Pyjamas and slippers at the ready for stately sleep-over

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FAMILIES can see a different side to a county attraction in a stately sleepover.

The unique opportunity to explore Belsay Hall, Castle and Gardens in the evening and at night has been made available by English Heritage.

Staff are dressing up for a tour of the premises, and there will also be entertainment from medieval storytellers.

The normally empty rooms in the hall, which was built for Sir Charles Monck between 1810 and 1817, will have camp beds in them, but everyone staying the night will need to take their own sleeping bags and pillows along.

English Heritage Events Manager for the North Jon Hogan, said: “This is part of the Museums at Night initiative, where historical places are encouraged to give people the chance to see them from a different perspective.

“Sleepovers have been popular at some of our properties in the south and we think it will work well at Belsay Hall as it’s something completely different.

“We’ll ask those coming along to arrive at 7pm and they will get to see parts of the hall that are not seen by the public, including the servants’ quarters and cellars.

“They will then be taken on a tour of the Quarry Garden at twilight, where they will see some spectacular sights. There is no artificial street lighting and the only sounds will be from the wildlife.

“Moving on to the castle, the party will be welcomed by the medieval storytellers and after the entertainment it will be back to the hall for supper and bedtime. We’re aiming to have 10 rooms filled and there are different sizes to cater for small and large families.

“It can get cold at night in the hall, even in May, so they should bring extra clothing and sheets in case they are needed.”

The sleep-over, which is suitable for families with children aged eight years and over, will take place on Saturday, May 19. The following morning, a hot breakfast will be served.

Tickets cost £55 for adults and £45 for children, while English Heritage members get a £5 reduction. Booking is essential. For details call Belsay Hall on 01661 881636. To reserve a room, telephone 0870 333 1181.