Castle Howard is a stately home located in North Yorkshire, England. It is a private home belonging to and occupied, by the Howard family for over 300 years now. Castle Howard is not really a castle; it gained its name because it was built in an area where a former castle had been.

Spreading out over one thousand acres of land, Castle Howard is one of the greatest stately homes in the United Kingdom. It was built in 1699 and is famous for appearing on television and in films. Its most famous appearance owes to the television series Brideshead Revisited. It was also used in the show’s two-hour cinema adaptation in 2008. it is now a part of a group of heritage houses in Treasure Houses of England. Throughout all this, it remains home to the Howard family.

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The Howard’s are kind enough to allow tours of their prestigious home (at a fee), where guests are allowed to view the interior, breath-taking rooms filled with well-known furniture collections, artworks, and sculptures by various painters, such as Titian and Gainsborough. The home has many statues, temples, and fountains adding to its beauty.

There are also multiple rose gardens and ornamental vegetable gardens for guests who enjoy the greenery. All of them consist of beautiful, narrow views through the Howardian Hills, which themselves are a work of art and are breathtaking in their natural beauty. In the captivating Ray Wood, guests can discover remarkable botanical collections sourced from every part of the world. The estate houses the 120-acre Yorkshire Arboretum.

Right next to the estate, guests will find a perfect scenic area, known as North York Moors National Park. This park allows visitors to wind up on the coastal tracks and climb up the steep valleys, relax, and forget their problems in the heather-clad moorland. Guests can also discover aromatic pine forests; if lucky there are sometimes badgers, hawks, and roe deer along the pathway.

The Building Of Castle Howard

Construction of Castle Howard took more than one hundred years to complete, spreading over three Earls. The third Earlecruited the help of his friend, the dramatist John Vanbrugh. Vanburgh had never built anything previously before, so he recruited Nicholas Hawksmoor to help him in the hands-on portion of the project, which consisted of the design. This took place between 1699 and 1702.

Sadly, at the time of John Vanbrugh’s death in 1726, the house was incomplete. There was still a west wing to be built; attention had now been turned to landscaping the floral gardens found on the castle premises. The third Earl also passed on before the castle was complete in 1738. The house was completed later on by the son-in-law of Sir Thomas Robinson, Carlisle. He brought Vanbrugh’s flashy design down to Earth by adding his own Palladian wing. Looking at the castle from the outside gives the viewer an unbalanced appearance of the structure and so the many guests that visit this house have noticed the disconnectedness built just by looking at the house.

The castle is built in an elongated way and formed shape in just below ten years. By the year 1975, when a carving of the house appeared in Vitruvius Britannicus (The British Architect), the outside of the house had already been complete, and the interior was lavishly finished, as well. The overall building of Castle Howard was finished between 1801 to 1811, with Tatham decorating the Long Gallery.

More alterations to the Castle were made when the attic pavilions on both sides of the wings were removed during the refurbishment of the chapel, between 1870 and 1875, as part of a plan to bring both wings into congruence.

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The Fire

On November 9, 1940, a fire broke out at Castle Howard. It began as a fire from the chimney in the southeast corner of South Front and made its way through the building. Strong winds encouraged the fire to move on and destroy the basement rooms, the upper levels, and the dome, which crushed right into the Great Hall.

George Howard and Lady Cecilia managed to restore Castle Howard back into a family home and save the heritage attraction. Between 1960 and 1962, the dome was built up again, then redecorated in 1981 with the help of Grenada Television and Brideshead Revisited.

Currently, the final appearance of the house is asymmetrical and only has a small portion of the idealized view in The British Architect. Instead of the two wings being identical, the house carries two wings that do not match at all and do not carry the vision that Vanbrugh’s Baroque had, as now that vision is challenged by Palladian’s afterthoughts.

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Is Castle Howard a fine stately home?

Looking at the castle structure, although now ruined from asymmetry, one can tell that this is a monumental structure and deserves all praise; even more ore so when including all the extra features of a garden, the statues, and views. The location and scenic view of Castle Howard make it one of the finest stately homes in England. The rest of the house that was not ruined by the fourth Earl stands firm and is worthy of compliment. The interior design of the house shows that much thought was put in before building it. Spanning over a course of more than a hundred years, the Castle Howard is a fine home.

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