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Castle Howard

The Howards of Castle Howard ‘originate’ from Lord William Howard (1563 – 1640) the youngest son of Thomas Howard, 4th Duke of Norfolk (who was beheaded in 1572). Designed in 1699 by Sir John Vanbrumgh the house took 100 years to complete.

Howard Castle was built after the reign of old King Henry VIII, but the Howards of today are still relatives of the sometimes devious and always interesting Howards of the Tudor era. And this is how: basically the royal skeletons in the Howard closet stem back to Thomas Howard, the 3rd Duke of Norfolk – who was a major instigator behind the Howard marriages of Anne Boleyn and Katherine Howard. The 3rd Duke of Norfolk was a distinguished soldier and inherited his title in 1524 on the death of his father. Norfolks power increased when his niece, Anne Boleyn became Henry’s mistress (and later, his wife and mother to Princess and later Queen Elizabeth I).

Once Henry had had Anne beheaded (and his third wife Jane Seymour had died – a natural death - and he had been estranged from his fourth wife, Anne of Cleves) Henry took fancy on +_16 year old Katherine Howard. Henry called her his ‘rose without a thorn’ and they were married at Oatlands Palace on 28 July 1540. But it was not to last… By this time Henry was old and gross (think a stinky, oozing wounds…) and Katherine was young, beautiful and a queen, with the world at her fingertips. She also had suitors and after less than two years on the throne was beheaded for treason (read adultery!)

Anyway, history lesson aside, that’s how the Howards were linked to King H. VIII.

In 1940 a fire devastated the dome and numerous interiors and priceless works of art. Restoration begun after the war in 1950, and is ongoing today (visitors are reminded on the website that every ticket helps to pay for further restorations and upkeep & if you want to visit the website go to Castle Howard can and has been used film shoots – ever watched Brideshead Revisited? Some of the sets from the film still stand in rooms that haven’t been refurbished yet, which is kinda cool.

Today Howard Castle is open to the public. If you want to have a look around the house – which I totally recommend – then it’s best to go during summer (16 March – 1 November & 28 November – 20 December) cause the house is closed to visitors during winter. Actually – what’s quite cool is that when you tour the house you go through rooms that guests of the Howards who now live there (Hon. Simon Howard, his 2nd wife and their twins) will stay in during the winter months. The house is open from 11:00 – 16:00 (from what I can work out from Monday to Sunday), the gardens from 10:00 – 18:30 (dusk in winter), the shops from 10:00 – 17:00. The pricing looks like this:

Adult Concession Kids (4 – 16) Family (2 +2)

House & Garden £11 £10 £7 £29

Gardens (summer) £8.50 £8 £6 £23

Gardens (winter) £5 £4 £2.50 NA.

Assistance dogs are welcome (as are those on leads) and there is also wheelchair access and hearing loops available

One of the cool things about visiting is that there are guides located in almost every room of the house, who are more than willing to explain the history and usage behind the room(s) and the items in it. In this manner I found out that the Estate has 100 000 acres of land!!!! When I heard this I kept a straight face and just nodded – obviously

Enjoy a couple of pics that we took... (just to be different I put them in back to front - nothing to do with my getting it wrong!)

In full glory...

Someone enjoyed our company so much he blocked the exit!

A little roof decoration!

A fresco in the chapel

Apparently this artist loved little breads...

joke revealed!

The information about the image below...

A photo of the drawing by Michelangelo

Head Turner?

The long gallery from the left...

And from the right!

This box has all the names of the owners admirers inscribed under the lid!

The drawing room: anyone for a game of backgammon?

or possibly a lie on the sofa?

Dining room chandeliers - understated charm / a bit of bling?

The dinner service seen here (set for dessert) is no longer made in this colour (yellow) because the metal used made the plate makers a little crazy - no jokes!

The ornate pillars.

This fire place is quite special - the chimney doesn't go straight up, but rather through the sides! Also you might be wondering what the black face is just above the fire place? It was de rigeur to have a black slave boy when the house was built. This slave boy is represented here, looking up to his master above him!

Looking up to the second level!

Opposite the fire place, this is the decoration you will find!

Looking up to the angel (roof) - an angelic scene!

Guess who this is: he is often refered to in wine writing...

He lives down this passage - some spectacular busts here!

A little reflective photography

If I'm not mistaken, that chest of drawers is the oldest item in the room!

An elegant bed

We were on the one side of the 'house' this window looks out onto the other - nevermind all that's in between!

A little solitaire?

If you were friends of the Howards you too could sleep here on a winters night!

Aah! The collection of plates.

First impressions count

Looking across at the rest of the house just before walking inside

A small section of the house

and a bit more...

and a bit more!

oh, and why not... a bit more.

Ian, Janet & Meebs pose for the camera

roses in bloom in the rose garden

Doesn't everyone have walls and gates like these around their rose garden?

Lavender & roses

Monster khoi fish lurk beneath the water lillies

Trimmed trees amongst the bushes

the green run-way

Leaving the rose garden, we walked through a brief leafy zone and came across this!


Rolling hills in your back yard - nice!



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