THEY are a sight to behold - whatever the season.

Immaculately tended gardens and grounds are indicative of the hard work, commitment and dedication that goes on within the confines of these stately surroundings all year round.

A trip to Harewood House near Leeds is more than a visit to another historic home. It’s a place to escape, unwind, kick back and simply savour the beautiful landscape embracing the Lascelles family’s ancestral home.

Regardless of the time of year, there is something to see and do with the many events and exhibitions hosted at Harewood House.

Interestingly, the current exhibition ‘Seeds of Hope’ which is supported by Arts Council England, commemorates the end of the First World War.

An appreciation of open space is imperative - development depletes the land we have left so the opportunity to savour unspoilt scenery has to be embraced and this is one of those precious places we are fortunate to have on our doorstep to do just that while making us ever mindful of the sacrifices made by those in combat.

‘Seeds of Hope,’ a collaboration with young Leeds-based creative team Lord Whitney, showcases the grounds enabling visitors to visualise life as it would have been back in 1918 through the eyes of the gardeners who lived and worked in The Bothy, a place previously closed to visitors, and the Walled Garden.

Within the confines of this post-war garden is heritage fruit and vegetables - marrows and apples, beautiful blooms - the Peace Meadow showcasing thousands of white Cosmos ‘Purity’ flowers injecting a touch of colour to the Autumnal landscape and a few four-legged friends too.

The exhibition commemorates the experiences of those who worked on the estate 100 years ago, told through the experiences of 16-year-old bothy boy John Hobb’s journal which encapsulates life here at that time.

Interestingly, John’s brother George is fighting in France. We learn much about the siblings’ contrasting lives - of George’s fearful accounts of life in battle and of John’s exploits looking after the land with the women of the village in letters between the two re-produced in John’s journal.

Making our way through the shed where the gardeners’ tools of their toils are displayed, still and not busy as they would have been in bygone times, we step into Mr Leathley’s office in the beautiful Bothy which has been expertly styled and laid out as it would have been back in the day.

The table is laid with newspapers placed indicating possibly Breakfast is due to be served within this small room wonderfully cluttered with memorabilia from the black and white photos on the wall to the bucket of boots when the gardeners down tools for some down-time.

From here we take the stone stairway into Mr Leathley’s office where his spectacles are neatly arranged on the list of jobs in hand and flanked by the nostalgic charm of a somewhat silent typewriter as opposed to the noisy clatter of keys being pressed as Mr Leathley went about his work.

Brown envelopes are strung from above the window like bunting and framing a wonderful view into the rural workplace beyond where gardeners would toil away providing produce for plates at a time when people had to live with far less.

Dating back to the 1700s The Walled Garden - our next step on this informative and educational journey - has been replanted with heritage vegetables - demonstrating the type of produce nurtured in the land.

Venturing along in these tranquil surroundings you become absorbed in the beauty of it all. Along the way we see the old weather-beaten timber glasshouses bearing the remnants of the once beautifully blooming sunflowers - 1,269 to be precise planted at the start of the exhibition and no doubt gloriously flowering over the summer months to commemorate the number of men tended to at Harewood House when it served as an auxiliary hospital from 1915 to 1919.

Visitors can access ‘Seeds of Hope’ on the new chain ferry linking the main courtyard and bird garden across the lake to the Walled Garden or stroll, as we did, through the gardens and around the Lake where you can take full advantage of the wildlife and other sights within this enchanting scenery.

While there we also had the opportunity to saunter around the bird garden - an area we haven’t previously visited - where you can see all manner of feathered friends including exotic breeds such as the colourful parrots and kookaburra.

‘Seeds of Hope’ runs until November 4 2018. Well worth visiting.

Harewood House is located at the junction of the A61/A659 on the Leeds/Harrogate Road.

Visit or call 0113 218 1010.