101 places to go – Castle Howard

We’re fairly spoiled when it comes to historic attractions in the UK. You only need to take a look at some of our previous ‘101 places to go’ entries to see enough heritage attractions to fill several holidays – and we’re not even halfway through! But the best thing about Castle Howard near York is that it’s a historic attraction with a difference.

For starters emphasis needs to be put on the fact that it’s a stately home. The Howard family have resided in the house for over 300 years so the visitor experience is far removed from what you might experience at a stuffy and lifeless museum. You’ll find the main house is delightfully inviting and filled with an amazing array of stunning features. Though, as it’s a family home, the house is closed in low season – but that doesn’t matter because there are a wealth of things to explore and enjoy in the grounds. Here are a few of Castle Howard’s many high points. Let us know if we’ve missed any by leaving a comment below.

• The house and gardens look festively fantastic in the winter months and the Howards are keen to play to these strengths by offering a packed schedule of events. There are Christmas markets in the courtyard, dinner and dancing in the main hall, tours of the house, visits from Santa and more!

• Castle Howard’s stunning façade is undeniably attractive – so much so that you may have already seen it without paying a visit. Not only did it feature in both screen adaptations of Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited (the classic TV adaptation and the perfectly passable film one) but notorious perfectionist Stanley Kubrick used it as an exterior location for his film Barry Lyndon in 1975.

• Some people say a property’s garden is like an extra room, which basically means Castle Howard has another castle outside! There are formal gardens, an arboretum, walled gardens, an adventure playground, a mausoleum and more. We’d recommend factoring a tour of the gardens into your visit. In fact, you can quite easily spend as much time taking a trip round the grounds than you can investigating the interior, which makes Castle Howard a superior all-weather attraction.

If you’d like somewhere to stay then take a look at our featured holiday cottages in York.

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