A heady combination of sultry summer weather, lavish garden borders and the welcome reopening of our open spaces following lockdown has brought an incredible response from visitors who enjoyed our two special evening openings of the Park and Gardens in late June.

Photo credit: David Dodds Photography

People of all ages, including young families meeting relatives for the first time since March, and others who had not left their homes for many months, enjoyed social distanced walks in the expansive grounds of the Castle.

Photo credit: David Dodds Photography

Soft music inspired by the natural surroundings, summer scented incense and glowing storm candles in the Walled Gardens created a sense of calm during the two evenings, the first of which was held to mark the Summer Solstice.

A spectacular seasonal floral wreath provided the perfect photo backdrop in the Walled Gardens, and children enjoyed dancing under the ribbons of the wishing tree.  The glorious open space in the Deer Park gave visitors ample room to sit and watch the sun go down over the Castle and to savour the tranquillity of the evening.

Floral wreath by Berry House Flowers

Sophie Brown, from the Raby events team, said she had been overwhelmed by the positive feedback from visitors both during and after the two evening openings.

“The atmosphere was incredibly relaxing and many of the people who came were visiting Raby for the first time, so it was wonderful for them to experience its space and beauty on a summer’s evening,” she said.

“Throughout both evenings, visitors took time to tell us how safe they felt and how much they appreciated having somewhere to come that was so peaceful and special, particularly those who were coming to meet relatives for the first time since lockdown,” she added.

Photo credit: David Grey

The two open evenings were also a fabulous opportunity for photographers to capture the beauty of the park and garden. Here are just some of the amazing images and wonderful comments we have received since the Summer Solstice and Evening in the Park, all of which have been so appreciated by our small and hard-working team:

“We would just like to express our thanks to you for having the vision to open the castle grounds and gardens on Saturday evening.”

“We did not really know what to expect but we had a most enjoyable time and made the most of a beautiful evening in wonderful surroundings.”

“It was so good to be among people after the past 3 months of lockdown and it was noticeable that others were feeling the same. It was particularly pleasing to see families with young children picnicking and enjoying the freedom that the parkland offered.”

“I would like to thank you for the wonderful Summer Solstice Evening we enjoyed in Saturday! The walled garden looked stunning and the music playing was perfect for the occasion.”

“We had an amazing evening on Saturday, thank you so much for opening. So much space and such a tranquil experience. Highly recommended.”

“Thoroughly enjoyed it, had a wonderful night. Really enjoyed the music in the gardens.”

“Absolutely superb evening – thank you! Well organised and very peaceful and relaxed.”

“We had a lovely evening last night. Thank you. It’s the 1st time my parents have been in a public space for over 3 months and they absolutely loved it. A great Father’s Day present. I can’t tell you how much it meant to us as a family as they got to spend some time with their grandson. It was perfect.”

“We had such an amazing evening last night. Can’t recommend it highly enough! Was magical.”

“It really was a lovely night. The atmosphere was so calm and relaxed. It was lovely seeing everyone having a lovely time.”

“A fabulous evening tonight at Raby castle ….loved the extra little touches like the candles and incense in the walled garden along with the music …will come again to an evening walk in the castle grounds ….Thankyou.”

“We really enjoyed our evening visit for the Summer Solstice. It was such a lovely atmosphere; so calm and peaceful. The gardens were beautiful and looked lovely at dusk. The evening was so well organised and it was clear that visitor safety was paramount. Visitor numbers were limited, car parking was really well spaced out and toilets were spotlessly clean. After 3 months of lockdown this was greatly appreciated! Thank you!”

We hope to open for further ‘Summer Lates’ throughout July and August, and will be keeping a close eye on the weather forecast.

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