I first discovered the existence of Wentworth Woodhouse at the age of 10, reading a book on local History (I was very 'rock and roll' as a child). When I opened the middle page of the book, I was absolutely 'gobsmacked'; the East front was pictured in all it's glory, 606 foot of Palladian perfection!
Not only was it the most beautiful house I'd ever seen, I realise that it was only four miles away from where I lived and I'd never even heard of it. Straight away I got my bike out and rode over to Wentworth, to see the house 'in the flesh'.
I still remember the first time I saw the house, I was entranced, it was stunning! I still get the same feeling of wonder every time I see it, almost 40 years on.
As part of my A-levels in 1988, I decided to do an architectural comparison of Wentworth Woodhouse and Wentworth Castle, comparing their different uses of Baroque and Palladian styles. Having already been around Wentworth Castle, I speculatively asked if I could look around the house and they said yes! Sheffield Polytechnic had recently left the building and it was empty, I was given the keys and complete run of the house, it took me five and a half hours to walk around, absolutely mesmerised... It was a huge privilege, although it was also sad, as there were lots of gaps where furniture had been removed; the only furniture item of any interest being a Steinway Grand Piano in the middle of the Marble Saloon, obviously I tried it and it sounded fabulous!
My obsession with the house has remained to this day, I was married (to the first Mrs Peeps) at the 'Needles Eye' Folly on the estate in 1997 and then was lucky enough to celebrate my Engagement (to the future 2nd Mrs Peeps) in the Pillared Hall earlier this year. We couldn't have wished for a better venue, it was absolutely magical. If we can afford it, we'll get married there as well.
Having already been on two 'House Tours', as part of our Engagement weekend, I arranged for a party of family & friends to be shown around the house before the party. They were all amazed by the house, I was amazed when I found out that my Cousin independently had the same level of obsession as I do.
The House Tours are excellent; fascinating and very entertaining. All three of the guides I've been on tour with have been brilliant; the best being Robert who has worked on the Estate and in the House all of his working life, a real character and very nice man, his love for the building shines out of him.
House Tours: I would highly recommend the House (and Garden) Tours, they're really good value and all the ticket price is invested in renovating the house. You can book here.
Room Hire: I would also highly recommend hiring rooms in the house, its a truly fabulous place to celebrate, details can be found here.
Finally, when you do visit, I hope you love the house as much as I do. I cannot wait for the new plans to come to fruition and see this beautiful jewel of South Yorkshire polished back to perfection. It finally has a great future.