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A place of great theatre and drama

Seaton Delaval may have been one of the architect Sir John Vanbrugh’s smallest country houses; but it was home to the larger than life Delaval family.

The house and surrounding landscape were in keeping with the style expected in Georgian society, yet behind the formality lies a story of theatrical mischief.  

Known as the ‘Gay Delavals’ due to their high spirited and flamboyant lifestyle, an invitation to one of their parties was the hottest ticket in town. In an age notorious for extremes of behaviour, they stood apart as the most notorious of all Georgian partygoers and pranksters. Imagine awaking in the house to find your room “turned upside down” with furniture fixed to the ceiling.

Enter a world where an extraordinary lifestyle was acted out in the most colourful way. The Delavals loved a performance, staging events from rope dancers and sack races outdoors to masquerade balls and even their own theatrical productions, which earned rave reviews at the time.

Seaton Delaval Hall has moved from fortune to misfortune many times through the centuries and the story of its survival is as dramatic as any performance that could be staged. It still bears the scars of the fierce fires which almost condemned it to ruin two hundred years ago, but even today plays a major part in the history of the North East.

Join the party and enjoy the drama.

Robson gets hands on giving the stonemason a hand at Seaton Delaval hall © Maureen Ritson

Robson gets hands on giving the stonemason a hand at Seaton Delaval hall

More Tales from Northumberland

Did you see Seaton Delaval on More Tales from Northumberland? If so, you might have seen Brendan (to the right) the stonemason who is what you might call a 'star'.

If you would like to know more about Brendan and his work, now you can. Come along and meet him on site and see him doing what he does best.

The work

There's a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes to conserve this special place and you can find out exactly what and how the team and volunteers do that, from the people themselves...

Table top talks

The little pink flowers of the Daphne mezereon are a pleasing sight

Every day at 12pm until the end of September there's a 15 minute talk from one of our lovely gardeners. This could be a story about the garden, poetry, a demonstration or something completely different.


Enjoy a gentle stroll through some picturesque areas in Northumberland with the family and dog in tow. You can learn about the Delaval's past and the history of this very fab place.