Thicket Priory, an Opulent Day out
Updated: Mar 28
Nestled in the countryside, South of York is the incredible Thicket Priory. As you turn off the main road, onto the private driveway lined with trees, you can't help feel a sense of excitement. That feeling of naughty excitment you get when you feel like your trespassing but you are thinking 'sod it' i want to see where this leads.
As you look to the left you see the Thicket's roof lines, peeking up above the trees, following the road road the excitement grows as it comes into full view. This is when the horror fan in me kicked in, instantly reminding me of the old black & white movie "Haunting of Hill House" and also of the new Netflix version of it. I could not contain my excitement to get in and explore.
Gathering my belongings ready to head in for an exciting day shooting with a talented bunch of creative's I could not help but feel exceedingly fortunate to be visiting such an incredible venue, that is before i even set in the door.
Entering Thicket, you are greeted by a modest entrance hall, with a large table on the right to collect your keys, (if you are fortunate enough to be staying that is) and to your left is a short corridor ending with some steps that lead to a big beautifully carved doorway. However, it is almost like they are lulling you into a false sense of security to what lays beyond that door.
As you open the door, you walk into a breathtaking hall, with a classic black and white tiled floor opulent chandeliers and the grand staircase. what hits you immediately is the attention to detail, the luxurious furnishings and just the sheer passion that has gone into restoring the building.
To the right, you find two large double doors that take you into the Ball room, a gargantuas but opulent space, filled with light, crystal chandeliers and beautifully ornate ceiling. You can just image the events, parties and weddings you could host in the space.
Off the ball room, are the "Garden rooms" beautifully appointed ensuite-bedrooms, each with their own character & style, finished to the highest standard. I honestly felt like a child running around exploring. I couldn't believe how many rooms there were to explore, all open to have a little peak into. (which obviously wouldn't be the case when it is full of guests, you wouldn't particularly want people wandering in when your fast a sleep, could you imagine the screams?!)
After exploring the Garden rooms, I made my way back into the ballroom heading back to the ballroom and into the hall, where there are doors leading off, i decided to have a look down the corridor which led to your own private and opulent saloon/bar area which (if my memory serves me correctly) was named in relation to a griffin? (please do not quote me as i frequently get names muddled up) regardless of my iffy knowledge of the name, it is somewhere i could happily spend a while sipping Gin & Tonic.
Leaving the bar area, onto another corridor, you find yourself crossing the most unusual internal bridge, that takes you to a very low entrance way (not ideal for some one 6ft2 with a dodgy back) but i limboed my way through into the private chapel. It had such a calming and serene feel to it, perfect for special ceremonies.
Thankfully as i turned back i noticed a more practical entrance/exit, a rather gothic stair, finished with angel finials and at the top was a heavily carved gothic man sized door way (no limbo required). Instead of going the sensible route i decided to shimmy my way back down to the where i came from, and continues down another route, which took me below the unusual internal bridge area.
Below the Bridged area is a long table, perfect for having meals and sitting with friends in a more informal setting, this space led onto a beautifully appointment pantry area, to allow you to make hot drinks and socialise in a more homely fashion, after all there is only so much opulence one can take, right?!.. Beyond the pantry, is slightly more formal dining area, something that looks fit for a king.
I should have maybe suggested making a cup of tea before sitting down to read this blog, this is by far my longest one so far, i just hope you have made it this far.
Heading back towards the main areas, i found some more bedrooms, tucked away, but
again, impeccably decorated and styled. From speaking with the lovely Rebecca that works at Thicket Priory, she explained that every room has its own story, character and detailing. Which makes it so much more than a conventional room to stay.
I found my way round the lower levels, Exploring more unique bedrooms, finding more staircases, along with a bookcase with a secret staircase that takes you to bedroom suite (well not so secret with me writing about it here now) one of the rooms even has the original silverware safe, which has been converted into a bathroom. (Great for those people who make a lot of noise when on the loo)
Finally i made it back into the main hall and decided it was time to make my way up the grand staircase to explore the upper levels... Light flooding down onto the staircase via the three large leaded windows. What could have easily been a rather haunting and spooky venue has been made into an opulent serene environment.
The first floor houses the main suites and bedrooms, including the grooms suite and the bridal suite. Each room uniquely and beautifully decorated, the rooms on this floor are certainly fit for royalty. The attention to detail is insane, every so often you will find a door with 'pantry' on it. Which are converted cupboard spaces, kitted out in all the facilities to make yourself a hot drinks and a naughty treat from the treat jars filled with Tunnocks tea cakes and the likes.
After exploring the first floor and feeling like Goldie locks, wanting to try every single bed and stay in every room, I decided to make my way up to the next levels. Finding myself on the upper most level that housed the final bedrooms, (which i believe would be technically classified as the Attic rooms) on the corridor, the bedrooms are to the right and on the left are linen cupboard's, a large pantry area and the most adorable ironing room, filled with bobbins, buttons and sewing items. Which I was informed are there for the guests who need to prepare for the big day, but more importantly, every groom that stays is asked to hand sew a button or something into or onto his suit to remember the day by (which i thought was such a beautiful idea)
There was one last surprise, towards the end of the staircase was another doorway, which when i opened the door, revealed a narrow wooden staircase. Admittedly this spooked me a little bit, like in all good horror films, you are either going to get the willies put up you in the basement or the attic. Curiosity obviously got the better of me and i clambered up the stairs into a little room, which had a chair in the corner, bowler hat and suit case. (Not at all creepy for those with overactive imagination) in the other corner was another doorway and another staircase. Clambering again upwards, it led into a viewing tower, with Moroccan day bed piled with pillows and a spy glass and windows all around. This really was the finishing touch to a truly unique venue.
If you ever are fortunate to go along to the venue, you will be in for a treat.
I hope you have enjoyed reading this Blog, subscribe to get notifications of all new posts,
Below are some more images, along with the website link for Thicket Priory