Sun shines on Leeds estate as May Day celebrations take to life

Skipping racing during the May Day celebrations at Lotherton Hall, Aberford.  Picture Bruce Rollinson
Skipping racing during the May Day celebrations at Lotherton Hall, Aberford. Picture Bruce Rollinson
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Smiling families made the most of the spring sun through traditional May Pole dancing and a host of activities during Lotherton Hall’s annual May Day celebrations.

Hundreds of people including couples and families, young and old, stopped by at the Edwardian house and country estate, near Aberford, to enjoy picnics, facepainting, crafts and children’s games during its May Day party today.

On what was a bright and breezy afternoon, the green grounds of the historic estate were dotted with feasting families, prams, party balloons and footballs.

Seacroft mum Jenny Mitchell popped along to the sun-drenched estate with her husband, mother-in-law and two-year-old daughter who was given a May Day facepaint makeover as a tiger.

The 30-year-old call centre worker said: “We come here a few times a year and we always go to the bird garden. We’ve really liked the activities for the children, my daughter’s had a great time – she’s shattered now.”

Garforth pensioner David Starkey, 77, was at Lotherton Hall with his family and young grandchildren.

“It’s breezy but it’s dry, you can’t expect much more in Leeds,” he said. “The grandchildren are enjoying it as well, they’re season ticket holders.”

Along with a range of outdoor activities, which included a children’s sack race, croquet and giant chess, the estate saw visitors enjoy its two play areas, a deer park, bird garden, shops and stables, a gift shop and cafe.

A May procession and music from the Sharp Intake Jazz Band also entertained families.

Some visitors had travelled from further afield to visit the historic estate. Wayne Potter, a 33-year-old teacher, travelled up from Doncaster with his young family, having visited as a child himself many years ago.

Overseeing his eight-year-old daughter on the May Pole, he said: “We’ve had a picnic and have been enjoying the weather and taking part in some of the events. We plan on going to the bird garden as well.

“It’s nice to see lots of families here taking part and enjoying the day.”

The estate has an orchard which is home to 200 trees producing English apples, while the house itself hosts collections of fine and decorative arts and a dedicated fashion gallery.

Lotherton Hall has more events planned for families this month including a teddy bear trail from May 24 to June 1, and a teddy bears’ picnic on May 28.

For more information visit or call 0113 3782959.


Lotherton Hall has been home to a number of prominent families during its history including the Nevilles, de Hothams and latterly the Gascoignes from 1825.

During the First World War the hall was used as a Voluntary Aid Detachment hospital, and it was presented for public access to Leeds in 1968 by Sir Alvary Gascoigne and his wife, last of the Gascoigne family, whose roots were at nearby Parlington Hall.

It was extensively rebuilt during the Victorian and Edwardian eras and hosts a collection of art amassed since the 18th Century.

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