Castle Howard is located just on the south side of the North Yorkshire Moors in an area called the Howardian Hills area of outstanding natural beauty. The house itself is situated in 1000 acres of land including lakes and woodland. Construction was started in 1699 and it took over 100 years to complete. All this adds up to it making a great place to visit. I was there with my family as it was the setting for the Castle Series triathlon I took part in (post here). The house is part of the Historic Houses Association so we decided whilst we were there to go in and have a look around.
The castle is still used by the Howard family and it is magnificent. One of the first rooms you into is a long gallery full of sculptures reminiscent of the Vatican museum. From there the rooms just keep on impressing with opulence and grandeur throughout. One of the best rooms is the Great Hall which is under the dome. There are still signs of the fire that brought down the dome in 1940 mainly on the scorched wall art. The whole thing has been expertly restored since.
Inside there are also exhibition rooms to look around. Whilst we were there they included an exhibition about the fire (on its 75th anniversary) and one about how the Howard family contributed to England/ Britain’s war efforts throughout history.
Outside there are multiple monuments and outbuildings although most you only look at the exterior. Down by the main lake is the boat house which has a café inside serving delicious cakes. This is next to an outdoor playground so you can sit and relax while the kids are kept entertained. A short walk through the grounds brings you to the Palace of the Four Winds which has majestic views over the surrounding countryside and just beyond that is a bridge where the views are back towards the house.
Elsewhere in the grounds is a hedged part of garden with a large fountain and a walled rose garden which is incredibly cute and posed yet another opportunity for me to take obsessive amounts of flower photos.
Castle Howard is everything I could ever want from an English stately home and it makes a stunning day out. I would highly recommend it. For information about the house and any exhibitions/ events click here.
Have you ever been to Castle Howard? What did you think?