THE GARDENS at East Riddlesden Hall are in full bloom and looking fantastic.

There are splashes of colour and fragrant aromas in every corner and the peaceful sound of bird chatter filling the air.

This month we’re stepping outdoors and getting closer to nature with tours of the Culpepper inspired herb border every Monday from 1pm to 2pm. We’ll be encouraging visitors to get close, touch, smell and taste the herbs.

Herbs have amazing properties, and one particular herb growing here is comfrey (also known as knitbone). This herb has been prized since ancient times and would have been used by the people who once lived at East Riddlesden Hall to help heal broken bones and other external wounds.

During the tour we’ll be explaining how herbs are used in daily life. A 30-minute cookery demonstration will follow in the kitchen after the tour for anyone wishing to see some of the garden herbs being put to good use.

We’ll take a look at some of the challenges that were faced in kitchens 400 years ago and find out how meals were traditionally prepared without the luxury of modern day gadgets.

As a conservation charity, it’s really important to us to keep our gardens looking beautiful without causing any harm to the environment or to wildlife. We don’t use slug pellets, we only use organic fertiliser on the flower beds, and we’d love to share the secrets of our organic techniques with others.

The greener gardening tour will take place every Tuesday between 2.30pm and 3.30pm. A relaxed approach will be taken with this tour and visitors will discover just how easy it is to use these methods at home to help their own garden become wildlife friendly.

On Monday, June 12, volunteer Alison will be leading a one hour walk across the fields and meadows at 11.30am.

East Riddlesden Hall was traditionally used by the farming community who lived and worked here, and today its home to an array of stunning wildlife. The walk will uncover historic traces of this former agricultural estate whilst allowing visitors to soak up views of the River Aire.

The family ‘muck in’ days have been really popular and the extra pairs of hands have been much appreciated by the team of outdoor staff and volunteers. We’ll be continuing with these sessions in June and July with some himalayan balsam bashing.

Himalayan balsam is a non-native species which prevents traditional wild flowers from growing and flourishing, and it’s also a fun and easy activity for the whole family to get involved with.

The sessions will run between 10.30am 12.30pm on June 17, and July 1, 15 and 29. No specialist equipment is needed, just suitable outdoor clothing and footwear and a pair of gloves if possible (which can be provided if needed).

All walks, tours and activities are free but admission charges apply for non-National Trust members. Under fives are free.

East Riddlesden Hall is open Saturdays to Wednesdays from 10.30am to 4.30pm, last admission 4pm. Visit or call 01535 607075 for further information.