Today I went on an outing with four of the five lovely Anderson family, out to Belsay Hall.
Belsay is an estate not far from Newcastle, with a manor house, castle, and gardens, all run by English Heritage. The last time I was there was a number of years ago, when I volunteered to join a civil war-era (I think) reenactment army, and inadvertently volunteered my dear Papa as well. This time there was no army, but lots of sunshine, Anderson-related entertainment, and some beautiful costumes from a few famous Jane Austen film adaptations.
I do rather love visiting country estates, and I certainly wouldn’t mind it if someone were to buy one for me. However, Belsay is a bit of a funny place.
The house is massive and a bit shabby in places, but basically fine, and yet, completely empty. If she were a National Trust house she would be full of tapestries and tables and portraits and the odd antique chaise longue or two, but no. She sits empty, with bare library bookshelves and half-stripped wallpaper in the bedrooms. A little depressing, sure, but in someways, that sad, abandoned look is part of her charm.
In summary: fun day out.