Belsay Hall was built between 1810 and 1870, set amidst gently rolling hills in Northumberland, the northernmost county of England. The castle (above), a short walk away through the grounds, predates the Hall but became a fashionable folly once the Hall was in use.
When we visited, it was gorgeous weather for wandering through the gardens - a substantial portion of which consists of passage-ways cut into the hillside. The looming cliff faces and lush vegetation gave the whole place a somewhat fantastical feel, which I much preferred to the somewhat sparse formal gardens nearer to the house.
You can climb the castle for beautiful views over the surrounding countryside, and we enjoyed watching house martins swooping in and out of the towers, clearly enjoying the sunshine as much as we were.