Mulgrave Castle Open Day April 13th was held with kind permission of the Marquis and Marchioness of Normanby. The gardens are opened at least twice a year to the public and the proceeds of the admission charge are allocated to charity.
This year, although a blustery day, the sun was shining making for a wonderful afternoon walking and browsing through the gardens. There was ample parking on the field on the brow of the hill before the gently walk down to the busy area where admittance to the gardens took place. As is normal, there were tea and coffee available as well as cream teas, a selection of cakes and ices. A book stall was situated opposite with a myriad of different titles where a paperback or a full volume hardback could be purchased for as little as fifty pence. A bric-a-brac stall had some pottery and jewellery, again all the profit went to charity.
The gardens were accessed through a wooded pathway which opened to reveal the splendid sight of the castle and the views inland across the vast lawns and trees. A wonderful display of daffodils and narcissi contrasted with the beautiful cut lawns and the castellated building. Entering the actual gardens through the door way revealed the walled garden with borders and a summer house. Seating, obviously for the owners enjoyment and for entertaining were here but the actual beauty of the gardens lay through another door. The grassed pathways led around a magnificent display of trees, many of whom were in bloom. There was an abundance of magnolia trees in pink and white together with azaleas of varying colour. The blossom of the cherry trees, in simple white and the stark contrast with the purple groundcover was a delight to see. This was a fairly large area to view leading into a forested area. Exiting by yet another door led to the walled gardens sheltering the greenhouses which were off bounds to the public viewing. The greenhouses produce a variety of plants grown specifically for the gardens both here and for the house belonging to the owners in London. In addition to the floral plants and shrubs. salads and fruits including peaches, clementines, figs and dessert grapes are tended in the warm climes behind the glass.
Fountains amid flower beds and small hedges of yew and privet in patterned formation led away from the greenhouses and, in between, were the vegetable patches. Three full-time gardeners tend to the whole gardens throughout the year and certainly do a magnificent job.
In front of the castle, is a long stretch of lawn and forested walkways leading to a castellated wall from which there are wonderful views across the fields to the sea. From here, it is possible to view Whitby and the Abbey.
Mulgrave Castle Open day April 13th was an exceptional day for visiting the grounds of our local castle and well worth a visit. The next opening day is approximately sometime in July.