Historic Houses Yorkshire: Burton Constable Hall

Burton Constable Hall in East Yorkshire has been home to the Constable family for over 400 years. Three hundred acres of parkland, designed by Capability Brown, surround the fine Elizabethan country house.

Burton Constable Hall Rear View
Burton Constable Hall – Rear View

Our visit to Burton Constable Hall was in mid-June, as the coronavirus lockdown was being eased.

Unfortunately the Hall itself was still closed, as was part of the Stable Block, but the extensive grounds were open, giving great views back to the Hall, particularly from across the lake.

The site had been prepared for social distancing both at the entrance and throughout the grounds.

However on the showery afternoon when we visited, there were very few visitors, so no difficulty in that regard. The toilets were open and drinks and snacks were available on a  takeaway basis with carefully organised queuing.

Burton Constable Hall is one of several outstanding stately homes in Yorkshire that are included in Historic Houses free-to-members category. Recently we reported on another, Burton Agnes Hall and Gardens, 20 miles to the north.

Capability Brown's Bridge
Capability Brown Bridge

Burton, by the way, is from Old English meaning ‘fortified farmstead’  and indeed the history of Burton Constable goes back a very long way. Earthworks on the site of the 13th Century deserted village of Burton Constable can be seen along one of the parkland walks.

Burton Constable Hall

We very much look forward to visiting the Hall on a future occasion and seeing its 18th and 19th Century interiors and its Cabinet of Curiosities.

Another curiosity is a sperm whale skeleton, 58 feet long. This is from a whale that was stranded on the nearby north sea coast in 1825. It is mentioned in Herman Melville’s famous novel Moby-Dick, published in 1851. The skeleton can be viewed in the Great Barn.

The Stable Block is well worth a visit, when it is reopened, as it gives an insight into the lives of Victorian grooms and stable boys.

STOP PRESS: We have just learned that the Hall and part of the Stable Block, including the Great Barn, will reopen for limited numbers from July 4th. 

The Gardens

Small Gardens around the Hall
Small Gardens around the Hall

There are small gardens around the Hall and an attractive Orangery building, containing lemon trees.

An 18th Century walled garden is situated some distance from the Hall at the far side of the lake. It was closed when we visited, although looking through the gates, it seemed to be in a rather run-down condition.

So I wouldn’t recommend Burton Constable Hall for garden enthusiasts – rather visit nearby Burton Agnes Hall and Gardens.

The Parkland

What this site doesn’t have to offer in the way of gardens, is largely made up for with its extensive parkland.

We followed the Woodland Walk, which stretches south from the Hall for almost half a mile through an avenue of mighty oak trees, before turning west towards the serpentine lake, with its Capability Brown bridge.

Oak Trees along the Woodland Walk
Oak Trees along the Woodland Walk

The lake itself provided some great reflective scenes, enhanced by water lilies and various geese and ducks.  However the panorama was spoiled to some extent by the holiday village on the far side of the lake. At the north end of the lake is the Menagerie building, but that is closed to visitors.

We walked directly back to the Hall from the bridge, covering about 3 miles in total.

Other parkland walks include a 2 mile Wildlife Sculpture Trail, which would particularly appeal to children, and shorter East Park and Winter walks, the latter around the site of the deserted village.

None of the walks involve any gradients, although walks across to the lake are over fairly uneven farmland that could be muddy after extensive rain.

Entry to Burton Constable Grounds is £6.35 for adults and £5.70 for over 65s. When the Hall is open, entry is about £4 extra. See Historic Houses for our special £5 discount offer on annual and gift membership which gives free entry to over 300 heritage sites.

See also: Historic Houses versus National Trust – Which to join?

Additional Photographs

Burton Constable Hall Front View
Burton Constable Hall – Front View
Burton Constable Hall Side View
Burton Constable Hall – Side View
The Orangery
The Orangery
View towards the Menagerie
View towards the Menagerie

POSTED 29th JUNE 2020 by STEVE HANSON. The photographs were taken by BARBARA HANSON.