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Doncaster

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There is something almost mystical when it comes to visiting historical landmarks such as castles. 

Spread across the UK, they are stamps of the British history and have survived many years and, luckily, many have the protection in place to survive many more years to come, preserving this step back into medieval times for our children and grandchildren. 

Conisbrough lies in South Yorkshire, standing proud above the River Don, rising from a limestone and clay hill and is a prime example of a well preserved and protected part of history. 

Parts of the floor and roof have been restored recently to provide visitors protection from the elements and to re-ignite the real feel of the 12th century building as well as a brand new visitor centre, making this one impressive landmark which is worth a visit from anywhere in the UK.

This is another English Heritage site, one of many of across the country – which you need to visit and explore.

A Brief History of Conisbrough Castle

The walls. Conisbrough Castle is a medieval fortification in Conisbrough, South Yorkshire, England. The castle was initially built in the 11th century

Conisbrough Castle is believed to have originally begun as a motte and bailey design around 1070 by William de Warenne who was the son-in-law of William the Conqueror and the acting first Earl of Surrey.

What we see that stands there today was built by the man that Warenne’s great-granddaughter, Isabel, married. 

Known as Hamelin Plantagenet, he was the half-brother of Henry II, and both Isabel and Hamelin visited Conisbrough on a regular basis.

Hamelin built the stone keep which, based on its style, has been dated to the 1170’s or 1180’s and later in 1189, they created a chaplain at the castle. 

It was noted that the work done by Hamelin was of unusual and advanced design for the time, and the stone he used was of high quality, which is maybe why the castle stands proudly still till this day.

Over the years, the castle fell into the hands of many royal officials including Thomas, the Earl of Lancaster and Richard of Conisbrough and his wife, who later remained in the castle till her death as his widow. 

Between 1446-1538, the use of the castle had ceased and had become almost ruinous, which in fact worked in its favour, as it meant it avoided damage during the English Civil War.

Prices

Like the majority of English Heritage sites, if you are a member you can access for free.

WITHOUT
GIFT AID
WITH
GIFT
AID
Member – Join nowFreeFree
Adult£5.90£6.50
Child (5-17 years)£3.50£3.90
Concession£5.30£5.90
Family (2 adults, up to 3 children)£15.30£16.90
Overseas Visitor Pass
(9 or 16 days unlimited)
Buy now

Prices are valid from 1 April 2018 to 29 March 2019.

Famous in Fiction

Conisbrough Castle has achieved world wide fame thanks to a beautiful novel written by Sir Walter Scott, titled Ivanhoe. 

Sir Walter Scott wrote many novels, yet Ivanhoe was easily the most popular one written. 

It has been made into plays, dramas and movies with some of the most famous actors and actresses starting out their career featuring in Ivanhoe- the TV series even featured Roger Moore, and to a certain degree, it was this that launched is acting career.

Written in approximately 1820, Sir Walter Scott used Conisbrough as the main setting for this novel. 

He believed it was Anglo Saxon and throughout the book he gives great detail of the layout and set up of the castle, which presented the castle so beautiful and dramatic as it once stood; the perfect setting for a love story set in 1194 in Saxon England.

Special Events

Conisbrough Castle Spooktakular

When: Saturday 27th October 2018

Costs: Free

The Keep

The keep is by far the most interesting part of the stronghold and is a must see for all visitors.

The circular keep reaches a staggering 100 feet high and is supported by six buttresses which give it a star shaped cross section

The entrance to the keep is on the first floor accessed via a modern staircase. 

As mentioned earlier, the unique design was innovative to the time and marks an important period in the evolution of castle design, a move that evolved in response to possible new methods of attack including undermining. 

The six large buttresses keeping its strength are solid apart from one that holds the chapel and the staircases are built into the main masonry of the tower.  

It is because of this, that it is one of the finest keeps in England.

The Curtain Wall and Inner Bailey Buildings

The curtain wall was not as well constructed as the keep and consists of cornerstones or quoins at the angles. 

When looking at the castle with a compass, the east, south and west have five small semi-circular mural towers which, although are believed to be contemporary with the wall, they are not well bonded to it.  Upon closer inspection of the wall, it is apparent that the south-west tower may have begun leaning outwards at an early date.  To the north, the curtain wall has no towers as it is here the building has natural defence from the slope of the hill.

The curtain wall was once lined with buildings from every direction apart from the east, yet only remains of these walls survive.  These walls would have created rooms such as halls, service rooms, kitchens and residential chambers, made up of two floors in some areas, the ground floors would have been used for storage or service individuals.

