Days out in Yorkshire: Harewood House, Leeds

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After the success of Downton Abbey, huge and historic houses have been thrown back into the spotlight.

The heritage, opulence and stories of the past are providing a real draw for tourists - but this is something the estate at Harewood House have known for a long time.

Many people actually believe that Harewood was an inspiration for parts of Downton Abbey, and understandably so.

As the windy drive curves around the corner and unveils the massive mansion, you know you’ve arrived.

The main house is full of treasures and most of it is laid out as it would be when the house was in its prime.

The grounds are another attraction in themselves, not least the huge bird garden.

The aviaries are the bird equivalent of penthouse living and some of the best around. It’s tempting to move in.

The stars have to be the penguins. They have their own area and diving pool and are extremely playful. They’ve just welcomed a newborn into the family too.

A ground level window gives you a great underwater view, perfect for the kids.

Speaking of which, the grounds are also home to a huge outdoor play area - this is serious play stuff.

Tunnels, frames, zip wires and high slides will burn off all that excess energy kids seem to have in abundance.

Throw in a few major gigs - most recently Sir Cliff Richard - and events like drive-in cinema and you’ve got a cracking day out.

And if you travel by bus, keep your tickets as you can grab half price admission.

FACTFILE

Price: Adults £14/£10, children £7/£6, under 4 free, family tickets available (see website)

Opening Times: 10am to 5/6pm

Address: Leeds/|Harrogate Road, Harewood, Leeds

Car Parking: On site

Website: www.harewood.org

Telephone: 0113 218 1010

Sat NAv: LS17 9LQ

For more days out see: www.yorkshire.com

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