Beningbrough Hall makes a perfect day trip from York by bike. Here’s how to combine gentle exercise with a Georgian mansion, without ending up in a spin.
The route from York to Beningbrough Hall forms part of National Cycle Route 65, which means loads of signposts and minimal chances of getting lost. Hurrah!
You’ll pedal along the banks of the River Ouse from central York (passing under the city walls at Lendal Bridge) on dedicated cycle paths, before joining (mostly) quiet country lanes.
The route is mostly flat, so you don’t need to be King or Queen of the Mountains, or even of the Mild Inclines! The most strenuous it gets is a couple of bridges over the East Coast Mainline railway line.
Happily, the National Trust, who run Beningbrough Hall, are well geared up for cyclists.
There’s a bike rack right next to the entrance, and cyclists can even enter the grounds for free for half an hour – to use the bathrooms, take a quick wander round, and grab all-important refreshments.
Even better, they’ll even throw in a free tea or coffee! Admittedly, it’s more of a “buy a snack, get a free brew” kinda deal, but a flapjack/brownie is practically the law anyway after you’ve spent all that energy, right?
If you want to explore for longer and go in the house itself, you’ll need to buy a ticket. They cost up to £12, depending on the season (more on that a bit later).
Like many of the UK’s grand old houses, you can expect history, grandeur and gardens.
Outside there’s a formal garden with a lawn manicured to an inch of its life, plus the mandatory veggie patch (patch being an under-exaggeration!). Happily, they’re not so precious about the lawn that they won’t let you take a picnic on it.
There’s also parkland with some rather photogenic trees.
In the Hall itself there are super-helpful volunteers, who can give you the lowdown on its previous inhabitants. There’s even 300 china cups to represent the Hall’s 2016 300th anniversary. How can you not love that?
There’s also an affiliation with London’s National Portrait Gallery going on. Great if you’re into portraits, even more so if you don’t mind being a bit silly with the dress-up-as-if-you’re-sitting-for-a-portrait option 😉
Beningbrough Hall was home to Royal Canadian Airforce Servicemen during the Second World War. It’s one of many York attractions with an interesting military history. The Canadians used the nearby airfield as a base for raids over Germany. Many didn’t return, and their stories are told in some of the upstairs room. For me, this was the most captivating (and poignant) part of the house.
If you’re making this day trip from York by bike, wear a helmet and take a lock. Go by car or bus instead if the river is flooded!
Bike Hire is available in York, including at Cycle Heaven at York’s Railway Station. Hire costs are £15 for five hours, or £20 for a full day.
National Cycle Route 65 is well signed. You can also download full details of the route here.
Entrance costs to Beningbrough Hall depend on the season. During the Winter, only the gardens are open, and tickets are cheaper. For full details, see their website.
In the Summer, Beningbrough Hall is open Tuesday-Sunday and the Adult price is £10.80 or £12.00 with gift aid (a scheme that enables tax-effective charitable giving by UK tax payers).
In the Winter, the gardens are open and on weekends only. The Adult price is £6.30 or £7.00 with gift aid.
Children pay half price and family tickets are available.
Prices and information correct 7th June 2016.
If you don’t fancy a bike ride, there are a couple of other options.
However, no bike = no free brew 🙁
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