Ponden Hall, West Yorkshire (The house that inspired Wuthering Heights…)

Ponden Hall West Yorkshire

My final jaunt as a secret judge for the Dorset Cereals Bed and Breakfast Awards, took me to West Yorkshire to the very beautiful Ponden Hall, much of which was built in the 1500s and which has some exceptionally special literary ties to those clever Brontes…

I arrived at Keighley and jumped into a taxi to take me to the B&B, which it did, via some of the loveliest scenery and landscapes I’d seen for a long time. I could feel my lungs open. And my mind clear of its cobwebs. (There are always I couple I miss each time I clean).


Ponden Hall

My room…


Ponden Hall


Ponden Hall

There was a lovely fire in my room and this pile of dry wood came in very useful!


Ponden Hall

This jar of homemade cookies in my room didn’t last long 😉


Ponden Hall

The view from my room. Magic.

I arrived at Ponden Hall and was welcomed warmly by the owners Steve and Julie, whom had me ensconced on an enormous sofa in the living room eating a gigantic piece of homemade Victoria Sponge and drinking tea with their other guests, within a few minutes of my arrival.

In 10 minutes we had all shared enough stories to fill a book ( a big book) and that pretty much sums up my entire experience at Ponden Hall; guests are welcomed like old family friends and very quickly, you feel as though you are home… and part of the fabric of this very special place…


Ponden Hall

Grade II listed Ponden Hall is less than two miles away from the picturesque Yorkshire town of Haworth, where the Bronte sisters grew up with their brother Branwell.
Emily Bronte, who visited the house with Branwell to use its extensive library – which still has its original shelves – is traditionally said to have based Thrushcross Grange, the grand home of the wealthy Linton family in Wuthering Heights, on the property.

Some argue that the hall may have been the inspiration for the Wuthering Heights farmhouse itself and a Victorian account tells how Reverend Patrick Bronte, the Bronte siblings’ father, described the house to a visitor to Haworth as being “the original model of Wuthering Heights”… so who knows…

But, what is for certain is that the Bronte sisters visited on many occasions and they were greatly inspired by their visits. And who could blame them…


Ponden Hall

“For a unique Bronte experience, do as Mr Lockwood did, and sleep the night in the 18th-century-style box bed, designed as a copy of the famous Wuthering Heights bed described in detail by Emily in the novel – and built around the famous window. If you’re brave enough you can open the panel across the window to see our recreation of the family Bible where Cathy wrote her name. If not, close all the panels and curl up for the night…”


Ponden Hall


Ponden Hall


Ponden Hall

“The famous ‘Cathy window’ is here at Ponden Hall – where Cathy’s ghost struggled to get in, desperately searching for her lover Heathcliff in Emily Bronte’s famous novel ‘Wuthering Heights’.”


Ponden Hall

“Jack Hewer’s illustration of Ponden Hall, used in the Shakespeare Head 1931 edition of Wuthering Heights”

Steve and Julie were the perfect hosts – warm, friendly, suggesting places where I could have dinner that evening and even offering to drive me there and collect me themselves. An offer that I gladly accepted.

Steve drove me to one of their local pubs – The Old Silent Inn -a gorgeous atmospheric old pub, where I enjoyed a delicious fish pie and marvelled at their Halloween decorations…. seriously impressive.

During my meal I was called ‘Petal, ‘Flower’ and ‘Young Lady’ more times than I could count – I loved it… it felt as though they were genuinely pleased to have me sitting there, reading my book and demolishing their pie.

When I had finished my meal I asked the girl at the bar to call Ponden Hall to ask for someone to come and collect me, and five minutes later Steve appeared, much to the delight of the barman who insisted on giving him half a pint on the house as he’s “such a lovely man”.


Ponden Hall

Fish pie at The Old Silent Inn


Ponden Hall

We had a drink, chatted about British politics, Icelandic music and the merits of fish pie, before heading back to the B&B.

I had rather a lot of work to catch up on that night (what with me zipping about the country like a lunatic the entire week) and so, after having a tinkle on their piano, I settled myself at their enormously long table in the living area to work, while Steve bashed on his laptop at the other end of the table.

In the same room, Julie caught up with her dear friend Jayne (who incidentally was the first guest they ever had at their B&B. She came with her husband, everyone got on like a house on fire and they’ve all been firm friends ever since) and their son came in for a chat and some advice about homework…. entirely un-phased about me being in his home, tapping away on my laptop.

Soon it became clear that my eyes weren’t as open as they should be, so I took myself off to bed, in my very warm and cosy room, thanks to the fire that had been stoked while I’d been at dinner…


Ponden Hall


Ponden Hall

I awoke to the smell of bacon and eggs and came downstairs to a breakfast feast of toasted homemade bread, fruit and cereals… and placed my order for their full English breakfast, which was delicious.

After breakfast Steve, again, went above and beyond and drove me into Keighley where I caught my train back home to London and had some time to really think about the week I’d just had.


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Now that I had visited all three places I was finally able to announce on Twitter and Instagram what I’d been up the past week and come clean about being a judge for Dorset Cereals, rather than just randomly popping over to Norfolk or Yorkshire for the night from London (some of my back stories were a little sketchy…)

Ponden Hall were the first to react on instagram…


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And finally, I could relax.

Going undercover isn’t easy, you know. I have a newly found respect for James Bond and all other spies, fictitious or otherwise.

I loved my three stays in all the different B&Bs and have since passed on all my thoughts to Dorset Cereals, who will be announcing the winners of the B&B Awards, very soon indeed…

Thank you for having me Steve & Julie – I’ll definitely be back, and with my walking shoes!

Ponden Hall
Haworth
BD22 0HR

Dorset Cereals B&B Awards

This post was shot on my Leica camera – link below.


This post was written in collaboration with Dorset Cereals and all thoughts and opinions are my own.

3 Comments

  1. What a beautiful place! Especially that dining area looks so cosy – I definitely wouldn’t mind snuggling in there with a glass of red wine and a book 🙂 x
    Laura // Middle of Adventure

  2. Babs/Barbara

    This may be one of my short holiday destinations. It just sounds lovely. Definitely a ‘snuggle up, red wine’ kind of place. I really enjoyed reading the blogs on your B&B visits.

  3. Michael Martin

    What a clever ploy from those awfully nice people at Dorset Cereals.
    A nice trilogy, it is fantastic the array of B&B’s the Uk has to offer.
    Barn & Beach

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