Sledmere House, East Riding, Yorkshire

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If you love visiting historic buildings or exploring beautiful Yorkshire in England, a visit to Sledmere House is a must.

This 300-year-old estate is brimming with English architecture, design, and landscaping.

In this guide, we share everything there is to see and do at the iconic Sledmere House.  

What is Sledmere House?

Sledmere House is one of the finest country houses in Yorkshire.

Owned by the Sykes family for over 200 years, this Grade I listed Georgian country house boasts exceptional architecture, highly prized furnishings, and Capability Brown landscaped grounds.

Sledmere monument Yorkshire
Sledmere monument

The estate is within the village of Sledmere, a rural parish with less than 400 residents which was previously owned by the Skyes family. 

The three-storey, H-shaped Ashlar stone house has remarkable Georgian and Edwardian architectural features that have attracted visitors from across the world.

Leading craftsmen and artisans of the 18th century designed its interior including the celebrated plasterer, Joseph Rose. 

Where is Sledmere House?

Sledmere House is at the heart of the village of Sledmere in the East Riding of Yorkshire.

Sedmere house map
How to find Sedmere house

The nearest towns are Driffield and Malton.

You can get to Sledmere easily by car from East Yorkshire coastal towns like Scarborough and Flamborough, or travel eastwards from York. 

The History of Sledmere House 

The Sykes family has been a prominent Yorkshire family for over 500 years. Sledmere House is its seat.

The family’s wealth came from cloth trading, with William Sykes (1500–1577) moving from Cumberland to the West Riding of Yorkshire, in the mid-16th century. 

Later, in the 17th century, Daniel Sykes (b.1632) accumulated vast wealth from shipping and finance, while Richard Sykes (1678–1726), made money from trading in pig iron.

The history of Sledmere house
Sledmere House history facts

Richard Sykes’ son Sir Richard Sykes (1706–1761) married the heiress to the Sledmere estate.

He demolished the existing medieval manor House and built the current mansion, developing the grounds by planting over 20,000 trees in the surrounding Wolds. 

Without a male heir, this substantial property passed to Mark Sykes (1711–1783) the brother of Richard.

The son of Sir Mark Sykes, Sir Christopher Sykes, 2nd Baronet (1749–1801) became MP for Beverley.

During his lifetime Sledmere grew massively, with the acquisition of huge tranches of land, some 30,000 acres, for the estate.

It was in this period that the exceptional landscaping of Sledmere was accomplished, with the entire village moved for this purpose.

Sir Christopher Sykes richly decorated the interior of Sledmere House with some of the country’s finest plasterwork contributed by Joseph Rose. 

Tragedy at Sledmere

In 1911, during the lifetime of Sir Tatton Sykes, 5th Baronet, a massive fire gutted Sledmere House.

The fire destroyed the ornate 18th-century interiors, but villagers and estate workers managed to rescue many of the rare and valuable furnishings including banisters, doors, and statues.

Thankfully – The original plans for the interior of the house survived and were used to direct the restoration of the building. 

Who lives at Sledmere House now?

Sledmere is still very much home to the Sykes family.

Sir Tatton Sykes, the 8th Baronet of Sledmere lives at Sledmere and has worked to preserve the rich history and character of the estate and make it accessible to visitors.

Sir Tatton is a ‘hands-on’ owner, known for his big personality and love of cowboy boots. 

Sir Tatton lives on the estate and has striven to welcome the modern visitor to this beautiful part of Yorkshire.

His younger brother Christopher, a historian who has authored a book about Sledmere and the Sykes family, aids him in this endeavor.

Must-see features at Sledmere House

If you visit the Yorkshire coastline, a visit to Sledmere House is well worth the 20 to 40-minute drive.

The house is steeped in centuries of English history and had exquisite period architecture and magnificent interiors. 

Outstanding decor

The Sykes family has opened up Sledmere House to visitors, who can explore some of the finest interiors in Yorkshire.

Sledmere house book room
Library Sledmere house

Highlights include:

  • The Entrance Hall: Famed Yorkshire architect Walter Brierley reconstructed this grand hallway after the devastating 1911 fire. Its scale, opulence, and magnificent staircase set the tone for the rest of the house.
  • The Turkish Room: This is one of Sledmere’s most famous rooms. The Armenian artist and ceramicist David Ohannessian designed it in the early 20th century for Sir Mark Sykes, 6th Baronet. The room is said to have been fashioned after the Sultan’s apartments in Istanbul. It features traditionally crafted tiles made in Ohannessian’s workshop. 
  • The Long Library: another restored room, styled after the Baths of Caracalla in Rome, has gorgeous views of the estate grounds. Sir Christopher Sykes originally designed this room as a gallery, but it has become repurposed as the book room of the house.
  • The Drawing Room and Music Room: These ornately decorated rooms feature plasterwork by Joseph Rose. You can also see the 18th-century organ casing designed by Samuel Green, a feature of the original house. 
  • The Red Bedroom, Orange Bedroom, and Chinese Bedroom: These feature bedrooms include beautiful furnishings like a mahogany four-poster bed from the George III period; a David Linley Furniture dressing table and stool; and a Chinese-style Chippendale bed. 

Exquisite grounds

The 900 acres of parklands are a pleasing balance to the proportions and architecture of Sledmere House.

Capability Brown, England’s greatest gardener, designed the grounds in 1777 and they remain a big attraction.

Sledmere rare breeds farm
Breeds farm Sledmere house 

Sir Christopher Sykes, 2nd Baronet implemented the Capability Brown landscape design and the family still holds the original plans.

Other additions include the beautiful 18th-century walled garden, paved sculpture court, and recently created knot garden.

