Burton Agnes Hall, near Driffield, has come a long way since it won the Historic House Association/Christie’s Garden of the Year Award.
That was back in 2005, but instead of sitting on its laurels (sounds painful), it has continued to improve and innovate.
This year there’s already been a classic car rally, this weekend there’s a gardeners’ fair, and come July, thousands of music-lovers will flock to its immensely popular jazz and blues festival.
But it’s the magnificent Elizabethan hall and those beautiful, award-winning gardens which make Burton Agnes Hall stick in the memory.
I have to admit a personal interest – if I had to choose just one garden to recommend to a stranger in Yorkshire, it would be the walled garden at Burton Agnes Hall. It is simply that special, and it’s more a series of gardens than just one amazing spectacle.
Within those walls is something for everyone – thousands of different plant species, herbaceous borders, the national collection of campanulas – and an old walled kitchen garden which since 1989 has been comprehensively developed.
There is also a potager with vegetables, flowers for cutting and herbs, a maze, fruit beds, a jungle garden with large-leaved plants, grasses and bamboos, a campanula garden containing a national collection, a giant knot garden with colour themes divided by trellis instead of hedges and each containing a paved area forming a giant game board.
At the back of the hall there’s now a woodland walk with creepy crawlies to spot, as well giant games for children and adults alike.
Owned by the Burton Agnes Hall Preservation Trust, the gardens surround the famous Elizabethan hall designed by Robert Smythson and which is home to the Hon Mrs Susan Cunliffe-Lister and her son, Simon, and his wife, Olivia.
Call 01262 490324 or visit www.burton-agnes.com
A few miles up the road, there’s another impressive garden.
Sledmere House has its own beautiful 18th-century walled rose garden and stands amid impressive Capability Brown-created parkland, but the highlight lies just behind the house itself – a marvellous recently-created knot garden.
Well worth a visit.
Call 01377 236637 or visit www.Sledmerehouse.com