Things to do in Yorkshire, England – Castle Howard

I couldn’t wait to get to Yorkshire and explore. My plan is to visit at least two places in the UK each month. There have to be places I’ve never been to before.

What is Castle Howard?

Castle Howard is a beautiful 18th century stately home with 1,000 acres of picturesque grounds. You might recognize the house itself from the film and TV productions of Brideshead Revisited.

Castle Howard
Castle Howard, Yorkshire, England

The family still resides in a part of the house, with other parts being made open to the public for tours. I was surprised to find the house absolutely full to the top with antiquities. We recently visited Paris and some of the artwork reminded me of the Louvre – this was not exactly what I was expecting from a stately home in Yorkshire! During the house tour, you get to sneak a peek at a couple of bedrooms complete with lavish four-poster beds, walk through the halls decorated with portraits of various Howards through the years, marvel at the painted ceiling in the Great Hall, and take in the extremely intricate detail of the serene chapel.

The Great Hall
The Great Hall, Castle Howard

Personally, my favorite part of the house was seeing how the house had changed over the years. You can see how the house was built and then rebuilt after a devastating fire in 1940. Some of the damage has been preserved and that area is currently used as a Brideshead exhibition.

What is there to do at Castle Howard?

Besides the house tour already mentioned, the grounds are impressive. There are 1,000 acres to explore including a farm shop, cafe, various gardens, fountains, a temple, boating lake (with tours), an adventure playground, and woodland (with tours).

Don’t forget there is also a restaurant and gift shop located in the house.

Where is it?

Castle Howard is in the Howardian Hills, an area of outstanding natural beauty 15 miles from York.

Why did we go?

The size of the estate and the various facilities there are what drew us to Castle Howard. We were looking for somewhere we could spend all day and enjoy the scenery on the drive too.

The Temple of The Four Winds
The Temple of The Four Winds, Castle Howard

A tour of Castle Howard in North Yorkshire England

Best bits?

I loved exploring the vast grounds, especially the woodland, lakes, and stunning views of the Yorkshire countryside. It was a great experience to wander around taking photographs and imagining what life was like residing at Castle Howard over the years. The best view was standing out at the Temple of the Four Winds and taking in the breath-taking 360-degree view of Yorkshire. Also, the hot food in the restaurant was great value for money (due to the generous portion size) and was just what we needed on a sunny but blustery April day.

Worst bits?

We didn’t have time to see all of the grounds – even though we spent 5 and a half hours at Castle Howard! The parts we missed were the rose garden, ornamental vegetable garden, farm shop, garden center, and boat trips across the lake.

Would we go again?

Definitely, yes. It was a brilliant day out. Also if you have kids, which we don’t, they really seemed to enjoy the adventure playground and the woodland. We could often hear shrieks of excitement as we were wandering around the grounds.

If you would like to know more, here is a link to Castle Howard’s website.

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