Other interesting features of the Sledmere estate include:

  • Sledmere Monument: This 120-foot (37-meter) monument can be seen for miles around. Friends and neighbors of Sir Tatton Sykes, 4th Baronet created this stone monument as a memorial after his death. The monument contains a small staircase that leads up to a chamber that offers stunning views of the surrounding area. 
  • The Chapel at Sledmere: Sledmere has its own Roman Catholic chapel, dedicated to Sir Mark Sykes, the 6th Baronet. Its painted frescoes took more than four years to complete!
  • Sledmere Stud: Racing fans may know Sledmere also had one of England’s largest racing studs with many successes in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Sledmere stud had two Derby winners, two St Leger winners, and three Oaks winners. You can tour the stone-walled paddocks and red-bricked stable buildings of the stud on your visit to Sledmere. 
  • The rare breeds farm: Sledmere also has a rare breeds farm with traditional British animal breeds that include shire horses, the Golden Guernsey goat, Oxford Sandy & Black pigs and Leicester Longwool sheep. Sledmere House is a member of the Rare Breeds Survival Trust.

Things to do at Sledmere House 

Sledmere is one of East Yorkshire’s leading attractions.

The country house is a major draw, but the Sykes family has developed the estate to host a varied calendar of family-friendly live events and workshops with a thriving farm shop and cafe.

Here’s what you can do at Sledmere.

Sledmere House tours

A guided tour of Sledmere House and its grounds is the best way to take in the fascinating history of this Yorkshire stately home.

You can book tickets for guided house doors or just the grounds and gardens.

There are also free-flow tickets that allow you to explore the property at your own pace. 

Sledmere’s seasonal Events

There is also an impressive calendar of seasonal events, which includes something for everyone.

In particular, their activity and crafting days make a great day out in the spring and summer months. 

Halloween bonfire
Sledmere House Halloween bonfire

Summer events include:

  • the popular maize maze
  • play paddocks
  • frisbee golf
  • and farm animal visits

Later on, in the year, Sledmere pulls out all the stops with some of the best fireworks in Yorkshire and an annual Christmas Spectacular, featuring visits with Santa for the kids.

Live Events at Sledmere

Sledmere knows how to party and is a popular venue for live events.

It has hosted the world-famous tribute band festival Tribfest since it began in 1997.

The Sledmere estate hosts the festival in one of the many fields around Sledmere House. 

Christmas at Sledmere House
Preparation for Christmas at Sledmere House

Shopping at Sledmere

Locals and tourists favor Sledmere for its excellent shopping.

You can buy beautiful souvenirs, gifts, and homeware from the Woodyard home, gift, and garden store, and the Garden Barn.

In the Winter Months – You can buy Holiday gifts, trees, and decorations from Sledmere’s Christmas Barn. 

Sledmere food and drink

You can enjoy the delicious seasonal cuisine available from Sledmere and local producers at cafes and shops around the estate.

The Coach House Cafe offers a sumptuous breakfast and brunch menu including traditional English breakfasts, roasts, and decadent afternoon teas.

The Sledmere Farm Shop and Pantry sells produce that has been farmed at Sledmere, along with pantry staples and deli items from local specialist producers. 

Weddings and functions

Sledmere is also one of Yorkshire’s leading wedding venues.

Sledmere House weddings planning
Weddings at Sledmere House

Once you have see the magnificent interiors, it’ll be easy to see why couple exchange their vows in rooms like:

  • The Library
  • Main Hall
  • or Drawing Room

The Barn can also serve as a reception venue or couples can erect a marquee on the sweeping grounds.

The Coach House Cafe also offers private dining and catered events for smaller groups. 

Museums at Sledmere

If your day out at Sledmere is not already packed, the estate also has two small museums that are well worth a quick visit. 

The Wagoners’ museum, at the entrance to Sledmere House, tells the story of the Wagoners’ Special Reserve.

This was an initiative started by Sir Mark Sykes 6th Baronet, that provided frontline soldiers in WWI with food and other provisions transported by horse-drawn wagons. 

The Historic Stable Block and Shire Horse Society Centre is one of the country’s leading breeding centers for shire horses.

The horses pull a range of traditional carts and wagons at county fairs and agricultural shows. 

Overnight Stays at Sledmere House

Spending a night at Sledmere house
Booking Sledmere house

With so much to do at Sledmere House, a one-day visit is not enough. Many people opt to book a self-catering stay at the East Lodge.

This beautifully appointed property sleeps four people and includes access to the grounds at Sledmere.

This luxury accommodation is popular with families and includes a private garden area that can you can enjoy as part of a longer stay. 

How much does it cost to visit Sledmere House?

Sledmere House provides a great value day out that the whole family can enjoy.

Visit book tickets Sledmere House in Yorkshire
Visit Sledmere House in Yorkshire

You can buy tickets that provide access to the House and Grounds, or a cheaper ticket that is for the grounds alone.

Here are the prices:

  • Tickets for Sledmere House and grounds: The adult ticket is £11.00 and a child ticket is £5.75. A family ticket is available for £29.
  • Tickets for Sledmere grounds: The adult ticket is £17.50 and a child ticket is £5.75. A family ticket is available for £41.50.

Sledmere Friends Membership

If you intend to visit Sledmere House more than once per year, a Sledmere Friends Membership provides heavily discounted prices on entry and event tickets.

Members also enjoy priority booking for certain events and a monthly newsletter with updates on various projects and initiatives at Sledmere. 

Rounding up

Sledmere House beautifully wraps up 300 years of British history in a single day.

It is definitely a highlight of any trip to East Yorkshire.

With a great events calendar and delicious food and drink, you’ll have an amazing time at Sledmere at any time of the year.

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