I have just returned home after a short trip to visit my friend Jill in the Yorkshire Dales, England so thought I share a few highlights with you. It's a beautiful part of the country, rich in history, gardens, quaint pubs, and breathtaking scenery.
Set in the grounds of Ripley Castle, the Ripley Show is a traditional, family-friendly Country Fair. From sheep dog trials to heavy horses, heirloom sheep to Highland cattle, competitions for the best vegetables and cakes – this had it all. It was really a lovely day out.
The castle itself is the family home of Sir Thomas Ingilby and his wife Lady Emma. Does that name sound familiar? Downtown Abbey fans may have heard Lady Grantham mention Lady Ingilby's pearls in one episode. "My wife, the current Lady Ingilby, nearly fell off her seat," exclaimed Sir Thomas. Hollywood aside, Sir Thomas and Lady Emma were seen at the show presenting ribbons to the winners of several competitions.
A very special private garden
A strange coincidence led to this visit. My friend had been invited to attend a sketching morning here and asked permission for me to accompany her, knowing I would enjoy the garden. What Jill didn't know was that this was in fact one of the private gardens I will be taking a tour group to next year so I was delighted to get a preview and meet the remarkable 90 year-young owner. Pamela has lived in the magnificent 17th century manor house all her life and is both a keen and knowledgeable gardener. Walled gardens with extensive views across the Yorkshire Dales frame deep herbaceous borders, yet there is so much more to explore including a water garden, a rose garden with a unique asymmetrical pergola, and a productive vegetable garden.
Parcevall Hall Gardens
Described as a plantsman's garden, Parcevall Hall Gardens exceeded my expectations. A woodland walk leads through an extensive rhododendron collection which will be in full bloom when we visit next year but in mid-summer offered a respite from the sunshine and glimpses of the countryside beyond. Crossing a wide lawn we began to climb a little higher, passing through deep herbaceous borders to reach a series of terraced gardens that run parallel to the Hall itself. Each terrace offered a new garden experience and ever better views – it was truly beautiful.
RHS Harlow Carr
No visit to Harrogate is complete without a visit here. And no visit to RHS Harlow Carr is complete without a Fat Rascal at Betty's tea shop!
Despite heavy wind and rains that had wreaked havoc across the area just a week or so earlier, the gardens looked magnificent.
Jill has two gorgeous golden retrievers who took us on walks each day – possibly the best way to see the countryside.
Villages and Pubs
Country pubs are a way of life in England, many dating back several centuries. In the interest of "research" we made sure to visit a few!
Join us next year!
If you would like to experience England – be our guest next year. Although the tour "Secret Gardens, Iconic Estates and Medieval Tales of Yorkshire and Derbyshire" is currently full we are taking just a couple of names for our waiting list. Read the itinerary and apply to join us.