Friday, June 3, 2011

Castle Howard

I've seen a lot of castles through the years in France, Germany, Belgium and now many more in England since we've lived there. I have some favorites on my list, and after visiting Castle Howard, near York, I'll be adding one more to that list.

Stately and grand do not begin to describe this 18th century Baroque house just 15 miles from York in the rolling Howardian Hills. Designed by Sir John Vanbrugh for the third Earl of Carlisle, the house and gardens have seen 3 centuries of improvements by craftsmen and gardeners. It is currently the home of Hon. Simon and Mrs. Howard along with their two small children.

If it looks familiar, it might be because it had a starring role in the 1981 TV series, "Brideshead Revisited" and its cinema remake in 2008. Not truly a castle, it is more precisely an English country house, one of the largest in fact, with 145 rooms.

A portion of the house was destroyed by a fire in 1940, with most of the house now having been restored by the family through the years. The current owner grew up living in this house being surrounded by some amazing art, statue and porcelain collections known worldwide for their beauty and value.

Can you imagine living in such splendor? The Great Hall is the masterpiece of the home,

boasting a 70 foot beautifully painted dome which came crashing down in the fire of 1940.

It has since been restored to its early splendor.

Touring the furnished rooms was a real treat. We started in Lady Georgiana's bedroom. Georgiana Cavendish married the 6th Earl of Carlisle, uniting the homes of Castle Howard and Cavendish.

The Castle Howard Bedroom with its suite of satinwood furniture from 1777-1789.

The Crimson Dining Room with its Crown Derby dessert set dating from 1796-1801

and a little child's chair sitting at the corner. See the porcelain child's bowl in front of his place? Just like the one your children use for their bowl of Cheerios, right?

The colors in the Turquoise Drawing Room were striking--I love red and turquoise together. This room holds several important pieces of art in the family collection including paintings by Sir Joshua Reynolds, Frederic Leighton, and Thomas Gainsborough.

The day we visited we were fortunate to be able to visit the Temple of the Four Winds which has been  used as a place for refreshment and reading. A cellar was located below the Temple where servants would have stored and prepared food.

The cube, with dome and porticos was originally called the Temple of Diana

and boasts beautiful stucco work in its interior. The current Hon. Simon Howard married his bride there in 2001.

The vista from the Temple has a commanding view over some of the 1000 acres of gardens

with its collection of lakes, waterfalls, and fountains.

One could easily spend the day touring the gardens just to find all its follies--the Obelisk, the Pyramid, the Memorial Column, the gates and avenues, the Mausoleum and the Mock Fortifications. And of course, the color throughout the year is always changing with the seasons--we loved our view of the daffodils, cherry trees and rhododendrons. 

So much more I could share with you, if there was only space. I think though, that you might see why this castle has made it to my favorites list. Do you have a favorite that you've visited?

And I think I'm headed to Netflix next to request a copy of "Brideshead Revisited."
If you've seen it, would you recommend it?


  1. one word- breathtaking! I can't image living there. That is one castle I have always wanted to see in person. Brideshead revisited was not as good as the real deal(in my humble opinion).

    It was so good to spend a little time with my son. They were so excited about their trip. Dorothy's uncle loaned them his cabin. Jeff would like to retire there. I told him to visit in the winter.....

    Big hugs,

  2. That is what I was just thinking when you said it, no I can not imagane growing up in a house like that!!!
    Thank you for stopping by my blog, about how much do think a mug would cost? Would 10 be too cheap or are we looking at $20?

  3. That is a most impressive property! I would love to see it one day.

    I haven't seen the newest version by the way. Have you heard any more about it? Hope it's good if you see it!

    Best wishes and happy week,

  4. Do the current owners live in a very separate part of the castle? I loved the little child's chair and bowl.

  5. I always fell sufocated when i see this kind of architeture, but i loved the turquoise drawing room. The paints have always so dark back...but the gardens are really amazing!
    Thank you for share...God bless you and your beautiful family!
    anonymous from Brazil

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