Updated: Jan 15, 2021
Castle Howard is the last stop on our tour of Yorkshire’s Stately Houses, and we really do save the best for last. Considered one of the ten greatest mansions and grand houses in the world, a visit to Castle Howard is a must do for anyone who loves stately homes and gardens. One of ten Treasure Houses of England, and the third we are visiting on his itinerary, Castle Howard features stunning interiors including the iconic gilded dome and an estate of over 9,000 acres, of which 1,000 acres are devoted to parkland and gardens for you to explore. On our visit we will spend a day enjoying the absolute best that Castle Howard has to offer with private tours of the house, gardens, and monuments including the Mausoleum which is closed to the general public.
Home to the Howard family for over 300 years and located in the heart of the Howardian Hills on the edge of the Yorkshire Moors, Castle Howard took over 100 years to complete and was the first architectural project of playwright Sir John Vanbrugh who later designed another of the Treasure Houses of England, Blenheim Palace. You may recognize the spectacular house from film and television where it has played the part of the fictional Brideshead in two adaptations of Evelyn Waugh's Brideshead Revisited.
An impressive array of statues, temples and follies dot the grounds and gardens of Castle Howard. As you explore the grounds taking in the breathtaking views, you will come across the many statues which were originally collected during the 18th century and have found homes amongst the gardens. Keep an eye out for Apollo at the end of the lime walk and The Shepherd Boy near the cascade. One of the most impressive monuments at Castle Howard is the Mausoleum, one of the largest free-standing mausoleums in northern Europe at 90 feet tall. Today the mausoleum remains the private burial place of the Howard family and it is typically closed to the public though on our visit we will enjoy an exclusive visit. Horace Walpole, 4th Earl of Orford famously joked that the Mausoleum was so beautiful that it may tempt one to be buried alive. While it may not be quite as beautiful as that in my opinion, it is certainly a remarkable place all the same. Not to be outdone, The Temple of the Four Winds commands stunning views across the Howardian Hills from its vantage point at the eastern end of Temple Terrace. Modeled after the Villa Rotunda in Northern Italy, the Temple was originally used for reading and eating while enjoying the view.
As you can imagine at this point, a leisurely visit to Castle Howard complete with private tours of the sites, afternoon tea, and time at leisure to relax or do some shopping for souvenirs, is the perfect way to cap off a spectacular week exploring the very best stately houses of Yorkshire. You will be enchanted by the splendor of the house and you will enjoy the collections of fine art while hearing the tales of the Howard family over the centuries. If this sounds like the perfect day out, then take a look at our Magnificent Stately Homes of Yorkshire tour by clicking here.