About Castle Howard
Castle Howard in Yorkshire is a magnificent 17th century stately home nestled among 1,000 acres of landscaped gardens and woodlands which has become a hugely popular visitor attraction.
The imposing architecture of Castle Howard was constructed from 1699 for the 3rd Earl of Carlisle and took over one hundred years to complete. Technically a stately home, not a castle, it is decorated in a baroque style, designed by John Vanbrugh. Despite no architectural experience, Vanbrugh managed to pull off an impressive feat.
Despite the ambitious original designs, looking at the house today it is somewhat uncoordinated. The sheer length of time and the number of Earls that oversaw the building of the house means that it is quite mismatched in design. Later Earls did not adhere to the original plans so the house therefore displays a varied array of architecture.
Sadly, much of the original house is no longer present today. Extensive fire damage in 1940 means that a large amount of the building had to be restored. A long and tireless project of restoration has brought much of the house back to life, but as yet the east wing remains a shell.
The survival of the house today is owed to George Howard. After the Howard family was devastated by losses during the second world war, the estate was expected to be divided and sold. George returned from war wounded and miraculously undertook the task of rebuilding and restoring the house. In 1952 he opened the estate to the public.
The house provides a wealth of art, architecture and history to see and explore. Paintings, tapestries, sculpture and furniture have been collected over the Howard generations. Guides are present all over the house to inform you of its history and tours of the house and garden are available with admission.
The house is not the only attraction of this estate; 1000 acres of woodland walks and lakeside footpaths provide visitors with a chance to see the beautifully landscaped grounds and rich horticulture.
The features of the grounds include the rose and vegetables gardens, the Ray Wood arboretum, fountains, lakes, the mausoleum and the statue collection.
Castle Howard is perfect for a family day out; activities and playgrounds provide amusement for children and the land train provides fun transport around the gardens.
Contributed by Rebecca Carman