So what to do when presented with such good fortune? We decided on a trip to beautiful Belsay Hall in Northumberland with it's castle, grounds and mansion hall.
I've always loved the gardens here, beautifully kept but not overly coiffured. A stroll towards the croquet lawn greeted us with a gorgeous heady perfume, very reminiscent of jasmine and stephanotis. As we turned the corner we discovered the source of the scent. Just look at the glorious sight of the hyacinth beds in full fragrant bloom. I could happily have gazed at them all day.
There was a fabulous exhibition of quilting in the hall; some stunning work, so intricate and colourful. And coming soon my love of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice will be indulged with a display of costumes from the ever popular BBC adaptation (you know the one, Colin Firth in the lake...need I say more?). I feel a return visit coming on already.
Belsay Hall is supported by English Heritage. Click here for details of how to get to Belsay Hall and what's on this summer.