Wednesday 6 March 2019

Raising the Curtain on Seaton Delaval Hall - Behind the Scenes with National Trust

AD - This is a paid collaboration with National Trust

Most weekends Simon and I head off on a great adventures with our National Trust membership cards. With some of the country's most beautiful properties and estates on our doorstep we're pretty spoilt for choice when it comes to planning our day trips. But one of our favourite places will be giving us a very different kind of National Trust experience over the next couple of years, are you ready to Raise the Curtain at Seaton Delaval Hall?

Ask Simon and I about Seaton Delaval Hall and we will always tell you the story of the time we visited one Summer simply just to lounge about on the lawn on a particularly hot day.  We spent hours watching the world go by and playing catch, it was the simplest of plans yet it's something that we always look back on so fondly. I think from that day we developed a really special bond with the Estate, it's not the biggest National Trust site in the North East, but it is so special and I know that we're not the only people who feel that way.

Seaton Delaval has been special to the people of Northumberland since the 1700s when the Delavals threw notoriously crazy parties - playing the most ridiculous tricks on their guests, putting on theatrical shows and jaw dropping illusions and even now, hundreds of years later, locals can tell you stories of late night dinner parties in the hall.

So when Seaton Delaval was granted National Lottery Heritage Funding last year it was a great moment for the North East and the generations of families who have enjoyed the Hall and Estate over the years. With the exciting opportunities to not only attract new visitors but to reintroduce the site to its existing friends, Seaton Delaval has just entered a new chapter. Over the next two years The Curtain Rise Project will see some changes happening and, the best part is, we can all get involved.

Over the next two years the project will be focussing on conserving parts of the Estate as well as restoring some of the outside spaces and creating some new elements that are really going to be something to shout about.

I put on my hard hat on a closer look!

Visiting The Hall 

Work is currently being undertaken on the West Wing of the Hall. The furniture that was on display has been put into storage and the wing is being re-roofed as well as having a new paint scheme.

The Central Hall will also be getting some work done with the conservation of the spiral staircase. I must have walked up and down those stairs so many times but never taken the time to properly appreciate how they are built. Each step is individually placed, giving the effect that it is floating unsupported. Absolutely stunning and, as you can imagine, quite a big job to restore.

There will also be new flooring in the Stables and the Basement with new sympathetic lighting schemes introduced to make it easier for guests to get around and highlight some features of the Hall that may have escaped your notice before.

Visiting the Grounds

When we were strolling round the outside of the Hall I quickly realised how much of the Estate I've missed out on. Despite having spent entire afternoons wandering about and lounging on the grass I'd never made it to the end of the Paddocks to see the ha-ha walls and walled garden. Seems I'm not the only person who has never discovered all of the Estate so National Trust will also be restoring the gardens - laying new paths and opening up historic views as well as introducing new planting schemes inspired by the 1781 estate plan.

For more information on each part of the project there's a full time line as well as plans (including the highly anticipated new children's play area!) on display at Seaton Delaval which gives a really clear idea of the planned works and schedule.

Get Involved!

Of course, a big project like this does take time and different parts of the Hall and Estate will be closed at various times whilst works are done. Disruption will be kept to a minimum and although it wont always be possible to access parts of the site that you could before, the project does offer some pretty unique experiences that I think will be great to get involved in.

Viewing platforms will be erected at certain points of the restoration so visitors can take a closer look at the works as they happen and if you really want a good behind the scenes snoop Hard Hat Tours will be available, free of charge, on various dates giving you exclusive access to project areas with contractors, Historic Property Restorations.

The project has already dug up some pretty interesting treasures (you wouldn't believe how fascinating an old "nit comb" is!) and as the work continues and more is discovered you'll be able to see these finds on display and uncover even more stories of the Delavals.

In addition to the conservation work, Seaton Delaval are also working with the local community to tell the stories of the Hall. The Delaval Dialogues community programme provides the opportunity to get involved with the Curtain Rises Project including working with schools, local amateur dramatic groups and Northumbria University students.

New Features

There are some other very exciting elements to the project over the next two years that will introduce some brand new features to Seaton Delaval Hall including a new children's play area inspired by Baroque theatre, new permanent toilets and, the part that has got me most excited, a brand new cafe.

I was very lucky to have a sneaky tour of The Brew House, the brand new cafe and it is going to be amazing. A beautiful space inside a gorgeous stone building with low beams and plenty of light - current plans include having a stage inside for live music, outside seating and, fingers crossed, the ability to open in the Summer evenings for drink and food evenings.

I am SO excited about the future of Seaton Delaval Hall and I can't wait to see the next stage of the project come to life. I'm pretty sure I'm going to be there every few weeks because I'm just not going to be able to resist having a little nose at what's going on.

What you need to know:
Find Seaton Delaval Hall at: 

The Avenue
Seaton Sluice
NE26 4QR

This post is a paid collaboration with Seaton Delaval Hall. 


  1. How exciting! All of the plans sound fab. Seaton Delaval Hall is just up the road from us so I'm excited at the prospect of more events / evening opening x

    1. Me too! It'll be so nice having an alternative to Gibside, their pub nights are so successful and I think the setting at Seaton Delaval will be amazing ... fingers crossed that plan goes ahead!

  2. What a beautiful site! It boggles the mind that there have been (and still are in some places, I guess) people who actually got to live in properties like this! So crazy!! xx

    Laura // Middle of Adventure

    1. I know! I always think though I'd be so so cold living somewhere like that, it would cost a fortune to heat! I'm already wrapped up in blankets most evenings living in my three bed house!

  3. I live not far from here, I used to go horse ridding past it every weekend and was always amazed by it (this was many years ago when it was closed to the public). I still haven't visited though, I really should do as it is not far away and looks magnificent x

    1. Oh wow! Yes you must go and pay it a visit, it's so beautiful! The main hall takes your breath away, the architecture is stunning!

  4. That is so cool that you got to have a look behind the scenes! Can't wait to see what it will look like when it has been finished.

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