NT Goddards House and Gardens
Oh but it's been a lovely week. Writing jobs have been ticked off. Plans are under way for some cracking Yorkshire collaborations. I've met some fantastic blogger friends and had long, fun chats with some like minded souls. And I've discovered that I am so much more productive when I'm not in the house, so I've been relocating every now and again to my favourite cafe to do some writing. It's good for my husband and I to get more time together too. After years of juggling shifts and childcare, we now have the freedom to do more things that interest us (without an almost-teenager complaining about everything under the sun - 'it's not fair................' being the most commonly uttered phrase round these parts).
On Friday we headed to the next place I wanted to visit with our National Trust Membership - Goddards House and Gardens in York. Originally built in the 1920s by Noel Terry , the owner of the Terrys Chocolate Company, it's a spectacular Arts and Crafts style family home. Finding it proved slightly tricky however. We didn't see a single sign for it anywhere on the approach to York whereas other National Trust sites are usually clearly marked on the brown tourist signs. Thankfully I'd put the postcode into my phone and we were able to get to it but it's not obvious at all and you have to keep your eyes peeled for the small sign outside the archway. You walk down a simply stunning, long tree-lined avenue to the front entrance where you are immediately greeted by the NT volunteers. And they were fantastic. So welcoming, full of enthusiasm and they know every detail on the family, the business and of course, the house.
Each room is preserved much as it was when the family lived there. Although not every room is open to the public, there are plans for more to be accessible in the near future. We were greatly impressed with the Drawing Room, where you are positively encouraged to sit on the sofa, partake of a sherry and even play backgammon. There is a tearoom in what was once the Terry family dining room which is small and fills up with customers quickly. It looked lovely but we didn't stop for tea this time. There is lots of information about the chocolate business too, and particularly impressive are the old chocolate boxes, stunning in their design. For me the best thing in the house were the details, especially the wallpapers. The upstairs hall in particular is incredible with it's botanical pattern which I'm pretty sure was all printed by hand. And then I saw the most beautiful paper, only one strip next to a door. A flower and bird motif in the softest shades of pink and blue, it was a little torn and faded in places but still utterly charming. The Trust have painted the doors next to it in a glorious teal colour and the walls in a mustard shade which makes the wallpaper stand out even more.
And then to the gardens. Always my favourite part of visiting a National Trust property. It did not disappoint. Snowdrops and daffodils, blossom starting to open on the flowering cherry trees. The scented hedging of Sarcococca confusa permeating the air as you pass it, several fish ponds and a lawn for croquet. The original glasshouse is spectacular and still in use by the gardening team today. I loved being in there photographing the old pots and new seedlings. The light was glorious. At the bottom of the garden lies York racecourse and during the racing season it must be quite a view. Kids can go pond dipping in the autumn as there are several places devoted to wildlife and I noticed a giant set of dominoes to take outside too. In the summer the terrace area will be lined with a lavender hedge and the windows in the house surrounded by wisteria (you can see the dried branches in the picture above. It's going to look stunning. You can also take tea on the terrace or even better than that, a gin and tonic. Bring it on.