feel and I’d be quite happy to live there, given the chance and provided someone else paid the bills.

The gardens were an absolute delight and blessed with fine weather we wandered at will, admiring and exclaiming.  It was quite a struggle to tear ourselves away in order to visit the dolls’ house museum and the teddy bear exhibition, but both were amazing and repaid the sacrifice.  If you’re looking for somewhere to entertain the grandchildren, Newby Hall is the place to go.  But the best bit of the whole trip was the adventure playground, where some of us let our inner child run riot.

(Review and photo of Newby Hall by Elizabeth Bedford)