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Please check with garden owners or their website to confirm current dates open
House Open Daily from 11am to 4pm (last admission) from 22 March to 2 November, and 22 November to 21 December 2014
Grounds, shops and caf s open daily all year from 10am to 5.30pm (dusk in winter). Shops and caf s close at 5pm (4pm in winter)
Grounds only: Adults £9.50; Children (5-16) £6; Senior Citizens & Students £9; Under 5s Free; Family (2+2) £25
House and Ground: Adults £14; Child (5 -16) £7.50; Senior Citizens & Students £12; Under 5s Free; Family (2+2) £35.50
Groups of 12 or over - rates available.
Annual Pass: Adult from £40; see own website
Magnificent 18th century house, extensive collections and sweeping parklands with temples, lakes, fountains and the famous Rose Garden. Outdoor daily tours (during house opening), exhibitions and events, adventure playground and boat trips, free illustrated trail for children. Talks, tours and study days available for groups. In all, a great day out!
Stone Trough, Kirkham The Grapes, Slingsby
The original garden was intended purely to provide fruit and vegetables for the house but soon afterwards a major tree planting programme began and then the South parterre was laid out and ornamental statuary installed. By the middle of the 18th century it had doubled in size and a hundred years later W. A. Nesfield re-designed it in a much more elaborate pattern, with the famous Atlas Fountain at its centre. This was simplified by Lady Rosalind at the end of the 19th century to the less high maintenance design visible today. The major feature of the garden is the fabulous rose collection of over 2,000 varieties laid out in the old Walled Garden near the house. It actually consists of three adjoining gardens, one dedicated to the memory of Lady Cecilia Howard, contains old roses, many quite rare. The other two were replanted in 1994 and 1995 and contain modern roses, including David Austin's English roses.
Ray Wood, which originally held a remarkable collection of plants and ornamental statuary was felled in 1940 and re-planted in 1970 by George Howard to the design of James Russell and now contains one of the largest and best collections of rhododendrons - over 800 varieties - and banks of pieris, rare magnolias, hydrangeas, viburnums, maples and rowans offering colour from Spring to Autumn.
The park contains some wonderful lead statuary of Classical Greek and Roman figures, recently restored, and a cornucopia of stone structures, bridges, temples, obelisks, pyramids, mock fortifications and not least the Grand Mausoleum.
The home since its completion of the Howard family, it is Sir John Vanburgh's first and perhaps his finest creation, with considerable assistance from the architect, Nicholas Hawksmoor, and is built for the main part in a flamboyant baroque style. The house took ten years to build from the first drawings in 1699 but it was added to continually for almost the next 100 years, the dome being the first such to be incorporated in a private house in England. However the 3rd Earl of Carlisle's attention turned to landscaping the grounds from 1715 onwards and the West Wing was not completed until 1777, and then in the Palladian style favoured by Carlisle's son-in-law, Sir Thomas Robinson. Thus the two wings of the house are not symmetrical and indeed two different orders are employed for the pilasters on either side of the house - Doric for the north and Corinthian for the south. When challenged on this discrepancy, Vanburgh replied that no-one could see both sides simultaneously! The Long Gallery and the Dining Room were the last elements to be completed in 1810-11 by Charles Heathcote Tatham. In the 20th century, Castle Howard suffered the disaster of a major fire in 1940 when it was occupied by a girl's school, but was rescued by the efforts of George Howard, who had inherited after the deaths of his two elder brothers in WWII. He rebuilt the dome in 1960-62 and after the filming of Brideshead Revisited there, was able to rebuild the Garden Hall. His son, the Hon. Simon Howard, has continued the restoration by re-roofing the Central Block and initiating major restoration work in the Park, notably by dredging and landscaping the lake.