Home for the first four nights of our trip is Herbert Hall in the village of Westow. We stayed in this village on our last trip to England and loved it so much that it had to be back on the agenda for this visit.
There are 15 grade II English heritage-listed properties in the village, one of which is the cottage we were staying in – Herbert Cottage. Built in the early 18th century and converted in the 1930s to what it is today, the cottage was originally part of the former stable block to Westow Hall.
Westow Hall is home to Lord and Lady Grimthorpe; Lord Grimthorpe is the 5th Baron Grimthorpe and 9th Baronet of Leeds…whatever that means. In any case, he is a pretty big deal in the world of horse racing from all accounts.
I was more interested in the story of his late mother’s life. According to her obituary in The Times, the late dowager was childhood friends with Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother (and later served as a Lady of the Bedchamber to her), dined with the exiled Duke and Duchess of Windsor (who apparently asked her to speak to the young queen regarding an invite for his wife to the coronation). She worked in the Special Operations Executive (SOE), the organisation set up in July 1940 to conduct espionage, sabotage, and reconnaissance in occupied Europe, preparing secret agents for insertion into France and elsewhere. Prior to marrying the 4th Baron Grimthorpe she was engaged to Prince George Valdemar of Denmark, the eldest son of Prince Axel of Denmark and Princess Margaretha of Sweden. Not a bad story, eh?
After her husband passed away, she moved out of Westow Hall, leaving it for the new baron, and moved into Herbert Cottage for the remainder of her years… which brings me to the cottage itself.
Newly decorated by the current Lady Grimthorpe (that’s her in the portrait below – there are photos of him receiving some horse racing cup in the downstairs loo) it spoilt us for every other place we stayed in over the rest of the trip. I’ll show you around…
The entry hall…
The sitting room…
The spare bedroom and ensuite…
The upstairs bathroom…
If I had any complaints it was that the books in the bookcase were style over substance ie important looking about boring things (where were the cookbooks or reading books?) and that the smoke detector was too close to the range and every time we cooked bacon it went off.
Anyways, if you’re interested in staying there too, you’ll find the details here.
Out and About in Westow
Located in the gorgeous Howardian Hills, there are no shops here in the village, but there is a village pub, the Blacksmith’s Arms.
It’s also the village that I used to create the fictional village of Chipwell in the Philly Barker mysteries.
Next time: York…
Wonderful photos and memories, Jo!
I do have a question. Why is the bathroom so big? What in the heck would they do with all of that floor space?!
The answer? No flipping idea… it’s ridiculous!
Wow it looks amazing – I can see how accommodation like this would be hard to beat. That bathroom is almost as big as my bedroom! And how good are English country pubs?
The bathroom was ridiculous… and we share your love for the English pub.
What a fabulous place Jo, and it has a great story too. I must say the Bay Horse looks to be a quintessential English pub! Love your photos, they really set the scene well 🙂
OH that all sounds and looks so wonderful! I can see how your lodgings ruined the rest of them for you on your trip; I would not have wanted to leave.
What a wonderful post, Jo and I could definitely imagine myself staying at Westow Hall. I’m so pleased you are writing about your recent trip so we can relive your wonderful experiences again. #WWandP
What a fabulous place – I bet you felt like Lord and Lady Grimthorpe (jnr) while you swanned around in that place – I hope it was heated (esp that enormous bathroom!) You certainly know how to travel well and I can see why you came back for a second stay.
I have to admit to doing a little swanning…
I so enjoyed your photos from your trip and now the words too. I would be “lost” in such grandeur. It looked amazing and I loved how it all worked out for you in your fiction and in real life. As for pub meals, I so would like to try a couple of bites…sadly never to finish. Thanks so much for joining in this week’s WWandPics link up where I got to celebrate being 73. Still getting used to the new number…Here we are, it’s December and there are 3 more weeks to link up till I take a short break. I always enjoy seeing your blog pop up on the website. Take care, Denyse.
Lovely photos as usual Jo! They always make me want to go there! Westow looks beautiful. I love that you show us inside where you stayed along with the outside. Love the cosy vibe at the pubs and the food at them looks delish too! I can see how all this travel would inspire locations and storylines for your books. Love that you include some history with these posts too. Not sure if I’ll ever get there myself so it’s lovely being a virtual traveller with gorgeous scenery and an interesting commentary – so thank you!
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