Castle Howard // York.

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A couple of years ago, I had a unique opportunity to go work at Castle Howard with the rest of my college class, for an outdoors theatre production of ‘Alice in Wonderland’. I was studying Drama, but as we were one of the younger classes, this was a chance for us to gain some experience by being part of the production crew. I was chosen to work on the box office, and it was an amazing opportunity. Not only did I learn a lot, and have an amazing experience as part of this crew, but it also meant that I got see the beauty of Castle Howard and its grounds almost every day, for two weeks.

Last year, I was feeling a little nostalgic and decided that I wanted to visit Castle Howard again. So we hopped in the car and made the 45 minute journey there.

I thought maybe it might be a very different experience from the first time I visited, and I was right. When I went there with college, although it was still lovely being surrounded by such rich history and beauty everyday, it very much felt like a working environment. Whereas this time, I got to experience all the little things that I didn’t have a chance to experience last time.

From the second you begin to approach Castle Howard, you are greeted by historic, grand monuments. It’s almost as if the grounds are giving you a taste of what’s to come. Once you actually arrive at the house, you first enter the courtyard. Filled with shops, and a dainty café, the courtyard is an elegant welcome for any visitor. Now that I think of it, there was quite a lot of shops in this one courtyard. They have a gift shop, a grocery shop, and even a butchers! Plus, many more.

But of course, it’s once you’ve passed through the courtyard, and through the barriers where you pay, that the real magic begins.

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The pretty rose lined wall inside of the entrance.

If you would like a little drive around the grounds, there is a mini train/car that picks up visitors at the entrance. I believe they are on a schedule, so if the train gets too full or you miss it, you don’t have too long to wait before the next one comes along. We decided that we were just going to walk around the grounds instead. We had plenty of time, so before we started to explore, we visited one of the cafés, which was actually inside the house. At this point, a cup of tea was very much needed. The journey there should have only taken us 45 minutes, but there was a lot of traffic that day, so we were in need of a rest and a nice drink.

The café was surprisingly quite full. Although it was a cloudy day, it was still Summer so there was just as many people sat outside, as there was inside. We were a little bit chilly though, so we opted to sit inside. The interior of the café was cosy and comfortable. Even though it was a little busy, we were very happy at our table with our lovely cups of tea. We also ordered cake too!

Once we were fuelled up with tea, we opted to tour the house first. I actually didn’t get a chance to go inside the house the first time I visited Castle Howard, so I was very excited to experience, what I heard, was a very beautiful interior….I wasn’t disappointed! Each room has its own character. There is not one single part of this house, that isn’t elegant and grandeur. I was so pleased that I had the opportunity to see the interior of the house this time; it really was a wonderful treat!

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The central dome. Something you have to see in person whether you’re an art lover or not – it’s a masterpiece!

 

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(Slightly blurry – sorry!)

 

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After we had finished our tour around the house, we then sauntered around the many gardens, and grounds. As I said, it was Summer, but it was quite cloudy. One minute it seemed quite warm, and the next we were sure it was going to rain. That didn’t dampen our spirits though, and we thoroughly enjoyed the relaxing walk.

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Hmmm….was this Summer or Autumn!?

 

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Although I’ve now visited Castle Howard twice, I would almost definitely visit again! There’s so much to take in. Plus, a house like this just never gets boring…

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If you would like any other information on the beautiful Castle Howard, and it’s picturesque grounds, please visit the website: http://www.castlehoward.co.uk/

{{ A few little extra facts:
~ Construction of the house begun in 1699, and took over 100 years to complete.
~ At first the design of the house didn’t include its grand central dome. It was added quite late in the process of the construction of the house.
~ It has been in the Howard family since its inception.
~ Part of the house was destroyed in 1940 after a fire broke out. It destroyed several rooms and artefacts. However, in later years these rooms were successfully restored.
 ~ In 1981, Castle Howard was the filming location of the television adaptation of ‘Brideshead Revisited’. It was also the location of the 2008 film adaption.
 ~ In 2003, ‘Time Team’ excavated the grounds, in search of a local lost village. }}

 

 

 

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