An 18th century winter residence of Viscount Fairfax with the interiors created by the leading York architect John Carr. This is considered to be the finest example of a Georgian town house in England. Rooms is fully furnished with interiors of the period, including dining tables set out with replica meals, for instance.
After a twentieth century spell as a dance hall, then cinema, followed by a time of neglect, it was bought by the Civic Trust and restored to its former glory, recreating an aristocratic Georgian lifestyle.
(If you are interested in architecture a video gives an overview, from the point of view of the Civic Trust.)
Much of the furniture and a good number of the other items in the house come from the collection of Noel Terry, a scion of the eponymous York chocolate company. The painstaking attention to detail helps to convey a feel for life in a wealthy 18th century home.
Tip The volunteer guides are helpful, chatty and very knowledgeable. Shop has unusual souvenirs. One downside is that no photography is allowed. Admission for children is free, though walking round Fairfax House probably isn’t every child’s idea of fun.
Tip If you can go on a Monday, there are one-hour guided tours at 11 am and 2pm. (Arrive around ten minutes before the hour.)
Otherwise beware of the complicated opening hours (Mon 11am & 2pm (guided tours only); Tue – Sat 10 am – 5 pm; Sun 11am – 4pm. CLOSED Jan-mid Feb)
TIME Allow around an hour