Something Here for Everyone

Thanks to the recent renovations beginning in 1992 and lasting till the castles re-opening in 1995, it now has a great visitor centre and interesting audio-visual displays.  Most parts of the castle can be accessed by visitors including the keep, private chambers and the impressive steep, curving staircases.  Not only can visitors experience the unique and innovative construction styles, there is also the chance to gain an insight into some of the times most interesting characters including Lord Hamelin and Lady Isabel de Warenne.  Animated characters are projected on to the castle walls as you explore the grounds, allowing visitors a special insight into the lives they lived many hundreds of years ago.

The castle is one of Yorkshires most popular tourist attractions and it is easy to see why.    The step back in time can be enjoyed by the whole family, old and young, and the outer grounds including the defences, ditches and banks provide the perfect areas to enjoy picnics and play games. The visitor centre welcomes all to discover more about the history by viewing object displays, digital models and illustrated panels helping bring the castles exciting history back to life.

If you find yourself constantly intrigued about British culture and where we’ve come from across the years, it’s very likely you may already show a keen interest in exploring our various stately homes, halls and places of historical interest. 

One of the most intriguing sites of historical importance is Brodsworth Hall, situated in the heart of South Yorkshire. 

Once home to a Victorian dynasty and largely preserved for visitors to learn more about across the years, Doncaster’s own Victorian time capsule has only been opened up in recent years to show new generations the height of heritage in their area. 

But just what does Brodsworth Hall have in store for visitors once they get there? 

Let’s delve a little bit into the history books and take a closer look.

A Brief History of Brodsworth

Brodsworth Hall in its final state was first built during the 1860s and was home to the Thelluson family for more than a century.  Built for Charles Thelluson in a style similar to that reserved for Queen Victoria, it sits on what is still believed to have once been a route used by Romans to help build Doncaster in ancient times. 

While there is a wider and fascinating history to the Brodsworth estate in general that far predates the Hall’s acquisition by Thelluson, it is this period of the home which largely stands tall today.

Thelluson requested the commission of architect Philip Wilkinson to create an Italianate summer retreat – something of a gentleman’s estate – complete with a full wing for servants to live in! 

The Hall passed into the hands of Thelluson’s sons and onwards through the years, up unto the point where the magnificent Hall and its gardens sadly fell into something of disrepair. 

The last known resident of Brodsworth Hall passed away in 1988 – and since then, it has been the focus of a careful restoration and revival project, only having been well and truly opened up to visitors in recent times.  Therefore, you can now take a trip back in time to see how Victorian gentlemen truly lived – in what remains a fascinating restoration project.

Costs

Let’s cover the costs – this is part of the  and therefore if you have an annual pass you can visit for free (assuming it not a special event – these cost more but see below).

There are so many English Heritage sites to visit, I would highly recommend getting the yearly pass.

                                                                                                                                                                                WITHOUT GIFT AIDWITH GIFT AID
Member – Join nowFreeFree
Adult£11.30£12.50
Child (5-17 years)£6.80£7.50
Concession £10.20£11.30
Family (2 adults, up to 3 children)£29.40£32.50
Overseas Visitor Pass (9 or 16 days unlimited)Buy now

A True Time Capsule

One of the main reasons people flock to Brodsworth Hall lies in the fact that, despite its restoration, there are still plenty of artefacts and facilities which have been kept as-is. 

This means that, while the major sources of disrepair have been attended to over the years, there has been careful attention made to ensure that the effects and marks left here by the Thelluson family and beyond can still be marvelled at to this day. 

It’s a carefully-preserved museum, a true Victorian time capsule – one with enormous ‘grand rooms’ on the ground floor and with other spaces kept in the same fashion and expectations of the day.

From the grand billiard room to the deep and expansive Victorian kitchen – still with cooking range and scullery installed – you can take on a full, guided tour here. 

It is like stepping into a teatime costume drama at times – it really is fascinating to see quite how many items, paintings, flourishes, furnishings and otherwise have been retained here for future generations to appraise and enjoy. 

The house has therefore been kept to the same standards, largely, they were left in since the passing on the home’s final resident, Sylvia Grant-Dalton.  This means that while some decoration and effects have faded or fallen on hard times, they retain a sense of historic majesty – it’s a living museum in the sense that it’s not been created – but left here as it was always intended.

Grandiose Gardens

One of the most attractive features of Brodsworth Hall today remains the incredible gardens which are constantly attended to – offering spectacular floral displays and an intriguing walk through garden artwork and statues throughout the exterior estate, there’s a really romantic feeling here that’s been cultivated with care and passion. 

The summerhouse here has been fully restored for guests to enjoy the gardens in from beyond, and one of the major things to see here lies in the various garden displays which have been crafted in miniature.  It’s a multitude of gardens, floral artwork and ideas all rolled into one spectacular space.

