Spring opening of Goldsborough Hall gardens that boast royal connections

On the eastern slope of a gentle hill overlooking fields and a wooded park, you could be forgiven for believing you are far way from urban hustle and bustle.

The Grade II listed Goldsborough Hall near Knaresborough.

Goldsborough is serenely nestled at a convenient juncture, just two miles outside of Knaresborough, a similar distance from the A1 and a little further from Harrogate, yet it enjoys designation as a conservation area because of its special character.

It has a primary school that draws pupils from surrounding villages, a country pub, The Bay Horse, dating back to 1600 and a 13th century church, but it is perhaps best known for Goldsborough Hall.

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It was built in 1625 for Sir Richard Hutton, the acting Lord Chief Justice, but come the 1920s the Hall was the residence of Princess Mary, the Queen’s aunt, who lived here after her marriage to Viscount Lascelles, later the 6th Earl of Harewood.

The Hall remained in the ownership of the Lascelles family until 1951 before becoming a school, then a private house, followed by a nursing home, before again becoming a private house in 2005 when it was take on by current owners, Clare and Mark Oglesby.

The Hall stands in 12 acres of pristinely landscaped grounds that boast elevated views over its historic gardens and parkland, but a lot of work has gone into restoring its splendour. When the Oglesbys bought the Hall some 13 years ago, it was derelict and they had a huge restoration task on their hands.

As well as making the Hall their family home, since 2006, the couple have hosted weddings and functions, and they offer five-star accommodation and dining by appointment.

Mrs Oglesby said: “We are Royalists and enjoy the history of it. It is a really great thing to do to open the curtains every morning and look out onto open parkland.”

Since 2010, the couple have held open events for the public to visit the gardens as part of the National Garden Scheme. The next opening is on Sunday, April 8 from 12noon to 4pm. Entry is £5 for adults, free for children and dogs on leads are welcome. Proceeds will go to Marie Curie Cancer Care and neighbouring St Mary’s Church.

“Princess Mary opened the gardens three times and in July we will be celebrating the 90th year of the gardens being opened,” Mrs Oglesby said.

Expect a riot of colour if you pay a visit next month. There are 50,000 daffodils planted beneath the quarter-mile Lime Tree Walk where some of the trees were planted by King George V and Queen Mary.

The gardens also have a copse of Japanese cherry trees, given to Princess Mary as a wedding gift by the Emperor of Japan and 120ft-long herbaceous borders.

The gardens open again in the summer, on Sunday, July 22.