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castle howard a great day out
Castle Howard Statley Home (York)
Member Name: jillycat
Castle Howard Statley Home (York)
Date: 02/07/09, updated on 04/07/09 (642 review reads)
Advantages: lots of different things to do
Disadvantages: can be expenisve to get in unless using a discount way
Castle Howard is a short 20 minute drive from where we live in York and it's a place that we have been to several times over the years. Our latest visit was a couple of months ago and the first in which we have taken our young son. I will describe our experience and thoughts of the place under the various headings about the place rather than a separate section on this occasion
Where is it
Castle Howard is located just 15 miles north east of York, just off the A64 in the direction of Malton and Scarborough.
By Bus: There isn't a direct bus route that covers York to castle Howard but you can plan a route that will take you there using the following website www.yorkshiretravel.net
By Rail: the nearest railway station is Malton. Trains arrive frequently from York and taxis are available at the station (cost approx £12.00 one way - please confirm price with your taxi driver before your journey). Alternatively hope on a bus from Malton Bus Station (opposite Malton railway station) - see www.yorkshiretravel.net for details.
About castle Howard.
Most people may have heard of Castle Howard in relation to the both the TV series and Film Brideshead Revisited which was film at Castle Howard. The inside of the castle as well as the grounds were used for all the filming and there is a section of the castle which is devoted an exhibition of the filming of these. The parts that were destroyed by the fire have been used for the filming of inside shots of the castle because they can construct backdrops as they need and with the high ceilings there is plenty of space for both lighting and camera shots.
The gardens are extensive with lots of fountains and walks to keep you entertained. There is a rose garden which looks lovely at this time of year. There are several follies both within the grounds and out with which can be reach by a short walk. The walks within the grounds are very well signposted and you get a free leaflet with your admission price showing you the various walks and attractions. One of the walks takes you to the lake and in the summer you can take a boat ride on the lake.
Inside the castle as with most stately homes you follow a set course around the house. When we went with our son we had our baby backpack carrier and he loved looking at a great height at the house especially the pictures and in one section particularly the new exhibition they have about children's books.
The castle Howard website describes the castle as such:
"The construction of Castle Howard took more than 100 years before it could be said to have been finally completed, and spanned the lifetime of three earls and numerous architects and craftsmen. As the house was built and decorated so the grounds were filled with lakes, temples, monuments and a grand mausoleum. A thriving estate grew up encompassing several villages and acres of farmland.
The single most significant event since the day it was built has been the calamitous fire of 1940, which destroyed the dome and nearly 20 rooms, as well as numerous treasures. For the next few years much of Castle Howard was open to the skies, its once splendid rooms gutted shells. George Howard, who inherited the house, after the deaths in action of his two brothers in World War Two, determined that the house should be lived in once more, and made the bold decision to recover Vanbrugh's architectural masterpiece.
It is largely due to his remarkable efforts that Castle Howard is today home to the family, and enjoys such enormous popularity with the public. In 1960-62 the dome was rebuilt and redecorated, and in 1981, in conjunction with Granada Television and the filming of Brideshead Revisited, the Garden Hall was rebuilt. As time and money permit, the gradual task of restoring the fire-damaged sections continues. In the early 1980s a New Library was built; in 1994-95 the Central Block was re-roofed. "
If you want any further information there is a very detailed part of the website about the building and construction of the castle.
There are 1,000 acres of Gardens which are stunning whatever the time of year we have been both in autumn and seen the leaves turning, the spring as the crocus's are blooming and the summer for the rose garden. Delightful walks reveal in turn hidden glades and breathtaking views. With many terrace walks and lakeside paths, memorable sights include the Atlas Fountain and the Temple of the Four Winds. Dogs are welcome but must be on a lead at all times
The children's play area
Our new lakeside adventure playground is now open to visitors. Guaranteed to light up children's eyes the new equipment, a mix of traditional and high energy pieces, is abstract and visually stunning. It offers children of all age's energetic and challenging play - and it's suitable for adults too! The new timber equipment ensures the new playground complements the natural environment of the woodland setting. "
This is an amazing area my son even though he is just a toddler loved playing on the slide and play house area and you could see older children whooping with delight as they climbed and scrambled all over the area in the tunnels, rope bridges swings. I think this is an area he will love going back to over the years to come.
