We chose to visit Vanburgh’s Seaton Delaval Hall as our free Open Day visit, which included a hard hat tour of the grounds with the project manager for the major renovations being carried out, and a scaffolding climb up to the roof .
Built by Sir John Vanburgh, the Hall’s design was a fitting backdrop to the Delaval family’s extravagant lifestyle, with their lavish costume balls, spectacular theatrical productions and elaborate practical jokes. Drunken guests would awake to find their rooms had been turned upside down with furniture fixed to the ceiling. A mechanical bed would give way to drop the unwary occupant into a sobering bath of freezing water. And walls were said to disappear just as guests were undressing.