Temple Newsam House

Learn fascinating facts about past residents who lived and worked here through our collections, special exhibitions and tours which go under the ropes and behind the scenes.

Bring the whole family along and dress up in costume, follow a trail or take part in the extra special activities hosted in school holidays.

Social history

The house captures over 500 years of history and this is key to the visitor experience. It is brought to life by telling the stories of the people who lived and worked there, through all art forms including digital, music, theatre and fine art. The collections show how the house was used as a family home, which was once birthplace to Lord Darnley, notorious husband of Mary Queen of Scots.

Interiors and collections

Following extensive restoration, over 40 interiors now display one of the most important collections of fine and decorative arts in Britain which were designated as being of pre-eminent importance in 1997: the first country house to be recognised in this way. It is a treasure house of outstanding collections including furniture, ceramics, textiles, silver and wallpaper.

The collection has been built up since 1923 when the estate was bought from the Hon. Edward Wood (later the Earl of Halifax) by the city of Leeds and developed as a country house museum, to restore the house and its fine collections to its earlier glory. Despite the sale of many of the furnishings in 1922, the basis of the contents of Temple Newsam House today is still the family collection. This has been added to over the years and now makes up one of the finest publicly owned collections of English decorative art outside London.

Tours and activities

Temple Newsam House offers a number of tours to help you unearth the history and the secrets of this fantastic stately home. From introductory tours, special rooftop tours, to hidden tours of the secret passageways: you can explore every inch of this magnificent house.

Explore the house through our latest exhibitions and displays or with our activity sheets. The house also hosts a number of headline events throughout the year, from the Halloween Spooktacular event, to weekends full of Christmas festivities complete with magical Santa’s Grotto.

Copyright © Leeds City Council 2019