"During the school holidays we offer a daily programme of adventure trails and weekend activity workshops. These are included in the admission price and there is no need to pre-book - just turn up and join in the fun. Adventure trails include: Dragons & Unicorns, The Lazy Giant, The Fairy Twins and the Stone Storybook."
We haven't tried this but I would image it would be fun for the little darlings
Castle Howard runs lots of events through out the year from wine tasting to craft events to escorted walks and talks. The most popular events are the summer proms which is a great evening using the natural amphitheater of the grounds heading down to the lake you can listen to music as the sun goes down. Some events are free of charge and you just need to book a place. Others you will need to pay extra for and the prices of which vary so I wont put that information in but you can visit their website for all of that information.
We have been to see a couple of years ago Beautiful South and it was a fantastic evening the parking was easy to use with lots of on site eating and drinking facilities as well as toilets. You are able to take your own picnic and I know for the proms evenings its not uncommon to see people in full evening dress
Shops and eating
There is local produce in the award-winning Farm Shop, handmade confectionery in the Chocolate Shop and estate grown plants, trees and shrubs in the Plant Centre. The Carriage House sells home lifestyle goods and accessories, and the Bookshop has something in interest bookworms of all ages. Shoppers can enjoy seasonal menus in the Courtyard Café. There is no charge to enter the Stable Courtyard and these shops
Within the grounds there is a choice of two places to eat these are the Fitzroy Room, a traditional self-service restaurant within the castle selling very yummy cakes and scones. There is also the Lakeside Kiosk, which they state is "family friendly venue" this is next to the lake and children's adventure park and also has an ice-cream stall. The service we have found there is very slow and not cheap just under £10 for two sandwiches and two hot drinks. They also get a delivery from the house of the hot items such as soup and this generally isn't available till just after 12. There are only a few highchairs available here despite its claim as of family friendly. But the one we used was clean and had a five point harness. The nappy changing facilities at this area were lovely and spacious and clean with a nappy bin provide so you don't have to carry that dirty nappy around with you during the rest of your visit.
Admission times and prices:
Times: House opens 11.00am with last admissions at 4.00pm. The Gardens open 10.00am until 6.30pm (dusk in winter). The Stable Courtyard Shops, Café and Plant Centre open 10.00am until 5.00pm. Please note in the low season the Courtyard Café closes at 4.00pm.
House & Gardens adult £11.00
Gardens Only Adult £8.50
Now for a cheeky bit of information about prices. We were able to get a two for one admission because castle Howard offer this as a discount to people on presentation of a valid NHS identification card. Now I know this is done for our local PCT but I guess if your visiting from another area it would be worth trying to see if you to could have this discount.
A hearing loop is located in the Ticket Office. Facilities for wheelchair users, and those with restricted mobility, includes designated parking, onsite land-transport with disabled access and wheelchair loans. Wheelchairs can access to all areas of the House except for the Chapel and first floor of the Exhibition Wing. Access to the public rooms is by wheelchair lift (maximum weight of 190kg, size 1295mm x 710mm wide). In the Gardens paths and entrances are ramped for easy access. Assistance dogs are welcome.
Babies and Toddlers: Pushchairs are not permitted in the house, but can be stored in a pushchair holding area. (This is a manned area at thee start of the house so it's nice and secure) 'Hip-seats' can be borrowed to assist in carrying children (6 months - 3 years old) through the House we didn't use this as we had our backpack and they were more than happy for us to us this around the house as well as the grounds. Nappy changing facilities can be found in the house, lakeside and courtyard toilets.
Castle Howard Estate Ltd
Tel: +44 (0)1653 648 444 * Fax: +44 (0)1653 648 529
This is a great tourist attraction with lots of things to do and see I haven't described the plant centre or the arboretum which is a separate visitors attraction as I haven't visited either of these.
Summary: a great tourist attraction for all the family lots of outdoor things to see and play
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