Sledmere House is a stately home located in the North of the East Riding. It is in the Yorkshire Wolds, between Malton and Driffield. Sledmere House is the archetypal English country house – owned by a baronet, it boasts a huge library and a large park designed by Capability Brown.
The house was built in 1751 by the Sykes family, who still owns it. It replaces an older medieval structure. The two lateral wings were added at the end of the 18th century. They have large Venetian windows which contrast with the older central part. A fire destroyed much of the interior in 1911, but instead of demolishing the gutted house, the owners decided to restore it to its original splendour. A lot of furnishing – and also books from the library – had been saved during the fire by thowing them through the windows.
The restoration was completed in 1919, and each room was carefully recreated. Nowadays, the house can be visited by guided tours only. On the ground floor visitors can see the great hall and its stairs, the dining room which contains many family portraits, the boudoir, the drawing room, and a small room decorated with old pictures of horses owned by the family.
Upstairs, visitors are taken through the nursery, a bedroom and its Victorian bathroom, and the lavish library. The latter could have well been used as a location for one of the Harry Potter movies. It is simply huge, with guilded shelves up to the ceiling and a collection of old globes and confortable armchairs in the middle of the room. The Georgian ceiling is fabulous. The visit ends downstairs in a curious room, which is supposed to be a replica of an Istanbul mosque. It is also possible to see the chapel.
The estate comprises large stables which are still in use. There, visitors can see some Shire horses, a typical English breed noted for its size. These horses are sometimes employed in films and series, such as the Peaky Blinders series. There are also chicken, rabbits, pigs and sheep which all belong to British breeds.
The park, designed by Capability Brown in the 18th century, has retained its original appearance. It is organised around a water basin; and the eye meets a folly on the horizon. The grounds also include a walled garden which is rather unusual for it is octagonal in shape. It contains many flower beds.
Sledmere House is closed in winter and it is only opened every other day the rest of the year. Full-price admission is at £9.50 (see the website). The house is located in the village of Sledmere, which is served by the unfrequent 135 buses from Driffield (on weekdays only).