Harewood House and the Great British Food Festival

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Photo: Olivia Brabbs

Sitting in miles of stationary traffic on a bank holiday Monday isn’t exactly my idea of time well spent. Especially when, arriving at the destination, things look a bit underwhelming.

This was the Great British Food Festival at Harewood House. An event that I had blithely assumed would involve great food and a festive atmosphere (going by the name). But in reality was more like the food section of a music festival i.e. some half-decent mobile catering vans and very long queues.

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African goat curry – one of the more interesting options

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In fairness, there was also a Men vs Food contest, a bake off competition and some farmer’s market type food tents but nothing that warranted an entrance fee. Where was the dim sum, I wondered? And why are all the food vans using fake white bread rolls you could screw up into a ball in your hand?

Fortunately the entrance fee included access to the grounds of Harewood (usually £10 for an adult anyway) so it wasn’t a completely bum deal. We headed over to the terrace gallery and café for tea and cake, looking out over the landscaped parklands and enjoying the few moments the sun managed to fight its way through cloud.

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The Georgian grade I listed house was built from 1759-1971 and is one of the Treasure Houses of England, still owned by the Lascelles family. My memories of inside the house are a bit vague – last time I went in I was too young to care about the guided tour and just wanted to get to the adventure playground. But beyond the swings and slides there’s over 100 acres of gardens ensconced in the majestic landscape of the estate designed by Capability Brown. My favourites are the the Himalayan Garden and the tropical bird garden. I’ve also found out there 12th century castle is hiding somewhere in the grounds too.

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Beautiful photograph of the grounds swathed in mist. Photo credit: Robert Kay

Beautiful photograph of the grounds swathed in mist. Photo credit: Robert Kay

 

I’ve been for a picnic by the lake in recent years and going back the other day was a lovely reminder of what is on my doorstep, (food festival or no food festival).

 

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View of the house from the edge of the estate

Harewood House

LS17 9LQ

0113 218 1010

Grounds and gardens open everyday until 2nd November 2014

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