Castle Howard

A distinctive grand house in the Yorkshire countryside, one of the largest country houses in England, Castle Howard has been the home of the Carlisle branch of the Howard family for more than 300 years. It is best known as the setting for both the 1981 Brideshead Revisited TV series, and 2008 Brideshead Revisited feature film. Work on the house started in 1699 and it took 100 years to complete.

It is unusual among English stately homes for the size and grandeur of it’s dome, centrepiece of the aptly named Great Hall. This is a hugely impressive entrance into the building. Unfortunately the original and about a third of the house was destroyed by an electrical fire in 1940 and have been reconstructed from black and white photographs.

Visiting the house you enter through a side entrance, leading along the atmospheric Antique Passage before reaching the Great Hall. This is filled with mementos from the Howard family grand tours of Europe.

I was a little confused by the statues with pots on their heads…

Only 15 of the 145 rooms in the building are open to the public, and are pretty standard for a house of this size and era.

The Chapel is beautifully ornate, with works by Pre-Raphaelite artists William Morris and Edward Burne-Jones, and a stunning ceiling based on a Holbein design.

Outside the Atlas Fountain was installed in the 1850s.

The gardens are extensive, and weren’t at their best in a heat wave in mid-summer, but were worth an explore.

The South Lake was fashioned in the 1720s and provides a pleasant setting to view the house. On the otherside is the Great Lake, built 70 years later.

Built in the early 1700s the Temple of the Four Winds was used for refreshments and reading. It’s a bit of a walk from the house but gives the views back across the South Lake above, and further to the New River Bridge and Mausoleum.

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