On Thursday 18th November, Hand In Hand Activities CIC once again ventured out with McChadwick and the Happy Wanderers group to visit the Harewood House Festive Fair at Harewood in Leeds.

The group were collected at 10am outside of Grays Road Institute and were promptly on the way to the spectacular house and gardens dating back to 1759. The drive along the A19 and A1(M) to Harewood was quiet and we passed through some beautiful villages once we left the motorway.

PICTURE: Harewood House entrance gift wrapped

Once we had arrived at the House, a little after 11:30am, and safely parked McChadwick near the trees she he could be at one with nature, we made our way to… you’ve guessed it… the cafe so that we could have our lunch! We were a little bit early, as lunch wasn’t served until 12noon, so we made the most of the teas, coffees and hot chocolate drinks available while we waited to make our lunch order. The kitchen had run out of soup, so we all had sandwiches which we enjoyed before dashing to the main entrance of the House for a tour of the historic rooms at little before 1pm.

The rooms were all dressed for Christmas, with a variety of visual and audio effects to add to the ambience. There were projections onto screens and onto the ceiling and Christmas trees were everywhere! The rooms looked fantastic and we were particularly taken with the library/study – the book-lined walls really were true to the class and the period and the lit fire looked like a cosy place to sit and enjoy a good book.

Once we had thoroughly explored the house, and spent our money in the gift shop, we made our way to the manicured gardens to take in the views across the Harewood estate and the beauty of the house overlooking the gardens. After which, we made our way down to the courtyard for the festive fair for what we hoped would be a spot of Christmas shopping.

Sadly, the Christmas fair wasn’t quite what we had in mind. The stalls weren’t remotely festive – Gin, cheese, sea glass jewellery, sweets, cakes, art work, jams and chutneys but one or two of the Happy Wanderers did make the most of the opportunity to indulge in a spot of Gin tasting before making our way back to McChadwick for the drive home.

Overall, it was a lovely day out. It is always a pleasure visiting and exploring new places and to see the house dressed for Christmas was definitely worth the trip. However, we won’t be in a hurry to arrange a trip for the festive fair again as it didn’t live up to expectations.

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Sharon Mitchinson · November 30, 2021 at 4:31 pm

This trip i was looking forward to & was a nice day out out in beautiful countryside. The Hall was beautifully decorated with trees & decorations & told a story as we walked through. Lunch in the cafe in the Hall was ok but soup ran out before we ordered so could have been better. The Christmas Market was a little disappointing as only a few stalls but we enjoyed gin & cake & sweets as gifts. It was time to leave after another hot drink & cake to warm us up. A good day out.

Joyce Peacock · November 30, 2021 at 5:20 pm

I a lovely day with good company and plenty to see.

Janet Little · November 30, 2021 at 9:23 pm

Really enjoyed the trip to Harewood House. Nice to explore somewhere different. Good company too. Alison our excellent driver and host looked after us well. Thanks Alison for organising the trip.

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