Tantalising Tearoom and Terrace

Brodsworth Hall and Gardens are all about exploring our distant history and learning a little bit more about the world we lived in in centuries gone by. 

After a time, however, you’re going to need some refreshment – so why not head to the Hall’s special tearoom, where you can take in the majesty of the home, gardens and surrounding area from the outdoor terrace? 

There’s traditional Yorkshire food and drink available here for the whole family to sample and enjoy, though you’re also welcome to bring along your own picnic to enjoy in the main gardens – make it a day out to remember any which way you can!

Special Events

Brodsworth Hall is also hosting to several events and exhibitions each year, much of it revolving around specific historical events that took place here – from the origins of the home to the lives of those who lived and worked here, there’s always something new to be unearthed, discovered or learned about here.

It’s therefore always worth keeping an eye on what’s in store here from season to season.

History

They recently had a historian down, dressed from the “Home Guard” teaching the kids about WW2 in the area, letting them use training grenades and marching with wooden rifles.


Haunted Hall Ghost Tours

Did you know Brodsworth Hall us haunted. We dare you to visit for a candlelit ghost tour and hear from spooky stories.

A tourch is highly recommended and is a must for family fun adventure.

Sat 27th, Sun 28th Oct, Sat 3rd, Sun 4th Nov – time 6pm – 7pm.

Price – £5/£3 (£10/£6 for non members)

It’s highly recommend booking in advance.


TorchLight Ghost Tours

Ages 14+

If the above wasn’t scary enough for you, then why not head during the night for a tourch light ghost tour.

Sat 27th Sun 28th Oct, Sat 3rd and Sun 4th Nov – time 7:30pm – 8:30pm

Price – £5/£3 (£10/£6 for non members)

Booking is essential


Spooky Half Term

Head down to Brodsworth hall between Sat 27th October – 4th November (11am – 4pm) for some frighting fun. Hear storeis from the victorian undertaker and find out how spooky and gruesome it was to live in Victorian England.

Price – Free for members. (£11.30/£6.80 for non members)


Santa Clause

Enjoy an Audience with father Christmas. The children with gather round with father christmas and enjoy some tales before having a photo taken with the big man.

There is a gift in store for the young boys and girls.

Sat 1st, Sun 2nd, Sat 8th, Sun 9th December. 10:30am, 11:30am, 12:30pm, 1:30pm and 2:30pm.

Price – Adults free. Children £5 (£8.80/£10.30 for non members).

Booking is highly recommended.


Enchanted Brodsworth

Make the most of the dark evenings, by taking a stroll around the grounds and seeing the place light up. The hall and gardens are transformed into an illuminated world and is a must see.

Follow the trail to discover the garden in a new light, enjoy mulled wine and marshmallows toasting in the courtyard.

Thursday 6th – Sunday 9th December 

Thursday 13th – Sunday 16th December

Thursday 20th – Saturday 22nd December

Time – 4:30pm – 9pm.

Prices – £8/£5/£21 for family ticket (£12/£7.50/£31.60 for family tickets for non members).

Booking is highly essential.


Park for the Kids

This was being updated when we visited, but it was still a nice little park for the kids too play in.

It has a nice couple of picnic benches to have a bite to eat if you don’t fancy the cafe.

Kids Play Park at Brodsworth Hall

Something Here for Everyone

Whether you’re taking in the majestic Hall itself or the glorious gardens, there’s something here for everyone to marvel at and enjoy.  From tranquillity in nature to fascination at the world we’ve come from, Brodsworth Hall is a hidden gem for anyone who may not have visited Doncaster before. 

There’s much more to the grounds, the history and the gardens than we’ve given credit for here – so do make sure you get the whole family invested in a great trip out the next time you are in the vicinity. 

Fascinated about the Victorian era, or just fancy taking an afternoon out for tea on the terrace somewhere authentic?  Come to Brodsworth!

If you are heading to Doncaster – check out why visit Doncaster which contains some great other local attractions.

If you do fancy visiting then you can sign up at the English Heritage site for a year pass – otherwise, you can pay when you arrive.

With the annual pass – it means you can visit multiple times and make use of the all the events which are planned in the coming months.

                                                                                                                                                                                      WITHOUT GIFT AIDWITH GIFT AID
Member – Join nowFreeFree
Adult£11.30£12.50
Child (5-17 years)£6.80£7.50
Concession £10.20£11.30
Family (2 adults, up to 3 children)£29.40£32.50
Overseas Visitor Pass (9 or 16 days unlimited)Buy now