Princess Mary, Downton Abbey and images of Harewood House at Christmas

Last Christmas I visited Harewood House in Leeds, West Yorkshire, to see their Christmas decorations.

Harewood House is one of my favourite places to visit in Yorkshire. It’s always stunning at any time of year. Here is the view from the library window over the terrace in summer, with the lake in the background:

Harewood House

If you’ve seen the recent Downton Abbey film, you’ll know some of the scenes were shot at Harewood House. This view is over the same terrace where Tom Branson dances – you’ll catch a glimpse of that scene in this trailer. And the film’s magnificent ball was also at Harewood. Well worth going to see the film for the costumes alone!

Princess Mary married Lord Lascelles, later Earl of Harewood, in the 1920s, and the couple feature in the film, too. Princess Mary was very popular in Yorkshire. Lord Lascelles was fifteen years older than his bride. He’s made out to be irritable and cold in the film, and in real life it was rumoured at the time that he proposed to Princess Mary after a bet at his club, and that she married him because of pressure from her family. According to the curators of Harewood, this makes for an interesting story, but there was actually a great deal of affection between the two.

If you visit Harewood, you can see the little outfits worn by Princess Mary’s sons. They look cute – but some of them must have been restricting!

Harewood House

The house last year was decorated on a theme around the two boys in the 1920s. It all looked fabulous, and I wish my photos did justice to it.

Harewood House
Gingerbread men in the downstairs kitchen
Harewood House
The two boys climbing the stairs to bed
Harewood House
Rocking horse in the snow
Harewood House
Christmas trees
Harewood House
Jellies and trifles on the dining table


Harewood House
A roaring fire in the sitting room
Downton Abbey
The Christmas afternoon tea looks amazing!


The fictional Downton Abbey is situated in Yorkshire in the TV series, but in real life the stately home used for filming is Highclere Castle in Kent. It looks a wonderful place to visit, too, and I’d love to go one day!


I hope you enjoyed my photos, and I only wish they did Harewood House justice. Have you ever visited it yourself? And have you ever been to Highclere Castle? If you have any comments at all, I’d love to hear from you!

14 thoughts on “Princess Mary, Downton Abbey and images of Harewood House at Christmas

  1. I didn’t know that, Anne. That’s interesting. Their mum, Princess Mary, did a lot of work in Yorkshire, especially for girls and women. There was a girls’ grammar school named after her in Halifax.
    I’m looking forward to seeing this year’s decorations, which are apparently even more stunning.
    Thanks for dropping in, and for your comment.


    1. Hello, Anne, their twilight hour does look good! They’ve started to do a lot more there in recent years. I loved the look of the Christmas afternoon tea and am thinking of taking my mum if she can manage it. I’m so glad it featured in the Downton Abbey film, as it’s a lovely place.
      Thanks for dropping in, and for your comment! x


  2. Hey, Helena. What lovely pictures. You’re so lucky to live near all this beauty and history. Thanks so much for sharing. We visited London many, many years ago. It was a delightful trip. So much history. I’ve shared. :)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Marsha, I do hope you get over to the UK again some time. I’m so glad you enjoyed your trip to London. I used to find it too busy and hectic, but now I love to visit, and always find something different to explore there. Thanks so much for your lovely comment and for dropping in!


  3. The pictures are amazing. I love the kitchen with the gingerbread men and I couldn’t help but think the two boys going up to bed looked like angels without their wings. The whole place seems magical. I didn’t get down to that part of the country but if I had another chance to visit I might. I can see it as the setting in some amazing stories.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Pat, it would make a great setting for a story! I did write a short story a while ago, featuring a book restorer who visits the stately home to restore a book in the library. (I’d like to expand this story into a book one day.) If you do make it to Yorkshire, Castle Howard is also a lovely place to visit, and was the setting for Brideshead Revisited.
      Thanks very much for dropping in. I’m so glad you liked the photos!


  4. In real life, I actually worked in a stately home in Scotland as a rare books librarian for three years. It was like living BRIDESHEAD REVISITED, like travelling in time and a seminal experience seeing the past come alive around me which I will never forget. Also knew a Mrs Lockhart who was like Lady Mary sixty years later.

    I actually don’t want to write a novel about it, too profound…


  5. Helena, a beautiful post bringing Harewood House alive for us all. I used to go school just near here and visited the grounds many times as young. I don’t think the house was open in those days … seeing your wonderful photos and reading your evocative descriptions I long to go one day! Oh, my firends stayed a night or two at Highclere and loved it! Happy Travels!


    1. The grounds are lovely to walk around, Annika. You’ll know Roundhay Park, too, if you lived nearby. It’s great that there are these beautiful green spaces in Leeds. The house is well worth a visit inside if you ever get the chance. And I’d love to visit Highclere one day. I’m going to try next year.
      Happy Christmas!

      Liked by 1 person

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