Castle Howard is situated in the heart of the Howardian Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. A walk around and within the grounds of Castle Howard is a favourite that I have done time and time again and will always be coming back for more.
What is more is that it is a superb place and base for dog walks and dog friendliness. I know I can go there with my dogs and have a fabulous walk together with historic sights, monuments and beautiful landscapes.
The estate is packed with so much in itself, don’t forget as well as the grounds there is Castle Howard itself. A baroque wonder of a palace with over 300 years of history. When you visit you really can feel why it is has been chosen for some huge TV and film projects over the years.
The follies and monuments and gardens, waterways and open space that go so far beyond many other historical places to visit.
Castle Howard History
Charles Howard, the 3rd Earl of Carlisle wanted a huge stately home situated at Castle Howard so in 1699 he enlisted his friend from the Kit-Kat club, John Vanbrugh, to create some designs to get started. John was actually a dramatist and had never built anything before and was never a trained architect. Notably, after starting on Castle Howard he then went on to design Blenheim Palace.
Work was officially started on the home in 1701 and it took over 100 years to build in its entirety. The 3rd Earl died in 1738. Original designs where changed through time.
The dome added to the roof, plus deviations and architectural fashions give what is now not a perfect symmetrical building (you can see the slight differences in the wings above), but my word it looks magnificent from wherever you look at it.
As well as the building itself we must remember that the grounds and gardens had to be done in this time as well as the lavish interior. The interior and thus the building was finally completed in 1811.
With 145 rooms, Castle Howard is one of the largest country houses in England.
Of course Castle Howard is a residence rather than a fortified castle but the name ‘Castle’ is used here as well as in other stately homes in that it was built where a former castle once stood. In the case of Castle Howard it was built on the place of the ruins of Henderskelfe Castle.
As well as a stunning place to visit, Castle Howard has naturally been chosen as an epic filming location for film and TV series.
The most famous use recently was for the Netflix series Bridgerton. Castle Howard was used as Clyvedon Castle, The Duke of Hasting’s country home. As well as the building the grounds, walled gardens and even the Temple of The Four Winds was used.
Going further back in time there is one series and film that will for ever invoke the image of Castle Howard where it was filmed, Brideshead Revisited. Both the 80s series and the 2008 film.
The list does not end there at all. Castle Howard was also featured in Lady L with Sophia Loren, Stanley Kubrick’s Barry lindon, the ITV drama Victoria starring Jenna Coleman and if you like the grandeur in the Arctic Monkeys music video Four Out Of Five? Then yes that is Castle Howard again.
Walks Around The Estate
The Howardian Hills are lovely to walk and Castle Howard is at the heart of it all. My favourite dog walk to capture the whole essence of it is the circular around the Parkland and Monuments. A walk of approximately 5 miles that gives you many of the follies on route as well as the magnificent estate grounds and parkland.
Here is a route map of the walk supplied by Castle Howard to easily follow.
From the car park head back to the entrance road and you cannot miss the Obelisk.
The obelisk was designed by the original architect John Vanbrugh and as a folly is based on the ancient Egyptian landmarks. This needle monument at Castle Howard was actually only the second one erected in the country after the one in the market square at Ripon.
As you reach the obelisk from the car park turn right and follow the roadside, taking care.
As you walk down the road, keep looking over your right shoulder. For soon you will start to get some of those iconic view back to the Castle Howard building.
It looks superb close up but from a distance it can look spectacular in the landscape.
After a mile or so you turn right and into the village of Coneysthorpe. A beautiful little village that really takes you back in time with a charm of village green and old architecture and houses.
After wandering through the village you will almost immediately come upon a gate through the wall on your right. This takes you off the lanes and back into the parklands of the estate.
Time to enjoy more variety with open land to walk and dogs to check out and explore.
I always find this a lovely open and quiet section of the walk. Away from it all yet a stones throw from all the history of the house and gardens and main visitors not too far away at all.
Fields one way and historic woodland the other, what is not to enjoy?
As you walk through the woods you will come out on the outside of the estate walls and follow them round. You will see ahead, another of the intriguing and outstanding monuments. The Temple of The Four Winds.
With views looking out over the hills and land you can see why this building was built as a place for reading and refreshment for the Howard family. A rather extravagant building for the purpose, a perfect folly really. It still commands a powerful position over the skyline.
From the temple you follow the path down the hill, over the bridge and along the lanes back toward the obelisk and car park.
Along the way you will see and come across more of the monuments that were built in the past. The Mausoleum stands 90 feet into the air, you cannot miss it. To this day it is still the private burial place of the Howard Family.
The pyramid will also appear on your left hand side towards the end. Built as an eye catcher for Castle Howard itself it contains inside a bust of Lord William Howard, The great, great, great grandfather of Castle Howard’s founder the 3rd Earl.
The end of the walk does not mean the end of advetures. There are the extensive grounds within Castle Howard to explore with the many cafes, gardens, walled gardens and other monuments, never mind the huge lake to walk beside.
Relax, take your time and enjoy everything the place has to offer. Don’t forget I have not even mentioned the inside of this spectacular building and the place is already worth the visit.
You can check out all the visit details you need via the Castle Howard site.
The site also has details of other walks in the area, from wanders to the lovely Slingsby and elsewhere in this gorgeous part of Yorkshire.
For me, Castle Howard has it all. It is in a beautiful setting in a beautiful part of the UK.
Parking is free and you have miles of open countryside to explore without going into the estate.
However, heading into the estate and exploring the grounds is a joy indeed. Plus it is so dog friendly, very dog friendly.
You and your four legged friends can have lots of fun exploring this wondrous estate. And all this is before you even go inside the historic building itself!